Friday, December 2, 2011

Death Comes to Pemberley

It is a truth universally acknowledged that fan fiction is a sad pastiche of greater writing. Is this still true when P.D. James is the fan? The short answer is a yes, but…

In her new crime novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, James creates a murder mystery for Darcy and Elizabeth to play Nick and Nora with. Darcy and Elizabeth have now been married for 6 years, they have an heir and a spare and are in general thriving. That is until sister Lydia shows up hysterical, a search has to be made for Wickham and when his is found he’s bending over a fresh corpse.

James uses her expert eye for detail, thorough research on life and law in Georgian England and obvious love of Jane Austen to great effect then  has fun with it all. James adds bonus Austen references for the sharp-eyed to spot but she also adds her own non-Jane interests to the novel. Unlike life in Austenland, James’ early 1800’s English gentry feel the effects of the Napoleonic wars and other then current events.
Darcy who in Pride and Prejudice is a straight out of stock romantic hero becomes a fully fledged, three dimensional character in Death Comes to Pemberley.  He gets much more of the story from James than he did from Austen’s pen. Meanwhile at times Elizabeth comes across a tad duller compared to her former sparkling self.

You are not going to read Death Comes to Pemberley to get a mystery the caliber of a James’ Adam Dalgliesh book nor will you read it to discover a new Jane Austen. This novel falls enjoyably enough in between those two high water marks. It gives you the opportunity to spend time with beloved characters, do a little sleuthing and reward yourself for your Austen knowledge

No comments:

Post a Comment