Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, but I must admit that I am late to join the fan fiction party. This was my first foray into this world, and I was sorely disappointed.

Death Comes of Pemberley picks up 6 years after Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage. The book opens with the author recounting the events over the past 6 years leading to the blissful life enjoyed by the occupants of Pemberley as they prepare for their annual ball to honor the late Lady Anne.

I do not feel that the author did my favorite characters any justice. Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favorite female characters - she is strong willed, witty, and I have a feeling that she and I would have gotten along splendidly if she had been more than one of Jane Austen's imaginings - however, in this book she is largely reduced to an insipid, worrier lacking all of the characteristics that has made her one of the most well-known and respected literary female characters. Darcy - who I have always harbored a secret literary crush on - does not fare much better. P.D. James does a better job with other characters such as Wickham, Jane, and Mr. Bingley.

Death Comes to Pemberley is billed as a murder mystery, as the peaceful life of Pemberley is thrown into disarray with the unexpected arrival of Lydia, in hysterics, shouting that her husband is dead. A search party is mounted only to find Wickham, covered in blood, hovering over the dead body of his friend. Wickham is quickly arrested for murder and a trial ensues. There is little in the way of mystery in the story, but rather a general revealing of facts, with little in the way of intrigue. The "mystery" wraps itself up neatly with little surprise. I will say that it P.D. James manages to wrap up the mystery surrounding Wickham very much in line with his character.

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