I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had finished Death Comes to Pemberley and I have been meaning to sit down and write this post ever since!
I've read several other books of P.D. James, and I'm a pretty big mystery fan, so I knew there was a good chance I would like this book. I knew that it was based on Jane Austen's characters, but having never read Pride and Prejudice, I wasn't sure what to expect. (I have seen bits of the movie though)
The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.
Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.
The rest of my thoughts are after the jump (just in case of any spoilers!)
In short, I loved it. It's English and proper and there's a mystery and lots of fun characters and it kept me guessing - a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you've never read Pride and Prejudice, not to fear, there's a section of the beginning that goes through what happens. And even if you already know what happens, it's just a nice little reminder to get you up to speed.
Having now read Pride and Prejudice, I have a fuller understanding of the characters and situations, but it definitely didn't detract from reading Death Comes to Pemberley first. James definitely used the same writing style so they feel very similar to each other, but they are different enough as well. All the main characters are used and James weaves her story perfectly. She tells the story mainly from Elizabeth's view, but there's also bits of Darcy's view and a few other characters as well.
As for the mystery itself, it is good and complicated and impossible to figure out before the final pages! It will keep you guessing and wondering and trying to figure out what on earth could have happened - just the way I like it!
If you're a P.D. James fan, an Austen fan, or just up for a fun read, you should put Death Comes to Pemberley on your reading list!
What have you been reading lately?