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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very absorbing murder mystery.
Having now read this product, I am rather bemused as to the number of poor reviews. P.D. James is an excellent writer and her English is second to none. She creates an exquisite plot that flows beautifully throughout. True, the characters are perhaps not what they were in Pride and Prejudice, but I think it is important to remember whilst reading that 1) This is not meant...
Published 13 months ago by HRHarlow

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
There is no point in repeating all the adverse comments made by previous reviewers. I love the works of Jane Austen and am an avid reader of James's detective novels. I will simply say that this is awful what where the publishers thinking of besides trading on two distinguished authors' names.
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by DavidMc


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 22 Jan 2012
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
There is no point in repeating all the adverse comments made by previous reviewers. I love the works of Jane Austen and am an avid reader of James's detective novels. I will simply say that this is awful what where the publishers thinking of besides trading on two distinguished authors' names.
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150 of 162 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad, 6 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably disappointing, 6 Mar 2012
By 
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (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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150 of 164 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much to expect., 20 Jan 2012
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
I imagined "Death Comes to Pemberley" was going to be a cosy read for myself and Madame Gersbach to saunter through over Christmas. Here we have an "acclaimed" writer taking the characters from a wonderful Austen novel and playing about with them in a crime story. I didn't expect anything comparable to the real thing in terms of quality of prose or effortless wit but I did expect something light and amusing with an intriguing and entertaining plot.

Oh,how wrong can a poor boy be!

After an amusing and breezy prologue which introduced the main protagonists and filled in the interim between Austen's conclusion and James' commencement, the book hit the buffers.From the start,Darcy and Elizabeth were transformed into a cross between the Oxo Couple (Katy and Phillip?)and the Glums,Darcy having lost most of his haughty confidence and Elizabeth her feisty wit.The Pemberley they are given here had curiously been translated into an early nineteenth century version of "Downton Abbey" where servants held the stage alongside their crushingly boring employers in a way that I can't remember them doing in any of the Austen that I've read.The "crime" element is feeble where it isn't farcical.From time to time,the author also treats us to lectures on various aspects of the society of the time which suggest both a low opinion of the knowledge of her readers and a lack of skill in historical scene-setting.Somehow Austen managed to give us all we need to know about her world without getting out the history books and hitting us over the head with them.

In short,"Death at Pemberley" could most charitably be described as a damp squib.I wanted to like it because I admire P.D.James for having the energy,let alone the marbles, to produce novels at her age and I think Jane Austen,beneath the gaudy layers of cinematic misinterpretation of recent years, is a true giant in English literature.Unfortunately I found this misconceived and stodgily executed product of their meeting impossible to love.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Jun 2013
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As a lover of both Jane Austen and P D James, I was looking forward to reading this ebook. I was, however sadly disappointed. It was full of solecisms and anachronistic use of language. Surely a Regency woman, admittedly one who married a few rungs up the social ladder and didn't adjust her outlook, would not be described as "loud mouthed"? Coarse and vulgar would have been more appropriate. Also, shouting being described as hollering? Hallooing, not hollering. Small points perhaps, but irritating to a Jane-ite like me. Instances of people pouring out their hearts to strangers (far too common today but rare then) also annoyed me. This book is not for me.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death can't come soon enough..., 23 Nov 2011
By 
Selene (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed..."

It was with great anticipation that I opened my copy of "Death Comes to Pemberley", PD James' new historical mystery/Jane Austen pastiche, set six years after the conclusion of "Pride and Prejudice". I fully expected to love it, I really wanted to love it, but by the time I was half way through, I realised to my dismay that not only had I lost any interest whatsoever in whodunit and why, but for two pins I could have happily murdered most of the characters myself for being so unforgivably tiresome.

What can I say? I love the work of both Austen and PD James, and thought this would be a marriage made in heaven, but while "Death Comes to Pemberley" is a worthy stylistic achievement and psychological study, oh dear, it's dull, dull, dull!

Although James captures Austen's gently ironical tone beautifully, it lacks animation; unfortunately she fails to emulate Austen's lively banter and sparkling, incisive wit, or her graceful sense of comedic timing. It would be unreasonable to expect a frenetic pace in a story set at a Georgian country estate and based around leisurely day-to-day domestic arrangements. However, the pace of James' stolid narrative could at best be called stately, at worst glacial. Sheer tedium is all too soon exposed as the real killer of this murder mystery, and quite possibly, rendering both Darcy and Elizabeth boring its true crime.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very absorbing murder mystery., 6 Jun 2013
Having now read this product, I am rather bemused as to the number of poor reviews. P.D. James is an excellent writer and her English is second to none. She creates an exquisite plot that flows beautifully throughout. True, the characters are perhaps not what they were in Pride and Prejudice, but I think it is important to remember whilst reading that 1) This is not meant to be an extension of Pride and Prejudice (it is from the mind of a different writer!) 2) the "purpose" of the story is totally different, and 3) the story takes place quite a few years after Pride and Prejudice, so naturally, the characters would have changed and adapted a bit, like everyone does! I thoroughly enjoyed it as a book, the world of P&P is re-created excellently with a few genius James-style tweaks, the story of Captain Denny's murder and the subsequent trial is truly gripping and surprising, and the only thing that prevents me from giving it five stars is that I read with all the negative comments in mind, so wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is. Having been pleasantly surprised, my advice would be to buy it, ignore what the negative reviews say, and just read it, as it is something I would definitely read again and enjoy.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Silly to have expected more, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
This latest by P.D. James had very good reviews in several newspapers and magazines; I can only think the reviewers had never read a Jane Austen novel, or they have been subject to such literary dross in their critical lives, that their sense of art has been dulled, if not completely done away with. The book has very little drama, no dialogue, no characterisation, no plot. All that made JA a literary Titan (yes I know not in everyone's eyes) has been missed from this 'sequel'. The quality of text is poor; words of more than one syllable are absent and the general tone is one of patient explanation of the obvious. The murder is little more than a ridiculously improbable accident with even more improbable cause and the mortification/rehabilitation of Wickham is hardly creditable. Where are the vivacious heroine, humour, sparkling wit, ingenious twists, satisfying denouement? Enough! I think you get the gist...
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153 of 170 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gloom comes to Austen fans, 22 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
I am always a bit dubious about the 'hommage' to a successful writer--and Austen has suffered more than most in this respect--but I do enjoy the writing of PD James usually, and so thought 'Death Comes to Pemberley' might be a delightful exception to this general grim rule that imitators never prosper.

Sadly, no. No wit, no social commentary, no sparkling dialogue, no self-examination. The characters were unrecognisable, and there was no sense of their development. This book at times reads only like a badly-written precis of the original--the epilogue, especially, resembled a re-hash of Darcy's previous thoughts about his courtship--would he really be obsessing about this six years in the future? It is hard to imagine that anyone would read this if they were not familiar with Austen, so why tediously re-tell the original plot (unless of course it is a space-filler--the thought did cross my mind).

I was sadly disappointed by this book. As a crime novel it was predictable and dull, as an Austen tribute clumsy and unsophisticated. I find it hard to believe the ecstatic reviewers here actually read the same text as I did. Please, gentle reader, don't be fooled. Save your money and buy one of James's other (excellent books). Oh that the shades of Pemberley should be thus polluted!
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing realisation of a good idea, 4 Jan 2012
By 
Alun Williams "mathematician manqué" (Peterborough,England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death Comes to Pemberley (Hardcover)
I expect I am not alone in having bought this book because I was attracted by the idea of a murder mystery set in Pemberley. I'd fondly imagined that Elizabeth Darcy (née Bennett) would be a witty and perceptive detective, and that P. D. James would successfully channel Jane Austen's muse. I was to be disappointed on both counts. The plot is dull but complex, the writing is mostly dull (and no more than occasionally a pale shadow of Jane Austen's) , worst of all, Elizabeth herself is dull and passive. It's hard to escape the conclusion that this novel has been written to order, from a publisher's concept, to give an author whose powers are failing a more comfortable retirement. It is certainly very far from being the labour of love of a gifted writer, who knows Pride and Prejudice intimately, that one might have hoped for. Walk-on roles for characters from some of Jane Austen's other novels, while they may raise a smile, only serve to emphasise how poor the characterisation actually is. If one started with a hackneyed Victorian melodrama about a poor servant girl undone by a heartless aristocrat, and attempted to transplant it half a century back in time without worrying too much about period detail, changed some character names, and interpolated a few passages linking back to well-loved Jane Austen novels you would end up with something very close to this book. Don't buy it, or bother to read it.
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Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James (Hardcover - 3 Nov 2011)
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