Mmars's Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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's review
Mar 07, 2012

liked it

Being an occasional mystery reader and having read only one other P.D.James title and being a moderate Jane Austen fan I aimed to read this without pretense.

I enjoyed the book through the trial but felt it slowly derail from there. Really now, a mystery in which I struggle to keep awake for the last 30 pages?

That James' writing did not capture the voice of Austen did not bother me. I think expecting one great writer to perfectly mimic another great writer is hogwash. Especially given that they are from different eras of time and write in different genres.

I submit that this was a problematic project not because of James, but because she needed to fulfilled a publisher's parameters and an editor's directives.

Perhaps, with better editing, James could have written her great novella. Someone should not have underestimated the reading audience and said "none of this explaining the backdrop. The audience for this title won't need that. They already know the story." Promote it that way and let James tell the mystery. And let/make her make it tidy. And there lies my biggest beef. Her publishing contract likely says this many books of this many pages in this amount of time etc.etc.etc. and therefore we get substandard material from great writers.

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