I like Jane Austen and I like P D James, so, obviously, I had to read this.
Here is the blurb …
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.
There are a few factual errors or rather inconsistencies with Pride and Prejudice. For example, Mr Collins is described as Mr Bennet’s nephew and I am sure Lady Anne died before Mr Darcy (Darcy’s father) and not after.
I can’t say I loved this book, but I didn’t hate it either. Part of my problem is how the characters are portrayed in this novel. I liked Colonel Fitzwilliam in Pride and Prejudice whereas in this novel he was arrogant, cold and a bit of a snob.
I liked how the mystery played out. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought it was very clever. If this novel had been independent of Pride and Prejudice, I would have liked it more.
I don’t think it will appeal to Jane Austen fans and I don’t think it will provide greater understanding of Pride and Prejudice, but if you like crime fiction, then give this one a go. I have no idea of the legal side of this is accurate or not, but I had a giggle about Mr Darcy, Mr Alveston and Colonel Fitzwilliam getting together to discuss their evidence (‘what exactly did Mr Wickham say?’) before the trial.
And one final thing, I found the bringing in of other Austen characters (Sir Walter, Mrs Knightley) annoying in the extreme.
Here are some more reviews …