#CBR6 Review #30: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

I make it a point never to read sequels of Pride and Prejudice. I mean, why bother? They’re either breathlessly fangirling or pedantically written. Or, in the case of Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, BOTH. One can only read about Mr. Darcy’s bulging pantaloons so may times before it gets redundant. Or the endless euphemisms for penis. I only made it through ten chapters, when I gave up in a huff. Okay, ten chapters and a few sex scenes I deliberately searched for (and yes, they were titillating. Disturbingly so).

In short: I am extremely suspicious of Jane Austen novels not written by Jane Austen. Why, you might ask? Allow my narcissistic friend Gina to explain why, like Jane Austen, she is simply The Best There Is:

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Word, sister.

So it wasn’t until I heard that Death Comes to Pemberley was coming to Masterpiece this fall that I ever considered reading it. And then, after my experience with The Shack, I thought it high time for something more fun.

Instead, I ended up with something more like, “Meh.” The plot is fairly basic: six years after Darcy and Elizabeth get married, we witness their preparations for an annual ball, until Lydia shows up in a chaise, unannounced, screaming that Wickham’s been killed and all sorts of shenanigans. I won’t divulge any further, as that would give away lots of little twists and secrets, but we DO learn that Elizabeth still kinda sorta secretly jonesd for Wickham and Colonel Fitzwilliam and married Darcy in part because he was richer than the other two. I KNOW.

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Of course, no murder mystery would be incomplete without red herrings, and there are several. We also learn that Georgiana, now an adult lady, has two suitors after her, including–wait for it–COLONEL FITZWILLIAM. Her erstwhile guardian. Darcy’s peer. I KNOW.

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There are other sorts of tomfoolery that happen in the novel, and we do find out the whodunit in a fairly (I think) rushed and unsatisfactory manner. And then there are references to Jane Austen’s *other* works in the text. It went from tee-hee clever to gimmicky.

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And that was my experience with Death Comes to Pemberley. Initially skeptical in the beginning, sort of enjoying the mystery as it unfolded, and then, deep disgust at the end. I was more than ready for the novel to be over so I could move on with my life.

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I really hope that the mini-series is good, and I *do* plan to watch it. Maybe some of the introspective stuff will get jettisoned in favor of the story itself? I usually never wish for it, but in this case, I think it might do the story good.

Either way, I’m ready to move on for something that will be more fun. Allow Gina to give you a hint about my next conquest:

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Like Bridget Jones, I can never resist Mark Darcy, even in a reindeer jumper. 😉

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Filed under #CBR6, Jane Austen

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