Death Comes to Pemberley masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and sets a murder at its heart. It’s a wonderful book, both for all lovers of the “Jane Austen world” and the detective story fantasts.
The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth’s happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual Autumn Ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered.
In a pitch-perfect recreation of the world of Pride and Prejudice, P. D. James elegantly fuses her lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen with her talent for writing detective fiction. She weaves a compelling story, combining a sensitive insight into the happy but threatened marriage of the Darcys and the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted detective story. Death Comes to Pemberley enshrines the qualities her readers have come to expect: psychological and emotional richness of characterisation, vivid evocation of place, and a credible and superbly structured plot, in a powerful and distinguished work of fiction.
I was delighted to meet the great characters from Pride and Prejudice in the prologue, and was brought right back into the living room of the Bennets of Longbourn. If you haven’t decided on a summer – read yet, I highly recommend this little dive into the world of Mr. Darcy. I still think that every woman should have a Mr. Darcy in their lives. In my case, I don’t have one, but at least I can read about him again. Thank you, P.D. James!