Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Published by Random House Audio on 06 December 2011
Length: 9 hours and 47 minutes
Source: Purchased through Audible
A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.
Quick Review, Kim-style:
- Last summer, I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the first time. It blew me away, as it was funny and charming and wonderful. Then I heard about Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James. I was nervous because it was a sequel not written by Austen and the story revolved around a murder. However, I loved this book.
- I was really impressed by James’ ability to capture Austen’s voice. It sounded authentic, but keep in mind I’m a Jane Austen newbie. However, I do think that Austen would have laughed at the way P&P is summarized at the beginning of the book.
- The characters felt true to those I grew to love in P&P. It was really nice to spend more time with them and see Jane and Elizabeth happily married with children.
- The big exception with characters is Wickham. The summary is a bit misleading; he doesn’t die, but he is at the center of the mystery. He isn’t as likeable this time around, which I thought was realistic. His behavior and demeanor is only charming in youth and I liked that things unraveled for him.
- It is a completely different type of book than P&P. I love murder mysteries, so for me, this was great. The mystery was well-plotted and felt like something that could actually happen.
The verdict: This book is a fun celebration of a much loved book. (Full disclosure, I know a few hardcore fans of Austen who really disliked this book.)