Sep 22 2011 4:14pm

And Now for Something Completely Different: P.D. James Takes on Jane Austen

P. D. James reports:

Faber is to publish a new detective novel from acclaimed mystery author P. D. James which combines a murder investigation with the world and characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, revisiting Darcy and Elizabeth six years into their marriage.

Death Comes to Pemberley will be published on November 3rd as an £18.99 hardback.

To which I can only say, “Oh, good grief!”

This, you understand, is no reflection on P.D.James who is, in my opinion, a fantastic writer. And I’m pretty sure this is one Jane Austen-inspired book that I’ll read.  Nor is this a reflection on how much I adore Jane Austen (which must surely be apparent by now). But, I have to ask, is there no new thing under the sun?

I know, the last time this happened  which, incidentally, was only a week ago, I asked “Why not?” People have been using Jane Austen’s characters for ages. And I know I quoted David Liss as saying all writing is an homage to Jane Austen.

But really!  What is this about? I know P.D. James is able to create her own characters. Is it about the market, the money, the burning desire to write your own version of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy?

Good grief!

Photo  of P.D. James from


Myretta is the co-founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter@Myretta

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
lady trudy
1. lady trudy
I don't get all the JA continuing sagas. I prob won't read it unless my sis vets it for me. We love JA but she's the mystery buff. but
I have seen SO many of these type books - talk about market saturation.
Janet Webb
2. JanetW
Myretta, thank you so much for saying that! People I respect in Romlandia, including authors I read, were Yipee and Yahoo and I'm thinking a) you must be kidding b) hasn't this bus left the station? c) what on earth can PD James bring to the saturated Pride and Prejudice field? I like her books -- who's idea is it for James to do this? I can only see it as a stunt and I'm waiting for the bubble to burst.

I read that Emma Thompson (for whom I have so much respect -- she did a great adaptation of JA's S&S) is doing a new version of Peter Rabbit. You're kidding right? What's the matter with the original Peter Rabbit?

Rant over.
lady trudy
3. Jen G.
I typically ignore this type of Jane Austen remix, but I love love love PD James, so I'm actually excited about it. If anyone can do JA justice, it's PD James.
Post a comment