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.
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.