Of all the Pride and Prejudice sequels I’ve read (and I’ve read lots of them), Death Comes to Pemberley is one of my favorites. Of course, it’s P.D. James…what’s not to like? James comes up with one of the most credible backstories for Mr. Darcy that I’ve read. It explains a lot about why he is the way he is. She also has the best command of Austen’s style that I’ve seen in quite a while. The story is very like Austen, and at the same time very unlike her. Jane never dwelt on the seamy side of life, and specifically preferrred to leave that to othe writers. I won’t go into the plot too much, other than to say that it’s a perfectly plausible extension of Pride and Prejudice. The disappearance of Lydia Wickham during the major portion of the book seems a little odd. I get the impression that Lydia is James’ least favorite character, so she simply leaves her out.
I have the audio version, which is a little unusual for me. I have problems keeping focused on audiobooks, and frequently lose the plot. This book, however, was an exception. The reader, Rosalyn Landor, was excellent, with a wide range of voices. That and the engaging plot probably helped me stay focused.
This is a book I can heartily recommend to fans of either Jane Austen or P.D. James. For those of us who enjoy both authors, it’s ideal.