I'd been rather torn about reading James' novel... I don't generally read pastiche, especially when it's based on favourite books and characters. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"? No. Just no. On the other hand, if anyone could write an intelligent P & P style book a la Austen, it would be P. D. James. She is- or rather, was (she died in 2014, aged 94) -a skilled writer and a sharp-witted, feisty woman. If you have a few minutes to spare, you should really check out her 2008 radio interview with the Director General of the BBC. Well into her eighties, James takes him to task for the wastrel ways of the public broadcaster. Armed with facts and in her brisk, forthright manner, she refutes his every excuse with ease, leaving the Director General floundering. It's a masterful performance, and one could almost imagine her as an Austenian Dowager, gleefully squelching the pretensions of a hapless upstart.
Despite my admiration for her, though, I was still hesitant about picking up "Death Comes To Pemberley". I frequently don't like sequels, even when they're written by the same author, so what were the odds of my enjoying this one written by someone else almost 200 years after the original? Just after Easter, however, I found a copy in a used book store and decided to throw caution to the wind. After all, I reasoned, even if I hated it, I wouldn't have wasted much money on it. Fortunately, I didn't hate it.