notyourmonkey's Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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May 10, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012-read, library, mystery
Read in May, 2012

Ugh. So tragic. A wonderful mystery author working with a wonderfully pasticheable story, and oh my god was this book boring. One part axe-grinding fix-it, one part tedious procedural, one part easily-predicted twist, and a whole lot of meh. The murder and court case were more about describing how things would've happened in 18whateverwhatever, more concerned with talking about social implications of scandal than anything else, and the upstairs-downstairs "twist" at the very end was broadly telegraphed and then rushedly unraveled.

Most distressingly, I found this book erased the women in weird ways. I mean, Pride and Prejudice - that's a lady book if there ever were one. It's about the ladies, the concerns of ladies, the machinations of ladies, their hopes, fears, etc. And Elizabeth is almost nonexistent here, popping up just long enough to pointedly think about how she'd never find her own romance plausible if she ever read it in a book, it just happened too fast. It's a book very much from a man's perspective, and while it's gently intriguing to see Darcy woven into a greater whole of a neighborhood and position in society than we're really shown in Austen's book, but much of it felt like showing off research rather than being narratively necessary.

It felt like a bunch of bits slapped together, not a solid whole like I'd expect from P.D. James, and it had the misfortune to do so in a Pride and Prejudice framework, where most readers are gonna show up with a bunch of preconceived notions and ideas about the characters.
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