Thursday, February 16, 2012
DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY - James - Book Review
I love an epilogue and a sequel is even better. England's grande dame mystery writer P.D. James has written a follow-up to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Checking up on old friends is always fun and Baroness James provides a bit of an update in her prologue. Then we are off and rolling with the family and staff of Pemberley preparing for the annual ball. Trouble is not far off which is where Baroness James really excels.
At times, James sounds just like Austen, "She consistently congratulated him on qualities he did not possess in the hope that, flattered by her praise and approval, he would acquire them” and at other times the lines don't quite ring true--but who cares? It is good writing, a good plot, and a wrap-up that was more than I expected. There is also a little Emma and Persuasion interwoven into the story which made me smile.
P.D. James is 91 years old and her wit is reflected in her writing. The author added this note at the beginning of the book: "I owe an apology to the shade of Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation, especially as in the final chapter of Mansfield Park Miss Austen made her views plain: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” No doubt she would have replied to my apology by saying that, had she wished to dwell on such odious subjects, she would have written this story herself, and done it better."
Bravo to Baroness James.