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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Death Comes to Pemberley

Are you a Jane Austen fan?  Perhaps you're a P.D. James fan?  Maybe you're like me, and you're a long time fan of both?!  If so, I just finished an absolute gem that will appeal to you:  P. D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley, a "sequel" to Jane Austen's classic love story and social commentary, Pride and Prejudice.

Death Comes to Pemberley is set six years into the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy, amidst the grandeur of Darcy's estate, Pemberley.  James does a decidedly masterful job of crafting a mystery that is tangled up in the sticky webs of social class, wealth, and the basest of human instincts:  love, sex, and survival.

Throughout the story, James is careful to stay true to the intelligence and strength of character that Austen fans would expect from Elizabeth while allowing room for the growth that marriage and maturity bring.   We find that Wickham is as wicked as ever, and he remains a thorn in Darcy's side.  We are also treated to appearances by the silly Lydia and her equally silly mother, Mrs. Bennet.  James uses these characters judiciously to provide moments of comic relief and momentarily break the tension of the central murder mystery. Readers are also treated to a glimpse of the somewhat dubious justice system of the time, from the stage of investigation, through trial and punishment.

I won't go into details and spoil the story, but I strongly suggest you stop whatever you're doing and snap this one up!  If you are fan of Masterpiece Theater, you will also be pleased to know that Death Comes to Pemberley is available on DVD , Blu-ray, and Amazon Instant Video.  Elizabeth's character is played by Bletchley Circle's Anna Maxwell Martin, alongside Brothers and Sisters' Matthew Rhys as Darcy.

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