Martha's Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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's review
Jun 12, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: good-for-an-airplane-trip
Read in January, 2012

Neither an "Austen" book, nor a "James" book. Not terrible, but I had higher expectations for it.

1) No letters, just frantic posts. P & P is part epistolary novel - critical parts of the book are explained in letters sent between the main characters. The letters expose their deepest and most secret thoughts, and they are meditated on between Elizabeth and Jane. This story takes place over several months, yet there is no reflection or deep thoughts, only manic running around.

2) Men have deep thoughts they keep to themselves. Most of P & P concern the deep thoughts of Elizabeth and Jane, and their reactions to other's deep thoughts. "Death" pushes the sisters to the corner, I feel (could be wrong?) and they really are things to be concerned about (comfort and safety) rather than actually part of the story.

A real Austen mystery would be a kitchen poisoning where the murderer was a woman, concerned about woman's issues (ok, perhaps the same cause as James' mystery here), and Jane and Elizabeth would do things other than fuss about each other's contentment in their respective marriage. Austen's novels have at least one really smart woman who can really listen. And so do James' latter stories. This novel has none.

This story was just obvious. Hands where I can see 'em - how many people figured out the murderer in the first 30 pages?

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