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Death Comes to Pemberley [Kindle Edition]

P. D. James
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (828 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The world is classic Jane Austen. The mystery is vintage P.D. James.

The year is 1803, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet 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 Bennet's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.

Two great literary minds - master of suspense P.D. James and literary icon Jane Austen - come together in Death Comes to Pemberley, a bestselling historical crime fiction tribute to Pride and Prejudice. Conjuring the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mark Darcy and combining the trappings of Regency British society with a classic murder mystery, James creates a delightful mash-up that will intrigue any Janeite.

From the bestselling author of The Murder Room, Children of Men and A Certain Justice, comes a wonderful mixture of the nation's greatest romance and best-loved crime fiction. In 2013, this novel was adapted as a miniseries by the BBC, starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Jenna Coleman as Lydia Wickham.


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Review

'As might be expected from a celebrated crime novelist, her follow-on to Pride and Prejudice introduces a detective story into Austen's world; but without any tremor of incongruity. An acute admirer of Austen's novels (which, her autobiography makes clear, she has been re-reading for more than 80 years), she keeps her sequel close to their ironic spiritedness, moral toughness and psychological finesse ... brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James's imagination.' --Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

'P. D. James has the advantage in having both the skill and the intelligence to hold her own in Austen's company. Her charmingly conceived murder mystery unfolds like a big soft comfort blanket just in time for the nights drawing in: the nation's best-loved crime writer and best-known romance in a magic meld, with Downtony moments below stairs, spooky moonlit bits and some police procedural thrown in for good measure ... James takes Pride and Prejudice to places it never dreamed of, and does so with a charm that will beguile even the most demanding Janeite.' --Claire Harman, Evening Standard

The story is accomplished and witty, naturally, but to see James s sensibility at work on the character of Jane Austen is a wonderful treat. I find the merging of these two women of literature from such different ages to be totally intriguing. --Melvyn Bragg, New Statesman >>
A tribute to Jane Austen and a sheer delight. A book to banish Boxing Day blues. --Allan Massie, Spectator

Review

#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

"A sparkling curio that will appeal to both Janeites and Jamesites."
--"Daily Telegraph"
" "
"Jane Austen herself would have applauded."
--"The Spectator"

"A great joint achievement, and a joyous read."
--"The Independent"
" "
"Death Comes to Pemberley is as good as anything P. D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed."
--"Sunday Express"

"A delight. It reads happily and, as ever in P. D. James's novels, the settings are beautifully and thoroughly imagined, the descriptions and exact. I can't think that it could be better done."
--"The Scotsman"
" "
"Brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James's imagination."
--"The Sunday Times"

"Of all the other pens to take up where Austen left off, P. D. James's is head and shoulders above the rest."
--"Evening Standard"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1600 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Crime; 1st edition (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571283578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571283576
  • ASIN: B005QMOZOO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (828 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably disappointing 6 Mar. 2012
Format:Hardcover
I am sorry this has been my introduction to PD James, an author I have heard highly spoken of. I rarely write reviews, but felt I had to put this down.
This book was truly awful, and it is hard to believe it would have been published if not for the successful authors name attached.
There is no character development at all, in fact the characters are as two dimensional as a photograph. None of the wit and sparkle one gets in the original Austen, but no suspense or drama worth speaking of on the crime writing side either.
If this had been a young writers first attempt, I would have said well done, and maybe in a few years with a lot of work you will amount to something.
To be honest it reads like a set of notes on which one might develop a novel; as if the writer roughly sketched some story ideas, and then could not be bothered to actually turn it into a novel.
Waste your money on it if you want, but I wouldn't bother if I were you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... but how I wish it had refrained! 17 Feb. 2012
By Seren Ade HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was somewhat ambivalent towards the idea of this - I'm not particularly keen on authors effectively playing at writing their own fanfic follow-ups to classic novels (which strikes me as both authorial laziness, and insulting to the imaginative capabilities of readers) and 'Pride and Prejudice' is one of my all-time favourite books. However, I do (at times) enjoy P D James and on balance decided to give this a whirl: a decision I sincerely regret.

Barring volume of sales I can't see what James was trying to achieve with this novel, which is written in neither the spirit nor the style of Austen's original. The characters as presented by James tend either to be far removed from their original incarnations or have become broad caricatures of them. I was hugely irritated by scenes of Elizabeth experiencing premonitions and feelings of foreboding in the period running up to the discovery of the demise, finding them more in the style of the gothic novels pastiched in 'Northanger Abbey' than in keeping with the witty, practical female protagonist of 'Pride and Prejudice'.
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159 of 171 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad 6 Nov. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Should one's admiration and respect for a highly successful author lead one to turn a blind eye to a disaster (cf Agatha Christie's Postern Gate)? Surely not, since if these Amazon reviews have any purpose, it is surely to offer advice to would-be purchasers.
In this case my advice is clear: don't!
Re-read 'Cover Her Face' instead.
To write a thriller in the style of Jane Austen is about as useful an enterprise as telling the story of the Eurozone troubles in the style of Beatrix Potter. But knowing and enjoying PD James' earliest books, and sharing her love of Austen, I was very hopeful. As it happens, PD James abandons Austen-speak immediately after the Prologue and never recovers it, illustrating perhaps the imperishable brilliance of the original.
The result is a very dull and predictable story of detection with white soup and crinolines, hamstrung by the presence of so many characters above suspicion: the murderer therefore being signposted from early on.
I kept hoping for the appearance of some passing Lakeland poet, one Master Ebenezer Dalgliesh, to rattle the Pemberley shades. No such luck. It made me sad.
I can see from the Publishers' point of view that when a fine and profitable author sets off on an unexpected route, they may have little choice other than to follow and try to make it work. But in that case, why no proper copy-editing, which would have removed the several absurd repetitions and, for example, the strange situation on p81 when Darcy is placed in 2 separate parts of the house - at the same time?
The interpolation of characters from Emma and Persuasion was particularly ill-judged.
Let's hope we may escape 'The Massacre at Mansfield Park'.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dearth Comes to Pemberley 7 Mar. 2012
By Sarada
Format:Hardcover
It grieves me to say it, but I have rarely been more disappointed by a novel than I was by P D James' Death Comes to Pemberley. It was massively publicised and from an accomplished author of crime fiction - and as both a lover of Jane Austen and an admirer of P D James, I was looking forward to having my view of Pemberley broadened, as it were, by some modern fan-fiction. But it was not to be. I was barely ten pages in before I began to be bored; and had I been James' editor I would have taken a scalpel instantly to the first chapter (prologue) of exposition. Surely it is not necessary to retell the events of Pride and Prejudice to her readership? After all, not only is the book one of the best-known in literature, but there has been a recent film and a BBC adaptation: surely people can be assumed to be familiar with the story and its characters? Though the prologue adds a little more to the original, it is a tedious beginning to what I had hoped would be a thrilling read. No matter - it was a prologue after all: I determined to let it go and start afresh at Chapter 1.
Alas. Chapter 1 - and succeeding chapters - included so much reportage, not only in the way of new characters but continually reminding us - as if we needed reminding - of the original story, that I almost gave up on it. The historical background is laboured, far too many new characters are put in with long asides about their history; in fact so much information is given that I felt as if the book were written by Mr Collins (and not Wilkie) rather than one of our foremost crime writers. Once the murder is committed James gets into her stride, but, rather like a lame horse, almost immediately gets out of it again.
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