My Two Cents

What happens when P.D. James comes to Pemberley?

by Jan 2, 2012Writers4 comments

I will have to read Death Comes to Pemberley to find out.

P.D. James’ latest novel, set six years after the marriage of Jane Austen’s characters Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, was not on my reading list. Partly because it doesn’t star Adam Dalgleish. Partly because the “to-read” list is already overwhelming.

Then a friend passed on this link to a Faber and Faber video in which P.D. James discusses her novel and her fascination with Jane Austen.

And Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC Radio’s Q cultural affairs, interviewed P.D. James about the novel, Jane Austen, life and writing. Here is a link to the short article and radio¬†interview, which is approximately 21 minutes long.

Now I’m intrigued to read the book, to discover what happens when a skilled mystery writer tackles the characters and setting of a historical writer.

The must-read list simply keeps growing. As soon as I read the book, I’ll let you know what happens when P.D. James comes to Pemberley.


  1. Leslie Hill

    Death Comes to Pemberley is a terrific read for an Austen fan. I think she cheated a bit on the murder front – too easy a solution coming at the eleventh hour but the characters, the tone, the events are all in sync with the Pride and Prejudice original. And everything makes sense. James even refers to characters from other Austen books, which is a real treat for an Austen lover.


  2. Robin Spano

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this. I would have happily left this one off my to-read pile as well. (Not a huge P.D. James fan, though I love Adam Dalgliesh, and even less of a Jane Austen fan, though I loved Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice.) But somehow the combination sounds like it could be delicious.

  3. Charlotte Morganti

    Leslie, I’m glad to hear your take on the book. P.D. James is apparently a huge fan of Jane Austen – and I think you’d need to have read most of Austen’s books in order to make your “sequel” ring true to Austen’s characters and setting.

  4. Charlotte Morganti

    Hi Robin! In one of the interviews, P.D. James said one of the challenges was ensuring that she used words and events suitable for the era. That echoes what a friend of mine who writes historical fiction says as well. I think when I read the novel, that’s what I’ll be watching for.

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