|P. D. James|
|Carriage in the woods|
James's writing style captures the cadences of Austen, and there are several passages that recall Austen's tart and ironic observations. Here is James's commentary on attendance at the local church the Sunday following the murder:
"It is generally accepted that divine service affords a legitimate opportunity for the congregation to assess not only the appearance, deportment, elegance and possible wealth of new arrivals to the parish, but also the demeanor of any of their neighbors known to be in an interesting situation, from pregnancy to bankruptcy. A brutal murder on one's own property . . . will inevitably produce a large congregation, including some well-known invalids whose prolonged indisposition had prohibited them from the rigors of church attendance for many years."
"Miss Bingley was particularly anxious at this time not to leave the capital. Her pursuit of a widowed peer of great wealth was entering a most hopeful phase. Admittedly, without his peerage and his money he would have been regarded as the most boring man in London, but one cannot expect to be called 'your grace' without some inconvenience."As a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley is a satisfying effort. As a mystery, it is not conventional and probably not what most of us expected when we first heard about the book. Mr. Darcy doesn't suddenly turn detective; in fact, nobody does. But the way the story plays out is more true to the time and place, and to Austen's style, than it would have been if James had tried to bolt a detective story onto an Austen sequel. I should note, though, that this Austenworld authenticity and lack of a detective story may mean that the book disappoints some mystery readers, including some P. D. James fans.
|Elizabeth and Darcy (1995 miniseries)|
|Elizabeth and Darcy (2005 film)|
If you can't get enough of Jane Austen sequels, there is some intriguing news. The UK publishing house HarperCollins plans to pair up modern authors with each of Austen's six novels and commission the authors to adapt Austen's stories to a modern setting. The first pairing will be Joanna Trollope with Sense and Sensibility. But don't get too excited about the project. That first book isn't projected to be published until two years from now. In the meantime, you could do a lot worse than read Death Comes to Pemberley.
Note: A version of this review appears on the Amazon product page for the UK edition, under my Amazon screen name.