Books

Book Review: ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ by PD James

As all readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember, George Wickham was a thoroughly bad egg. Charming, cheating, utterly untrustworthy, but a murderer?
Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James, Faber Fiction, $29.99

As all readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember, George Wickham — who ran off with Lizzie Bennett’s flighty younger sister Lydia — was a thoroughly bad egg.

Charming, cheating, utterly untrustworthy — but a murderer? Someone has left a dead body in the wild woodlands of Pemberley, Darcy’s ancestral home, and it looks horribly likely that Wickham is the culprit.

What scandal. What disruption to the happy marriage of his in-laws Darcy and Elizabeth, threatening exposure of long-buried family secrets.

Legendary crime writer P.D.James — writing pitch-perfect Austen — clearly had enormous fun breathing fresh life into the familiar characters (and I, for one, can never read enough about the snooty Lady Catherine de Bourgh) plus inventing new ones as needed for a romping and suspenseful detective story.

As ever, she takes death and justice seriously but the tone is delightfully arch and the author keeps you guessing until the very last chapters.

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