Death Comes to Pemberley: A Very Different P. D. James Detective Novel

by |September 30, 2011

P.D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted detective story.

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth’s happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual autumn ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered.

In a pitch-perfect recreation of the world of Pride and Prejudice, P.D. James elegantly fuses her lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen with her talent for writing detective fiction. She weaves a compelling story, combining a sensitive insight into the happy but threatened marriage of the Darcys and the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted detective story.

Death Comes to Pemberley enshrines the qualities her readers have come to expect: psychological and emotional richness of characterisation, vivid evocation of place, and a credible and superbly structured plot, in a powerful and distinguished work of fiction.

Stephen Page, CEO and Publisher at Faber said:

‘It is always a moment of great excitement when P. D. James delivers a new novel but the brilliance of both the idea and the execution on this occasion is simply breathtaking. It’s such an elegant, intelligent and moving book that is certain to delight an enormous readership.’

P. D. James said:

‘It has been a joy to revisit Pride and Prejudice and to discover, as one always does, new delights and fresh insights. I have to apologise to Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation but this fusion of my two enthusiasms – for the novels of Jane Austen and for writing detective stories – has given me great pleasure which I hope will be shared by my readers.’

About the Author

P.D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department.

All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council, and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983, and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

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