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Death Comes to Pemberley (P. D. James)

Saturday, 9. March 2013

Death Comes to Pemberley is a novel by P. D. James, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Plot:
It’s been 6 years since the Darcys married and their life would be pretty much perfect, if it wasn’t for the continued tension between them and the Wickhams. The evening of Lady Anne’s Ball is coming up – the social event of the season hosted by the Darcys. But the night before, Lydia Wickham arrives at Pemberley in a state of panic, screaming that her husband has just been murdered in the woods of the estate. Mr Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam mount a search party to find out what happened.

I was looking forward to this. A sequel to Pride and Prejudice, written by somebody with a reputation as a good writer should be awesome. But I was unfortunately disappointed.

pdjames_Death-Comes-to-pemberley

I thought that the idea of this book was very intriguing. I liked the idea of revisiting the characters from Pride and Prejudice, and even though I don’t care for crime plots, I thought that P. D. James would probably write a good one.

But the writing is exhausting and I had to concentrate really hard to not have my thoughts digress all the time. But even if the style had been more to my liking, the plotting would have still been very weak.

For one, the whole crime angle seemed unnecessary. The case is not really interesting, or exciting  and that it hinges on the Wickhams, when P. D. James obviously doesn’t like Lydia, or has the least bit of understanding for her or, apparently, wants to write about her makes the whole thing absolutely awkward.

James obviously thought a lot about what happened in the time between the end of Pride and Prejudice and the events of this book and she gives you that information in giant infodumps, but unfortunately forgets to remind you who Mrs Younge is. And since I’m not that good with names of fictional characters, I was confused for quite a while.

Instead of those infodumps, James could have just told the backstory and forget about the crime plot and the book would have been so much better.

What I did enjoy, though, was the Emma crossover at the end. That was inspired. Unfortunately it was not enough to salvage the book.

Summarising: rather stick to the original.

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