From start to finish, author PD James remains true to the voice of Jane Austen in her latest novel, Death Comes to Pemberley. It was easy for me as a reader to slip into the rhythm of the more formal language of the early nineteenth century. The settings, customs, dress and mores of the English upper-class in this novel are as fraught with problems as Austen portrayed them over a hundred years ago.
Readers who love Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth will find them equally endearing here. Placing them in the midst of a murder mystery is a welcome twist. There is so much going on and so much for them to attend to, it would be hard to envision any of them also holding a regular job. Austen's humor is accurately transcribed, even in the introduction, when James remarks that could she read this novel, she would declare she would have written a better one.
The plot revolves around a mysterious death in the woods, an illegitimate birth, the ongoing friction among characters met earlier in Austen's Pride in Prejudice, and the hazards and joys of life in the English countryside. It's a good mystery, and a very good story in the grand tradition of both authors.