Not up to the quality of either author. If you want to read something, try rereading one of their originals.
I love anything Austen, but was very disappointed in this book. The attempts to recreate Austen's characters failed in my opinion. Not good at all. It was more enjoyable when we got to the mystery as then the author was in her natural element, but even that was not particularly gripping. This is the kind of book that only tenacious Austen fans would bother with. If you're not a die-hard fan, I'd say give it a miss.
Wonderful read combining the best Pride and Prejudice fan fiction with a suspenseful mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Well, I am not a true Janeite (no surprise, I suppose) because I have the very unpopular opinion of disliking Death Comes to Pemberley. I expected a mystery set in Jane Austen's world, but what I got was a snorefest.
That's not to say that P. D. James' writing style is amateur. The author captures the cadence and lilt of Austen's voice pretty darn well. The problem is that it lacks entertainment. Austen's appeal lies largely in her witty descriptions of characters, and our growing to know them throughout the book by their actions and reactions. James uses characters we already know and, rather than flesh them out more, basically explains things that Austen left vague (like Darcy's motivation in certain aspects).
The mystery is not tantalizingly dangled in front of the reader, for us to piece together or even engage with. A thing happens, a period-appropriate legal response happens, and then everything is explained. There was absolutely no sense of suspense or intrigue, or titillation, at all.
Overall, this story was flat and dull to me, a series of events that plod along with nothing to keep me invested. Part of this is probably because it's largely centered around Darcy (whom I actually dislike), and there's a style of "blah blah blah, he said" that I found grating on the nerves. While James is stylistically quite Austen, the meat of the story is lacking.
I recommend it only to huge Austen fans, those that adore P&P (and Darcy) and want to see the characters again in any respect, and those that enjoy long-winded, dry explanations for everything.
I love reading about the continued stories of Elizabeth and Darcy and a mystery seemed like it might be fun. I had heard quite a bit about this when it came out, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The writing and dialogue was appropriate for an Austen spin-off, but there wasn't any suspense or intrigue really.
Boring. Oddly enough, I was half way through this before I realized that I had read it before. It didn’t engage me the first time, and it still does not. I didn’t find the wit and social satire from Jane Austin, although James adopts a writing style and voice that mimic Austin’s. And nor did I find the gripping murder mystery that I expected from James. The style feels forced and the mystery seems contrived.
Okay, James shows that in the genteel social setting of the propertied classes of the nineteenth century, even the idea of being associated with a mystery was (as she would say) abhorrent. As a woman, Elizabeth must keep away from anything suggesting scandal, so much of the story has to be seen from Darcy’s point of view. And he is such a self-restrained and self-regarding individual that he focuses more on how the murder might affect his own family than on the perpetrator or the victim. This is a perspective that is difficult to relate to, and pushes the hints of social consciousness about the situation of the property-less and of women far to the background.
Perhaps the most interesting character, for example, is Mrs. Younge, who succeeds against all odds in creating for herself a degree of security and wealth by taking advantage of the social strictures imposed on wealthy society, but we see her only in glimpses through the eyes of observers who hate her. James hints at the costs that this imposed on her, but from the limited perspective she has chosen, she cannot give Mrs. Younge any depth or colour.
One of the few bits that had a sense of reality was the examination conducted by the nineteenth century medical men, and it was interesting to imagine what they actually knew and understood with limited forensic tools. Similarly, the inquiry and court procedures were interesting in illustrating the legal forms of the time. (Although it’s difficult to see how the entire examination, cross-examination, judgement and sentencing could have taken place in what appears to be one day, but I leave that to James’ actual legal knowledge and her authorial license.)
So who is the book written for? James apparently enjoyed the idea of writing in the voice of one of her (and her readers’) favourite writers. But instead of the sharp observations of Jane Austin, we get a look at the ongoing relationship of a romanticized couple, which reveals little except that they get along well, care for their children, and live up to the social expectations of their time and class. The tragedy is that Elizabeth’s vulgar sister and her husband might upset their quiet life and the marriage prospects of Darcy’s younger sister (although there’s no real danger of that either, since she is being courted by a young man who would be happy to marry her regardless of the potential scandal). Perhaps Austin could have made me care about the upset to the social equilibrium, but James does not.
I was more excited for this book than I think it warranted, but I still liked it. At first, I thought it was just dragging on and on, and I wasn't too impressed with the narrator. But as I became more involved in the story and characters, I enjoyed it more. Though I think I would have chosen someone else as the "murderer". The truth was a bit boring.
Wow! Some people actually liked this book! I thought it was dull and plodding, slow and wordy. This is not a mystery, there are no clues that could allow you to solve the case as you go along. Odd behavior by Colonel FitzWilliam is explained late but has no real relation to the plot, only to a poorly developed sub-plot.
I don't recommend this at all.
I listened to the audio of this book. It's probably what got me through the entire thing (much harder to toss a CD that is safely nestled in the player).
I have not read other "sequel" books or any of P.D. James' other books. Having heard that she wrote good mysteries and having enjoyed P&P, I thought this would be a good read.
James tries to pull off Austen's wording and scenarios but her people are flat, obnoxious, pompous. The mystery is also flat, predictable and .....boring. The ending is predictable, sappy, "perfect" and it all comes together in a nice boring package.
Another fun murder mystery by P.D. James. I expected a good crime novel, and the book delivered. It helped to have read Jane Austen to know who was who, and not to expect a sequel.
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