Death Comes to Pemberley Hardcover – Dec 6 2011
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LONGLIST 2013 – IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
“A sparkling curio that will appeal to both Janeites and Jamesites.”
“Jane Austen herself would have applauded.”
“A great joint achievement, and a joyous read.”
“Death Comes to Pemberley is as good as anything P. D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed.”
“A delight. It reads happily and, as ever in P. D. James’s novels, the settings are beautifully and thoroughly imagined, the descriptions and exact. I can’t think that it could be better done.”
“Brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James’s imagination.”
—The Sunday Times
“Of all the other pens to take up where Austen left off, P. D. James’s is head and shoulders above the rest.”
About the Author
P. D. JAMES was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council, and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She is an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983, and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors. She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The resulting novel - "Death Comes to Pemberly" - is an awkward combination of mystery and comedy-of-manners and doesn't quite come off. The two genres don't quite come together, even in Ms James' deft hands. Maybe it was the choice of centering the story on George Wickham and a murder he is being tried for having committed. Wickham has never been a particularly interesting character in the original novel; he was the center around which events took place, but I never wanted to know more about what happened to him after the novel ended. And, in fact, that raises a particular question in my mind. Who ARE the characters in "P&P" I would want to read about? I can't think of a single one, actually.
Maybe that's because I figured a long time ago that "Pride and Prejudice" was a completed story. There's a reason an author doesn't write sequels; maybe everything that can be said about a cast of character has already been said. That's what Margaret Mitchell always felt about "Gone With The Wind". And Jane Austen certainly didn't return to any of older books when writing new ones. (In this book, James writes a little about the "Eliot" family").
So what about PD James' book? It seemed like an "adequate" mystery and an "adequate" comedy-of-manners.Read more ›
This novel is set in 1803, some years after `Pride and Prejudice' was written, but before publication. It's `Pride and Prejudice' revisited and expanded with hints of `Emma' and `Persuasion', and an overlay of murder. Elizabeth Bennet has married Fitzwilliam Darcy, and is now the mistress of Pemberley. The couple has two sons - Fitzwilliam (nearly 5) and Charles (just 2)
It is the eve of the annual Lady Anne's ball when the tranquillity of the Darcys is shattered. An unexpected carriage careers up the driveway, containing Elizabeth's sister Lydia (the one who eloped with George Wickham) screaming that her husband is dead. A search party is despatched, and finds George Wickham in the woods, drunk, dishevelled, and bloodstained, beside the body of his friend Captain Denny. It looks a lot like George Wickham has murdered Captain Denny (he even admits that it's his fault). But is it? And what's the truth about the mysterious woman seen prowling around the Pemberley woods?
As the obvious suspect, Wickham is hauled off to gaol. Yet Darcy considers him innocent, despite the fact that he has nothing but contempt for Wickkham. After all, Wickham had tried to seduce Darcy's 15 year old sister to try to get her fortune. Elizabeth has her own uncomfortable recollections: she once found Wickham attractive and had temporarily detested Darcy as a consequence.
I'm happy enough to think the worst of George Wickham, and quite enjoyed the various twists in solving the murder case. I liked the portrait of Pemberley and the relative happiness that Elizabeth has achieved, despite the onerous responsibilities associated with running the Pemberley household and her social obligations.Read more ›
When Lydia Wickham arrives at Pemberley, uninvited and screaming that her husband has been murdered, an investigation ensues. But the body turns out to be that of Captain Denny, a friend of the incoherent, grief-stricken and alcohol saturated Wickham. Suffice it to say, numerous suspects appear, false leads come up, a court case follows and the guilty party is finally uncovered.
P.D. James told The Daily Telegraph that she wanted to combine her 'two lifelong enthusiasms, namely for writing detective fiction and for the novels of Jane Austen.' At 91, James certainly displays mastery of her material and writes a competent, historically accurate sequel to a beloved classic. Unfortunately, the middle 50% of the book could be summed up in a single paragraph, not quite making up for the excitement of the first and last two sections.
Most recent customer reviews
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Great sequel to Pride and Prejudice by a master detective novelist...but without Jane Austin's wry observations and wit.Published 15 months ago by Sinbad
The language and story was respectful of Austen and brought a continuation of the Pemberly story. Thoroughly enjoyable.Published 21 months ago by JMW 0907
A typically well-written P. D. James novel. She accurately captures Jane Austen's writing style. A very enjoyable read!Published 22 months ago by Leo Steinfeld
Not her best. Regretably her last. I could not force myself to finish which for me is telling. She will be missed.Published 22 months ago by Awordsworth
James is an extremely good writer and good at bringing Jane Austen's character to lifePublished on July 8 2014 by DOROTHY CARMICHAEL
I have in paperback all the books written by P.D. James and have loved every one, except this one. It is very well written but the story was just not my "cup of tea".Published on June 14 2014 by hezzie