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Death Comes to Pemberley

3.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  65,638 Ratings  ·  8,187 Reviews
P.D. James masterfully recreates the world of 'Pride and Prejudice', and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted detective story.
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published November 3rd 2011 by Faber & Faber (first published November 1st 2011)
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Robyn It is believed so for the majority of the book.

I had to comment because Michelle's answer is wrong. She said, "The actual killer is an original…more
It is believed so for the majority of the book.

I had to comment because Michelle's answer is wrong. She said, "The actual killer is an original character." This is wrong..... (less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Damon Suede
Dec 16, 2011 Damon Suede rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A hideous, plodding, ungraceful piece of mawkish fanfiction that succeeds neither as a mystery or as a pastiche of Austen's most beloved novel. Oy.

Almost from page one, there are embarassing lapses of craft and tone. None of the economy or vibrance of Austen appears in these pages and the so-called plot is built around a "mystery" that was so hamhanded that I'd sussed the perpetrator within the first 50 pages. But that's not the worst of it. Some of the greatest characters in world literature re
Oh dear. What were PD James, her agent and her publisher thinking? And more to the point, what was I thinking, deciding to actually spend money on this book?

All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. I am in what I presume to be the target demographic for this novel: female, passionate about Jane Austen's novels, a long-time reader of crime fiction and a fan of PD James to boot. Indeed, if James' name had not been on the cover, this is a book I would not have contemplated rea
I considered mounting a passionate defense in favor of this lovingly-rendered tribute to Jane Austen, but then I decided I couldn't care less what the naysayers think. If you pick up this gentle whodunit expecting the sartorial sleuthing of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, you will be disappointed. If you read this looking for the ghost of Jane Austen, you will catch but a glimpse of her delicate frame. Although the point of fan-fiction escapes me entirely (I can't help but think of tribute bands; I ha ...more
Alun Williams
Jan 05, 2012 Alun Williams rated it did not like it
I expect I am not alone in having bought this book because I was attracted by the idea of a murder mystery set in Pemberley. I'd fondly imagined that Elizabeth Darcy (née Bennett) would be a witty and perceptive detective, and that P. D. James would successfully channel Jane Austen's muse. I was to be disappointed on both counts. The plot is dull but complex, the writing is mostly dull (and no more than occasionally a pale shadow of Jane Austen's) , worst of all, Elizabeth herself is dull and pa ...more
There were good and bad things about this book. It gave more nuanced portraits of some of the characters, notably Darcy but also some minor characters. It invites the reader to think a little differently about Jane Austen's classic novel.

However, the use of Austen's source material, though meant as an affectionate tribute, is wooden, often heavy-handed and often overdone. Some characters are dealt with unsatisfactorily. Mary ends up in a situation which for her is suitable (in fact I had though
Gary  the Bookworm
Jan 01, 2012 Gary the Bookworm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sorry-i-started
This is perhaps the worst of all the Pride and Prejudice sequels and prequels. Over the years I've read some outlandish stuff-Elizabeth and Darcy enjoying a quickie in the morning room, an insane woman haunting Pemberley and making Darcy unfit for Miss Eliza-and other such rubbish. But nowhere else did they seem so dull and lifeless, so devoid of charm and spark. Be forewarned, the death referred to in the title is really that of Elizabeth Bennett which is simply unforgivable.
Jun 03, 2012 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where I got the book: my local library. Unable to finish for the reasons cited below: made it to page 80.

It hurts to write this review. I LOVE PD James. Her subtlety, her edginess, the sheer intelligence of her prose, the nuances of her characters...I could go on. And NONE of this is to be found within the pages of Death Comes to Pemberley. I'm sure I wasn't the only fan to get all excited about the idea of PD James doing Pride and Prejudice; what insights, what delicate twists of humor, what li
Jun 08, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who neither understand the past nor care about Pride and Prejudice or mysteries.
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Richard
Shelves: historical, regency
Some years after Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Wickham (nee Bennet) stumbles through the front door of Pemberley in hysterics. There were gunshots in the woods, and she's sure her husband has been murdered. Darcy and some of the other men go out in search, and find (view spoiler) Darcy summons the magistrate and then spends the entire rest of the novel thinking anachronis ...more
Mar 21, 2012 Kristen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Heard about this book on NPR today. Sounds like a great read--Jane Austen and a murder mystery all wrapped up in one!

Ok, now it's several months later and I've had the opportunity to read the book. It was tolerable, I suppose, for a read at the beach. But I admit it failed to live up to the expectations of an Austen novel or a good murder mystery. As for striving to achieve the heights of Austen, I feel James spent too much time apologizing for the actions of the characters in P&P. I think w
Deborah Hale
Dec 13, 2011 Deborah Hale rated it it was ok
When I won an advance copy of this book on Goodreads I was thrilled. Perhaps I approached the story with expectations too high. I wanted so much to like it, but the more I read the more disappointed I became. The prose is very well-written and somewhat in the Austen manner, but without the subtle wit.

What I found tiresome was the story-telling. The first word of dialogue is not spoken for many, many pages and much of the dialogue is actually a series of lengthy monologues that sound more like n
Liz Nutting
I'm really torn about this book. One of my favorite mystery writers meets one of my favorite stories; it's gotta be good, right? And it is good. But it's not great, and I was hoping for great.

I shy away from a lot of the Pride and Prejudice follow ons--fan fiction legitimized by a publisher, and sometimes not nearly as good as amateur fan fiction. But this I was eager to read. And I will say, it held my interest. James does a good job of capturing the spirit and even language of Austen, not per
Jan 27, 2012 Laurie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austenesque, mystery
Oh Lord, as Lydia might say. Where to begin? A big deal was made about this in Austenland because an "established author" was writing a P&P sequel. Perhaps that is something that should never be repeated because this was horrifying. Here is why:

1.) Protracted portions of the novel are spent summarizing what happened in P&P. I seriously can't imagine that any but a tiny fraction of the realistic audience for this book isn't familiar enough with the story for this to be unnecessary. Plus i
Jan 19, 2012 Anmiryam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good writer attempting to emulate a great writer will invariably fail. Even if that good writer is considered to be the doyenne of her genre, readers seeking the focused wit and social observation of the original creator will close her book frustrated, especially if many reviewers extoll the sequel's virtues as entertainment and fitting homage.

A few brief passages sparkle with the reflected brilliance of Austen and most of them have been extensively
Jodie Anderson
Jul 06, 2012 Jodie Anderson rated it liked it
Shelves: to-buy-wish-list
Authors note:

I owe an apology to the shade of Jane Austen for involving her
beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation,
especially as in the final chapter of Mansfield Park Miss Austen made
her views quite plain; 'Let other pens dwell on the guilt and misery.
I quit such odious subjects as soon as i can, impatient to restore
everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort,
and to have done with all the rest.' No doubt she would have replied
to my apology by saying, had
Sherwood Smith
I hate to mark it 'read' as I did not finish it.

I found it painful to read--so many errors in period, errors in tone, errors in characterization, humorless and altogether so disappointing I wish I had not spent money on it.
Apr 11, 2012 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs, people who don't really like themselves
I have never had any interest in the Jane Austen spin-off industry. Never understood why all those writers couldn’t come up with their own damn characters and leave Austen’s beloved creations alone. But when PD James jumped on the bandwagon, I thought, well, okay, there’s a proven good writer and I buckled. Too bad. Now I know that PD James possesses neither wit nor humor. Not that I ever would have condemned her for lacking such traits. I always held her in high esteem--Devices and Desires is o ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
How an author takes several interesting ingredients--a murder mystery and the Pride and Prejudice setting and characters--and manages to stir them together and bake them into a stiff, boring, humorless lump of underdone pumpernickel bread, is a mystery that, sadly, will remain forever unanswered.

I keep thinking of the title to an old Ogden Nash poem, "Will You Have Your Tedium Rare or Medium?"

I feel like I'm being generous and kind-hearted with a two star rating. Seriously, don't bother.
Shannon Knight
Dec 12, 2011 Shannon Knight rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely delightful. Perhaps not to an Austen purist, of course. But as a PD James fan and an Austen fan, this was a fantastic read.
Mar 01, 2013 ·Karen· rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits, mttbr-2013
This book seems to be about as divisive as abortion with some reviewers seeing it as a crime against humanity and others defending a woman's right to choose - in this case, a 90 year old's right to choose to have a blast with one of her favourite writers.
Two stars might seem to put me firmly in the pro-life camp, but two stars is OK. It was OK. I expected a refreshing swill round the mouth, a palate-cleanser for between the heavy tomes. What I got was leaden in places; the glaringly obvious devi
I consider it more than a bit perplexing when an author begins their book with an apology. In this case, it is to author Jane Austen for using her characters. Since Death Comes to Pemberley is a sequel to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, it is like apologizing for snow being cold. If you are going to write a sequel to a classic of world literature, it is, what it is. Don’t apologize for it. It really puts me off my reading game from the get go.

Okay, I got that off my chest, so now on to more pleasa
Feb 15, 2012 Verena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder mystery by P.D. James that takes place at Jane Austen’s Pemberley is a reading experience not to be missed if you are a fan of these authors. It is clear that James (who claims a lifelong passion for Austen) had great fun playing with the characters from Pride and Prejudice. She even refers to a few choice characters from Austen’s Persuasion in this novel that takes place six years after the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy. Great literature this is not, and James’ imitation of Austen’s ...more
Jamie Collins
I was encouraged by the entertaining prologue. A recap of the P&P plot was only to be expected, and it was amusing to hear it from the point of view of Meryton society gossips, who suspect Elizabeth was maneuvering to catch Mr. Darcy from the first time she laid eyes on him. I thought the author was getting all of the rehashing out of the way so that she could tell her new story.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Throughout the novel, the characters remind themselves and each other of event
Worth the read if you're in the mood for more Pride & Prejudice and rereading it for the thousandth time has become boring. Or if you ever wonder what became of Elizabeth and Darcy after they married, this book offers a few believable possibilities while staying loyal to the original story. P.D. James has spun an interesting murder mystery and courtroom drama that make me almost believe Jane Austen could have written it or at least would have approved of it.

One of the main attractions of thi
Feb 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What the hell, P.D. James? She's an excellent writer, I cannot understand why she completely failed to capture any trace of the personalities of Darcy and Elizabeth. I've loved her books in the past, and this was really a big disappointment. The intro chapter is ridiculously long, really is there anybody who doesn't know the story of Pride & Prejudice who is going to be reading this book? And if there was, she could have worked all that info in in a more interesting fashion instead of the tr ...more
John Wiltshire
Sep 20, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up-on
I think if you weren't a particular Jane Austen fan you might like this. After all, it's by PD James, herself a wonderful author. However, I'm one of those freaky readers who read and reread Austen's novels and know them extremely well. I started this, but it jarred. It was just off.
I can only assume that it's like being a connoisseur of a particular flavour, let's say vanilla, and you taste something that's been made with vanilla essence. Why eat it?
Dec 22, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Death Comes to Pemberley...boring, boring, boring, very proper, expository death...

I've never read P.D. James who I understand is both an accomplished mystery writer and also about 900 years old. That was evident given the bizarre lapses in continuity throughout this very, very drawn out, excessively verbose, downright boring novel. At the opening of one chapter we are told that the winds have not yet blown the beautiful red and gold leaves off the trees and not one page later the winds have in
Dec 06, 2011 Kwoomac rated it it was ok
I'm not sure why P.D. James, a very talented writer of mysteries decided to take on Pride and Prejudice. I can understand (if not forgive) a lesser writer for trying to ride on Jane Austen's coat tails. Perhaps she was in a playful mood. Maybe she said, "Hey I'm 92, I can do whatever I want." Because of her expertise in writing intelligent mysteries, I definitely held her to a higher standard. I didn't think the whole thing worked. Sure, I was happy to be reunited with Elizabeth and Darcy 6 year ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
It is a truth universally acknowledged that imitations may be the sincerest form of flattery but they rarely live up to the originals. In the case of Death Comes to Pemberly, I suspect that Baroness James enjoyed writing this book consideralby more than I enjoyed reading it.
P D James is obviously an Austen fan, and she works very hard to re-create the atmosphere and the style that Austen lovers revere. However, this is supposed to be a mystery, and the leisurely style and florid prose of the ear
Oct 16, 2015 Jean rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to reading this. I love Jane Austen - and I love P.D. James too (in different moods, naturally.) Both are masters of their chosen types of fiction. But this book....

It started off intriguingly enough when Lydia (fifth and most reprobate Bennett daughter from "Pride and Prejudice") runs into Pemberley, where her elder sister now resides, screaming that her husband has been murdered. Not your average Jane Austen fare, but enough to make a modern reader sit up and take
2.5, I think.

My likening and respect of Austen has grown as I have aged. As a pre-teen I wasn't a fan, but as an adult, I enjoy her. Persuasion is my favorite novel, not P&P.

P.D. James loves Austen, this much I know. James knows Austen's works and the criticism of the works.

This book is okay in the sense of workmanship. The Austen fan will like the little details - Elizabeth's analysis of her reason for marrying Darcy, the mention of the Elliots, and so on. The plot is realstic and fits in A
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P. D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of twenty books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office. She served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BB
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“If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride had been subdued and prejudice overcome?” 11 likes
“We have all sinned, Mr. Darcy, and we cannot look for mercy without showing it in our lives.” 8 likes
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