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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Death and a new Darcy at Pemberley

Debra E. Marvin

As so often happens, many of our favorite costume dramas show first in the UK, and then months/years later, show up on US telly. Thankfully our friends at Masterpiece Theater feed  our need for British drama and I admit to being a Masterpiece snob.  Intellectually speaking, who doesn’t love the fact there are no commercials! 
 


Back in  2011, the well-known mystery author P.D. James ventured from her usual genre in an attempt to combine her love of Austen and murder by joining the ranks of Austen Fan Fiction-eers.  Hundreds of books have been written based on Austen characters.  I truly understand this.  Did Ms. James, now in her nineties, succeed?  It’s debatable.
 
I listened to Death comes to Pemberley, and it was my first taste of James’ writing. That was probably a mistake. She is the author of sixteen or so novels, mostly mysteries dealt with  by the character Adam Dalgleish.  I was expecting a rousing mystery so I hung in, interested, because 1) I wanted to find out how she produced the villain in the end, and 2) what the heck. The characters were people I knew… well, you know what I mean.

Then, in the fall of  2013, I learned that a 'mini-series' version was coming to the small screen. A new Elizabeth and D’arcy!  The fabulous Anna Maxwell-Martin was to be Elizabeth. That alone would have sold me. Last Christmas, the UK watched. The reviews were mixed, much like the book, but seemed to be liked, overall. 

Not long after reading (listening) to the book, I found the video online and watched it – all three parts, back-to-back.  In so doing, I saw many changes from the book and felt it was an improvement.  If you read it out of passion for Austen’s characters, you might be disappointed. Ms. James doesn’t flesh them out as we’d hoped, and even the mystery seemed a bit stodgy at times.  But the screen production had the luxury of giving the characters more life and manipulating the plot a bit.   I think it was a success, and even with reading the book and seeing the series, I will watch it again because I'm a sucker for costume drama and would never miss a visit to Pemberley!


Death Comes to Pemberley will be shown on Masterpiece starting Oct 25th.   Let me know what you think!

8 comments:

  1. You know I'll be watching! I. Can't. Wait. Anything Darcy and Elizabeth, I'm there.

    Thanks for the post; I'd forgotten when it would be showing!

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  2. I thought it was in Sept, so I looked it up. Another whole month to wait! oh well!
    It's been long enough that I can't recall the exact differences in the story and the series, but I think most of us will enjoy the show!

    Thanks Susie!
    I won't be online until much later so I apologize and hope to hear from anyone else who's read or seen the show.

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  3. I listened to the audiobook and I was kind of disappointed. It didn't seem like there was much of a mystery and I was waiting for something to happen. But I do love costume drama (especially with Elizabeth and Darcy!) so I'll be sure to check this out in October. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I felt the same way but the series kept my interest. I think if I was reading it, I might have stopped. Thanks for commenting, Lis! I appreciate it. Think of us when you watch it and come back and tell me what you thought!

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  4. Thanks, Deb. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one. We do receive Masterpiece Theatre here so that's a plus. :)

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  5. I must confess, Deb, I've never read PD James. But even so, I'm looking forward to watching this, Deb.

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  6. Good, we can chat about it at the end of Oct. That will be my second time watching it, so that says something, right?

    thanks ladies!

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