Book Review: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Summary:   It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.

Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.

Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P.D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.

I decided to give this a read as I began watching the Masterpiece Mystery dramatisation on PBS. It's not unusual for me to do this, what I've experienced as a first was that upon finishing the book, I'd absolutely no desire to continue with the PBS series. I abandoned the television version because I simply didn't want to be bothered with this story any longer. I am disappointed. Lizzie and Darcy aren't my favorite Austen couple anyway (Anne & Captain Wentworth, for me please) so I'm not so beholden to the original material to be aggravated like this is some travesty against literature. With that said, I was a bit bored and it felt like this had very little life as reads go. I was excited for the mystery but once the reveal was done, there was still a bit to go to tie it all up and I didn't feel all that was warranted. Admittedly, it's a short book but I still think it was over long. I don't know that I'd recommend this as I believe most people do have other things they could be reading than a book that's a little less than okay and more middling than anything else.

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