Saturday 21 January 2012

Death Comes To Pemberley - P. D. James (or the one I gave up on)

A month or so before Christmas I listed this book as one I was looking forward to. The idea of a murder story involving one of my favourite books sounded like fun. Especially since Mr Wickham is the victim. Who could resist reading the murder of one of Jane Austen's most hated characters (love to hate)? I couldn't and I had planned on picking this up as soon as it came out in paperback. My mum is a huge P. D. James fan though and she received this as a Christmas present. Which meant I could borrow it once she was done with it.

My mum raved about this book. She said she couldn't put it down. My mum is a huge fan of P&P too so I thought she must be right. Turns out I struggled to get to page 70 of this 30 page tale and then I gave up. The majority of those 70 pages is spent rehashing the events of P&P but seen through the eyes of local gossips. We also get to hear the life story of characters and their families that seem to only have a minor role in the book. Not only that a lot of this information is repeated. Several times we are told the same thing twice.

In the 60's we finally discover that there is something wrong. Denny has supposedly killed Wickham and at that point I was routing for Denny to come and put us all out of our misery. The story up till then was extremely flat and it felt like the author was trying to hard and failing to capture the feel of P&P. None of the characters felt like the original. Although it has to be said it was hard to tell as there was very little dialogue.

So this is the first book I am giving up on. Life is too short to continue and to be honest I don't care enough to read on and find out who was really behind Wickham's death (assuming that it's not Denny).


  1. I am sad to hear this because I have been waiting to read this one because I have heard so many good things about it. I may still give it a go--but I may not be surprised if I struggle with it.

    I have read a few P&P sequels and spin-offs but I have usually struggled with them. I am/was hoping that PD James would be better than what I had read so far. Have you had any experience with the P&P sequels or spin-offs?


    1. I have heard mixed reviews of the book and whilst I hated it my mum loved it. So I wouldn't write it off completely.

      I tend to avoid spin-offs to my favourite classics. The only one I have read is P&P and Zombies. The content was the same as the original with a few additions which actually made it funny. I used to work with someone who read them all (apart from the zombies) and very much enjoyed them.

  2. I had seen this around quite a bit but I think the market is oversaturated with P&P spin-offs. I like books based on the plot (Bridget Jones) and I thought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was bizarrely entertaining but this one didn't appeal to me.

    1. I know what you mean. I liked the Zombie one too and until this one came along I had no desire to read any of the others. I just liked the idea of the murder mystery. Have learned my lesson though ;)