Friday, May 11, 2012
Death Comes to Pemberley ~ P.D. James
It started off well. There was a brief bit at the beginning to remind the reader of the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice and I was pretty impressed at how well-done it was - brief and to the point, but pretty complete, and not boring. The writing was, I think, pretty true to Jane Austen's style, should Jane Austen have ever decided to write a murder mystery, and true to Pride and Prejudice itself. As a result, it tended to be pretty predictable to people who know P&P well. For example, if any character from P&P were to be seen wild-haired and shrieking animal-like (I don't remember the exact quote), who would it be?* If any character were to be accused of murder, who would it be?**
But then. It was just kind of boring. I'm not so sure that that's P.D. James's fault so much as the format. In Austen novels, characters tend to do a lot of sitting around chatting. That's her thing and that's cool. The act of reading it engages the reader enough to be entertained. However, while walking down a road and listening to other people have a conversation in which you can have no involvement, the mind wanders.
I have little else to say, except that the end was quite predictable, much like any true Austen novel (and by true I mean written by Austen) and did a nice job of employing a common 19th century British trope for saving characters from unpleasantness, so kudos to James on that.
I guess that it was okay, and it mostly kept my attention. I just advise that you stick with the print version, and save sword fights*** for your audiobooks.
*If you didn't just say Lydia, you are clearly not ready for this book.
** If you didn't just say Wickham, you are an impostor. Go read the real Austen and then we'll talk.
*** Or something else slightly more exciting than endless conversation and pondering.