Alun Williams's Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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's review
Jan 05, 2012

did not like it
Read in January, 2012

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 passive. It's hard to escape the conclusion that this novel has been written to order, from a publisher's concept, to give an author whose powers are failing a more comfortable retirement. It is certainly very far from being the labour of love of a gifted writer, who knows Pride and Prejudice intimately, that one might have hoped for. Walk-on roles for characters from some of Jane Austen's other novels, while they may raise a smile, only serve to emphasise how poor the characterisation actually is. If one started with a hackneyed Victorian melodrama about a poor servant girl undone by a heartless aristocrat, and attempted to transplant it half a century back in time without worrying too much about period detail, changed some character names, and interpolated a few passages linking back to well-loved Jane Austen novels you would end up with something very close to this book. Don't buy it, or bother to read it.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Paulimeepa I wish I would have read your review before I bought this. I totally agree with you

Rosina Ditto

message 3: by Dolors (new)

Dolors Thank God I didn't get to buy the book, although it's been on my mind more than once...

Melissa Arenson You should try Carrie Bebris books. She did one for each Austen novel that intertwined the Darcy's and the characters from the other books. They are light and fun, but have a genuine Austen tone and feel, I think.

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