Death Comes to Pemberley
About the Book
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
I've never before read a murder mystery with neither murder nor mystery. Between the repetitive narrating and focus on Regency law, this was a very tedious read. I must have read the circumstances of the murder two dozen times, with no change to the information presented. And while I'm sure the law bits were accurately researched, they took up too much of the book for my taste.
There was a surprising lack of suspects. There was the suspect arrested by the police (who couldn't be the real murderer unless this book wanted to completely fail at being a mystery), and there was the Very Obvious Red Herring. That's it. And although the main characters insisted the official murder suspect was innocent, they never once sought out the real murderer - not even in their thoughts. They didn't even suspect the Red Herring.
I won't spoil anything in case you decide to ignore my advice and read it, but the ending is very clumsily patched together. Explanations are presented on events that weren't even hinted at, so they come totally out of left field. Highly unsatisfactory.
This was the first book I've read by P.D. James, and I'm not inclined to read her other books. No offense, ma'am, but this book was badly done.