Monday, December 12, 2011

Pride3 and Prejudice3

Although I have long been a fan of all things Jane Austen, I admit to being somewhat disdainful of the recent spate of mashups involving some of my favorite novels.

A few years ago when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, I had no interest in it, and was horrified to learn that my book club had chosen it as one of their selections. After grudgingly agreeing to try it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The Bennett sisters were portrayed as strong young women who were protecting their neighborhood from an onslaught of undead creatures. More importantly, George Wickham received his comeuppance in this version of the story, which is quite different from the original. In Miss Austen’s version, Wickham’s only punishment is marriage to Lydia and a lifetime yoked to her. Perhaps that is enough.

I have just finished the latest offering by PD James, Death Comes to Pemberley. I was thrilled to learn that at age 91, this veteran mystery writer is still cranking out books. In this novel, she combines the delightful characters of Pride and Prejudice some years after the original book ends, with her specialty of criminal investigation and suspense. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are happily married and living at Pemberley with their two young sons. Jane and Mr. Bingley are also happily married and living nearby with their offspring. Events take a dramatic turn, when on the night of their annual ball, Lydia arrives uninvited, hysterical, insisting that her husband is dead.
Once the body is discovered and the search for the murderer begins, the story is all PD James. Fans of her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries will enjoy this book as well as diehard Austen devotees.