Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Alfred A.Knopf, 2011)
The long-awaited (I’m talking centuries) sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley is rewarding in one sense: it has an actual plot. A murder mystery is a big improvement on young women scheming to catch rich husbands. Sadly, P.D. James’ prose is just as convoluted and stilted as the 19th century novelist’s headache-inducing style. I suppose she felt obligated to imitate the original. I expected the question of “who fired the gunshots” to be a major plot element but instead it was casually dismissed. The real story of the murder didn’t even come out in the trial; it was revealed afterwards in conversations among some of the characters. There were so many characters, often called by last name only, that it was tough to keep track of what was going on (though this is probably not a problem for fans who have read P&P many times). Overall it was disappointing, even though I wasn’t expecting much to begin with.