Book Review: Death Come To Pemberley, P.D. James

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I considered mounting a passionate defense in favor of this lovingly-rendered tribute to Jane Austen, but then I decided I couldn’t be bothered with the naysayers. If you pick up this gentle whodunit expecting the sartorial sleuthing of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, you will be disappointed. If you read this looking for the ghost of Jane Austen, you will catch but a glimpse of her delicate frame. Although the point of fan-fiction escapes me entirely (I can’t help but think of tribute bands; I have no more desire to explore fan-fiction than I would to see my approaching-middle-age cohorts belt out Whitesnake’s greatest hits), Death Comes to Pemberley reads like a tender squeeze of affection from one national literary treasure to another.

If you do sink into this literary treat, know that your Jane ear will delight in the recaptured cadence of her prose and that you will be enchanted by the senses and sensibilities of Regency Britain. You will encounter familiar names and faces from across the Austen oeuvre; you will be moved by James’s piquant touches of the political and social realities of the era.

If you aren’t able to let go and enjoy Death Comes to Pemberley within its opening pages, put it down, walk away and spend your time reading something better suited to your expectations.

P.D. James isn’t so many years from meeting Jane in that Great Bibliotheque in the Sky. I can just see these two outrageously smart, sublime writers sharing a pot of tea and chatting about their writing lives. To curl up in a damask wing chair before a merry fire, listening to Jane and Phyllis plotting out a meeting between Adam Dalgliesh and Fitzwilliam Darcy is my vision of heaven.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Death Come To Pemberley, P.D. James

  1. This is definitely one I’ve been waiting to pick up. Like you, I find the idea of fan fiction or pastiches in any sense a little odd, but having been impressed with Anthony Horowitz’s recent addition to the Sherlock Holmes franchise, I’m a little more open-minded about these things. This feels like an excellent summer read to me.


  2. Kudos on the honesty in your review. I love how you were able to give this a 1 star review and yet somehow make it sound eloquent and respectful all the same. Ill defiantly be coming back to your blog.

    Hunter @


    • Thank you! Actually, I gave this sweet tome 4 of 5 stars on GoodReads, but I really don’t care for rankings- what’s a star, anyway? I respect other readers’ disappointment in this mild mystery, but sometimes you just an extra spoonful of sugar in your tea!

      Happy Reading. I’m so grateful you stopped by!


  3. Pingback: Book Review: Death Comes to Pemberley | bostonwriters

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