Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

I’m a big fan of crime fiction (see my blog on Addiction to Crime Fiction) and am an even bigger fan of Jane Austen, so was delighted when PD James published Death Comes to Pemberley. I bought it for my mother as we were setting off for a spa weekend to celebrate her 70th birthday in July and she was uncharacteristically lacking in something to read. When I visited her two weekends ago I extracted it to read myself (the joy of actual books as opposed to ebooks) and galloped through it on my commute last week.

It picks up where Pride and Prejudice left off, describing the six happy years that Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy have spent living together at Pemberley. But who better than to break this tranquility than the evil villain Mr Wickham who turns up yet again causing chaos and dragging the reputations of those around him down with him.

On the eve of the annual Pemberley ball (the preparations for which are enjoyed by Elizabeth, unlike poor Mrs de Winter the second who dreads such preparations in Rebecca (see my blog on Daphne du Maurier) a body is discovered in the woods and Mr Wickham found with (literally) blood on his hands.

The atmosphere of the book is extremely well done. I had no trouble believing that these were the thoughts and emotions of the characters I’d got to know so well in Pride and Prejudice. And the dark foreboding woods at night made me want to scurry towards the nearest log fire.

It’s well plotted and has a satisfactorily complicated but believable end. If you enjoy detective fiction, Jane Austen, or ideally both, do read this. It’s a nice escapist quick and easy pleasure to read.