I'm not sure why P.D. James, a very talented writer of mysteries decided to take on Pride and Prejudice. I can understand (if not forgive) a lesser writer for trying to ride on Jane Austen's coat tails. Perhaps she was in a playful mood. Maybe she said, "Hey I'm 92, I can do whatever I want." Because of her expertise in writing intelligent mysteries, I definitely held her to a higher standard. I didn't think the whole thing worked. Sure, I was happy to be reunited with Elizabeth and Darcy 6 years into their marriage. I did think James did a good job of recreating these characters in a believable way. Unfortunately, the story plodded along at an excruciatingly slow pace.
First, there was the murder. Then a recounting of the incidents leading up to the murder by everyone involved. Then there was Colonel Fitzwilliam's retelling of the whole incident the following day. Next there was the inquest, where they go through the story again ! And finally, we get to hear the details one more time at the trial. I was bored to tears.
After this, which took 250 pages, the pacing of the book changed completely. There were plot twists and disclosures, and more plot twists for the next 50 (and final) pages. It felt like James was as bored as I was and decided to try to wrap things up quickly.
I would have to say my biggest problem with the book is that in the final pages James introduces characters from Emma! Harriet Smith, Robert Martin, and the Knightlys ! They end up a playing a role in the whole resolution. I found this to be ridiculous. Oh well. 2 stars.