Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley
PD James
Knopf, 2011

I'm not a big mystery reader, and have never read anything by PD James, but when I kept hearing about her newest novel Death Comes to Pemberley I decided to give it a shot. (Plus, it counts towards the Jane Austen Genre Challenge!) True confession: I did not read the entire book. I read the first two "books", skipped over the middle section, and skim-read the last two books.

It started out a little slow, but had the feel of setting the stage. There were a lot of details about life at Pemberley, and the lives of all the characters of our most beloved Pride and Prejudice following the close of Jane's novel. I did not mind this setting up, and actually liked that James was taking the time to do things right. But once the action started, the pace stayed painfully slow. It felt very circular, and nothing was going anywhere fast. So I skipped the middle section, and was able to pick up at the end without a hitch. In fact, I felt like if I had read the book straight through I'd be feeling even more circular and repetitive. I will say that things wrapped up neatly, and I was rather satisfied with the ending.

The characters are pretty believable, feeling true to the way I read Jane's originals - though I'm not entirely sold on the discussion that takes place during the Epilogue. James wrote an interesting twist to the Col. Fitzwilliam side of things that was a little unexpected, but fit logically. And in a really fun bit of writing, characters from Persuasion and Emma have roles in the story! (Maybe the other novels are represented in the middle section I skipped over?) Basically, the story is decent - it was just way too slow for me. And since I was able to skip the whole middle section and not feel like I missed anything...You come to your own conclusion. Maybe I just fail at mysteries...

Book provided by my local library.


  1. I have not read this and I was interested to see how you liked it (I noticed on goodreads that you were reading it!). I worked at the JASNA booth at the Festival of Books that was here last weekend. I couldn't believe how many people came up to the booth and asked if any of us had read it. So, I was very interested in your thoughts! Thanks!

  2. I just could not get into this book. I'm not sure if it was the pace, or just that I didn't find the writing as lively and witty as I was hoping. And I love PD James mysteries! I was sad about it, but this book just didn't work for me...