Death Comes to Pemberley


TITLE:  Death Comes to Pemberley

AUTHOR: P.D. James

GENRE: Mystery fiction

SETTING(S) : Pemberley House, 19th Century England, Europe

SUBJECT: Murder, Family, Sisters, Detective fiction, Mystery

Elizabeth Darcy, Sister (of Lydia), Spouse (of Darcy), Fitzwilliam “Darcy” Darcy, Spouse (of Elizabeth), Lydia, Sister (of Elizabeth), Spouse (of Wickham), Wickham, Crime Victim, Spouse (of Lydia)

SUMMARY: It is just a short few years after Elizabeth Bennett marries Fitzwilliam Darcy.  As a couple they have managed to overcome their first impressions and prejudices of one another.  In the process they have had two children and lived up to the Darcy name.  As a celebration of the life of Lady Anne (Darcy’s beloved mother) they host a ball where their friends and relatives are invited each year.

On the eve before the ball is to be held and when none of the participants are expected to arrive they receive a surprised and unexpected guest.  Lydia brings with her an unwanted surprise, tragedy and murder to Pemberley.  Will this murder bring downfall to the Pemberley estate and the name of Darcy?  And will the name of Wickham ever be forgotten and remembered as a distant past no longer able to touch and effect the occupants, tenant and employees of the Pemberley estate.


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I know I said last month I would not read another Jane Austen related novel but I had ordered several books months ago and just recently started receiving some of them at the library.   When saving a book at the library one can not always tell when one will receive it.

Okay right to the book’s review.  This book was perhaps one of the shortest novels I’ve read but it seemed to drag on for a while.  The whole drama of Wickham’s past errors were sometimes a little too much and focused too heavily.  I know it effected the relationship between Darcy & his sister as well as between him & Elizabeth.  But when you read several books relating to this it gets a little too tiring.  You think to yourself why do the characters haven’t gotten over this especially after 3 or 5 years of marriage?

This book kinda answers why the characters haven’t gotten over it and how they tried to move forward but really haven’t.  Wickham is the family stone in everyone’s shoe that has not really been resolved.  Resolving it with silence and not talking about it has not been a very good solution for the Darcy family. Characters in this book stuck with the characteristics that Miss Jane Austen gave them but create a unique plot and mystery that can only occur when being related to someone like Wickham or Lydia.

I expected like many other readers that Wickham & Lydia lived a life of drama and dependent on the money of others; since it is how Jane Austen & many of the countless books & film adaptations portray them.  If they had lived successful lives it would have been due to the kindness of others and not of their own merit. With that said the mystery of a death of a friend of Lydia & Wickham’s can only lead up to more mystery and drama.  Elizabeth & Darcy have to contend and resolve their ghosts from the past and can only defeat it by resolving the problem of Wickham & Lydia.

The trial for Wickham’s life not only effected the two couples but ultimately affect everyone living in the Pemberley estate.  The end result of the book gave the opportunity for Wickham’s love child to live an ordinary & less dramatic life away from his biological father.  It also resolved the whole Wickham & Lydia scenario by shipping them off to America and from the lives of all those living in the Pemberley estate.    I’m sure we all have Wickhams & Lydias in our lives but unlike in this book we can’t ship them away off to distant lands, we all have to learn to defeat the problems associated & live peacefully with them.