Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James

While it seems to have divided opinion amongst critics and bloggers, Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James struck me as wry, Austenesque, funny, clever, playful with irony, tongue in cheek.

Although PD James has long been on my list of novelists to read, Death Comes to Pemberley was the first of her books that I have bought. It certainly won’t be the last. Already I have been reading online reviews and book blogs to work out where to start with her other novels. I’ve settled on Shroud for a Nightingale. I’m also taking another look at Austen sequels starting with Lynn Shepherd’s Murder at Mansfield Park – of which, more anon.

Mr Darcy, Mr Bingley or Mr Wickham – Who would you rather come home to? Practically every bookish woman will know instantly which of these gentlemen she prefers and that each  is a character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. For most of us, Mr Darcy is the romantic hero and we cheer when Elizabeth marries him – albeit after spending only a hours in his company before their engagement, as PD James wryly observes.

Death comes to Pemberley
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While it seems to have divided opinion amongst critics and bloggers, Death Comes to Pemberley struck me as a wonderful sequel to Pride & Prejudice. Wry, Austenesque, funny, clever, playful with irony, tongue in cheek – it moves the story on and developing already familiar characters and keeping them in character. Lizzy, Darcy, Wickham, Lydia, Jane and Bingley, Mr Bennett – they’re all here in a jolly good mystery that I found thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Catching Up with PD James, Queen of Crime Fiction

There was a rather good profile of PD James in the Sunday Times today which observes: “Critics admire the quiet lyricism in her books — an almost elegiac undertow not found in many crime novels.” That is enough to remind me that it is time I gave this lady some of my attention. I made a start today by finding a chronological list of the Adam Dalgleish novels which is as follows:

Cover Her Face (1962)
A Mind to Murder (1963)
Unnatural Causes (1967)
Shroud for a Nightingale (1971)
The Black Tower (1975)
Death of an Expert Witness (1977)
A Taste for Death (1986)
Devices and Desires (1989)
Original Sin (1994)
A Certain Justice (1997)
Death in Holy Orders (2001)
The Murder Room (2003)
The Lighthouse (2005)
The Private Patient (2008)

Seems like these would be as a good a place to start as any. I will report back when I have had the chance to explore them. If you beat me to it, do leave a comment and let me know what you think.