Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Death Comes to Pemberley, P D James, Alfred A Knopf, 2012, 291 pp

I have previously read three books by P D James: her first, Cover Her Face, 1962; The Lighthouse, next to last of the Inspector Adam Dalgliesh books, 2005; and the stand alone Children of Men, 1992. 

I liked best the one that got low stars and tepid reviews: Children of Men. In her mysteries she is too sedate and slow moving for me. Children of Men had zing.

When one of my reading groups chose Death Comes to Pemberley, I was rightfully concerned. I don't much enjoy Jane Austen either. Ms James' book is written as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice with a murder mystery for the plot. I anticipated a dreadfully boring read and that is what it was for me. Exactly half of the reading group felt as I did and the other half loved it. There was no middle ground.

I think for Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice geeks the book would be perfect. The two authors would certainly have been besties had they lived in the same era.

Ten days after I finished reading Death Comes to Penderley death came to P D James. I feel a bit mean now for hating her book. I admire her for a long successful career and for her contributions to the playing field of female mystery writers.

(Death Comes to Pemberley is available in paperback on the mystery shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)


  1. I read quite by chance Death in Holy Orders years ago. It's one of my all-time favorite mystery/murder books. She really knew how to spin a story, but my experience with her is rather limited as you can see.

    1. Well, despite my complaints, P D James is one of the authors on My Big Fat Reading Project. Good to know I have one to look forward too!