Sunday, December 4, 2011

Death Comes to Pemberley-P. D. James

Death Comes to Pemberley

P. D. James

Knopf, Dec 6 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307959850

In 1803, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet remain happily married after six years at Pemberley. They have two young sons (Fitzwilliam and Charles); her only unmarried sister Georgiana resides with them though her marital prospects look promising. The couple hosts their annual gala with his family, her father and another Bennet sibling Jane with her husband attending as well as other guests. Only the youngest sister Lydia, married to that rogue Wickham, is unwelcome and uninvited as she remains estranged from the extended Bennet family who want nothing to do with her rascal husband.

As the host family and their guests settle for the night, Lydia arrives at Pemberley hysterically screaming that someone shot and killed Wickham in the woods on the Bennet estate. Almost everyone at Pemberley think the same thought that Wickham in death is the same despicable person he was in life as each feels an affinity to the unknown shooter. Still because it occurred on the Bennet estate even if the victim was trespassing, Darcy, Elizabeth and others consider their options to diminish the scandal including investigating the deserved murder of wicked Wickham though none feel prepared to do so.

This is an interesting sequel to the Jane Austen classic as mystery great P.D. James puts her spin on what has happened since Pride and Prejudice ended. The story line focuses on two themes that never quite fully merges Sheridan’s A School For Scandal manners theme with a murder mystery inside the Austen Regency world. Still this is a fun entertaining Regency whodunit in which Janeites will enjoy Ms. James’ where are they now as she captures the original essences of the cast with a six year maturation.

Harriet Klausner

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