Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James Review

Death Comes to Pemberley book review
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James, ISBN 9780571283576, 310 pp

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but with a difference–it’s all about a murder. The action takes place six years after Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s marriage. They are now the parents of two boys and set to host an annual ball. Jane and Mr Bingley arrive at Pemberley and join Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy’s sister, Georgiana. On the eve of the ball the peace at Pemberley is disturbed when a hysterical Lydia Wickham arrives unannounced, screaming that her husband George Wickham is dead.

Something sinister has happened in the woods near Pemberley which will drag Wickham back into Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives.

I will leave the plot there. You will have to read the book to find out who has been killed and how Wickham is involved.

Death Comes to Pemberley is told from Darcy and Elizabeth’s point-of-view which should have been great but it didn’t fully grab me. For starters, Elizabeth is not given much to do or say. Most of her trademark wit and intelligence is missing from this story. I felt like she was severely underutilized in this book. If Jane Austen had written this plot, Lizzie would have been the sleuth in this story and have solved the mystery. Jane or Georgiana may have helped. Instead Darcy gets a lot of scenes but even he leaves the detective stuff to the local authorities.

The other thing I wanted to see was Elizabeth and Darcy interacting with each other. I wanted to see their passion. Instead they only have a couple of scenes together and don’t even kiss. In one scene they stay in twin beds. Seriously!!!

But there are characters and scenes that I thought the author got right and that Jane Austen would have approved of. P.D. James wrote characters like Lydia and Mr Collins in the spirit of Austen. But she made me dislike Colonel Fitzwilliam which I didn’t appreciate. There was also a lot of needless repetition of information. One character would outline the evidence word for word. Then a chapter later it was repeated by someone else. Still it was worth reading on to the end as I liked how the mystery was all tied together.

I remember watching the TV series based on this novel ages ago and thinking that it wasn’t too bad. Although Elizabeth had lost some of her spark. Perhaps marriage and children changes a person and I admit that a murder at Pemberley would make Lizzie turn serious. I have read a lot of Pride and Prejudice inspired books over the years and, though I find them enjoyable, none of them were as brilliant as Jane Austen’s writing. Death Comes to Pemberley does a reasonably good job but for me it lacked much of the content I was really hoping to see.

Verdict: Read this if you are dying for another book about Mr Darcy and Elizabeth and also like a good mystery.

What do you think about Pride and Prejudice inspired books? Do you like them? Would you recommend any?

15 thoughts on “Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James Review

  1. JEN Garrett May 15, 2018 / 10:43 am

    What a crazy intriguing twist! I love Austin-inspired books, as long as they are well-written. Give me a rehash of the same tired tropes, and I’ll put the book down faster than you can say, “Why, Mr. Darcy!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janereads May 15, 2018 / 11:04 am

      Yes I have to say that this was an original twist on the Austen inspired books.


  2. Suziey Bravo May 15, 2018 / 10:49 am

    I remember watching the TV adaptation as well haha. I didn’t really like it. The wit wasn’t there. This was a great review though!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads May 15, 2018 / 11:02 am

      I agree. It was way too sombre. I guess it’s hard to be witty when there has been a murder.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. justonemorepaige May 15, 2018 / 11:41 am

    I read this a few years ago and it was good/entertaining, but I didn’t think it was anything special. I did love re-visiting some old fav characters though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janereads May 15, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      I agree. It was good to see certain characters again even if it didn’t live up to my expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheree Strange May 17, 2018 / 11:10 am

    There seems to be so many Austen adaptations and re-tellings, but no one quite writes her characters the way that she could! I think I’ll have to give this one a miss, it would infuriate me to see Lizzie taking a back-seat… thank you for sharing your thoughts, as always, a wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads May 17, 2018 / 11:28 am

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes I would give this one a miss. Lizzie is too meek and mild in this one.


  5. jessicabookworm May 19, 2018 / 1:37 am

    Jane, I am sorry to hear you didn’t love this. I read this and watched the adaptation, and while not as great as the original, I thoroughly enjoyed them both.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Janereads May 19, 2018 / 11:18 am

      I didn’t dislike it. It was just lacking in some areas for me. The TV adaption was enjoyable.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. theorangutanlibrarian May 19, 2018 / 11:13 am

    I’ve also seen the TV show and didn’t think it was too bad either. But it’s such a shame Lizzie is so underused here!!! Great review!


  7. ladysharon May 20, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    I read this a while back and all I can remember is that the pace was very slow… Maybe I should give it another try?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janereads May 21, 2018 / 5:34 pm

      Yes you’re right. It was a bit on the slow side.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dena@shaldenandneatham May 26, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Hi: I wasn’t a fan of this book, but enough folks like it for PBS to do a movie version/I have not seen that. But I recently read another mystery by P.D. James and liked it, and she did have a couple of references/Jane Austen shout outs!

    Liked by 2 people

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