Sunday 24 September 2017

Death Comes to Pemberley

Finished September 17
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

This historical novel commences a few years after the events in Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy have a couple of young sons, Jane and Bingley live nearby and have also started a family. The Darcy's traditionally hold a ball every year, called Lady Anne's ball after Darcy's mother who started the tradition. The ball is only a couple of days away, and Jane and Bingley have already come to stay, as has their regular houseguest a young lawyer, and landowner who seems to have eyes for Georgiana, Darcy's younger sister. Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who was co-guardian of Georgiana with Darcy before she came of age, is also interested in the young woman.
Late in the evening, after some of the party has already retired, the commotion of a carriage nearly out of control approaching the house attracts the attention of everyone still up. When it is discovered that the carriage contains Elizabeth and Jane's younger sister Lydia, and Lydia's husband Wickham and his friend, an officer with the military, left the carriage in the woods, after which gunshots were heard, things get more animated. Most of the gentlemen go back to the woods with the carriage and its reluctant driver to look for the missing men, only to discover the body of one of them. The victim has massive head trauma, and everyone returns to the Darcy's home.
Even though he is a local magistrate, Darcy recognizes that he cannot have charge of this case and he goes to rouse one of his peers for the job.
As the investigation continues, we see into the legal world of the time, as well as the social world. The duties of the ladies to provide comfort, tidiness, and write the necessary letters, while the gentlemen do the work of guarding and finding legal representation.
We see Elizabeth and Darcy as a team, with genuine affection and respect for each other. They have grown from their previous iterations.
An entertaining read.

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