Death Comes To PemberleyPosted: January 3, 2014
I don’t have a book review this month because even though I did read two books, they’re by two of my go-to authors, Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson (after A Children’s Book, I needed something more fun), so I don’t think my reviews would be interesting. Other than that I’ve been reading mostly short stories and Sandman comics, and none of those can provide an interesting review either, so here’s a review of a mini-series instead – “Death Comes to Pemberley”, based on the novel by P.D. James, which is a murder mystery sequel to Pride and Prejudice.
First, the story: it’s six years after Elizabeth and Darcy are married, and they are preparing for their annual ball when Lydia, who was not invited, arrives in hysterics, claiming Wickham has been murdered. The body they find, however, is that of Wickham’s friend Captain Denny, and Wickham himself is immediately arrested. What follows is an investigation that uncovers all sorts of secrets and threatens to tear Elizabeth and Darcy apart.
I really enjoyed this. It’s beautifully shot, the sets are gorgeous, the costumes pretty (it actually has some of the prettiest Regency costumes I’ve seen in post-2000 period dramas. I don’t understand how some of these recent adaptations can’t seem to get the Regency silhouette right. And don’t get me started on the costumes in the 2005 P&P, ugh.) I would like to see more of the “murder mystery” part, because it would’ve been super fun to watch Elizabeth and Darcy playing detective to save the reputation of Pemberley and ultimately, their marriage, but here the series mostly focuses on the drama part. I guess it’s a good choice though, because when the murder itself is resolved, it feels kind of anticlimactic.
Hard as it is to me to let go of my mental images of Elizabeth and Darcy from the 1995 P&P, I have to admit the cast is good too. Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys are no Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, obviously, but then again they don’t have to be – they are portraying these characters in a different period in their lives, and their Elizabeth/Darcy relationship is believable. Matthew Goode has a great balance between being charming and creepy, so he’s perfect as Wickham. Jenna Coleman (yep, Clara of Doctor Who) has a face that is too modern to be in a period piece, I think, but she brings some vulnerability to the character that makes Lydia a lot less annoying.
I haven’t read the book, though a quick glance at the reviews says it’s apparently not that great. Which is a shame, because I would totally recommend the mini-series, whether you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice or not.