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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James - Review

Six years after Pride and Prejudice ends is where we pick back up with Elizabeth, Darcy, and their two young boys. Their world seems perfect at Pemberley, Darcy's estate. Jane and Bingley live close and her father comes over often, and Georgiana may have marriage prospects. Preparations are even underway for their annual ball, but the night before it's to take place Lydia hysterically arrives at their home, screaming that her husband, Wickham, has been murdered. Just like that the idyllic calm has been shattered putting Pemberley at the center of a shocking murder mystery.

I was really looking forward to this - a sequel by P.D. James and a murder mystery at that - I mean, it sounds great. Unfortunately, Death Comes to Pemberley just didn't have the charm of Austen's classic at all. It doesn't really hold up as a homage, let alone a sequel. What got me most was the thin characterization of the cast I love. In this novel they come across as so flat (and wooden) rather than as fully fleshed out people. As for the "mystery", it was pretty flimsy and there didn't seem to be any real stakes, or real motivation for that matter. There was also a good deal of repetition when the characters would often reminisce about the events of Pride and Prejudice to the point where I felt I was being hit over the head. It's as if the author was working under the assumption that the reader was completely unfamiliar with Austen's original. One of the most disappointing things to me was also that the characters didn't really sound (or act) like themselves, not even when quoting their own dialog.

Overall, P.D. James has tried to copy the style/diction of Austen, but it's a very poor, plodding copy without that crucial spark of life to make me feel invested in the characters. After about 60 of 291 pages I realized that:

I read this novel from April 25 - 26, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.


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