The ninety-something P.D. James decided to take a break from her Adam Dalgliesh novels and try her hand at a murder mystery featuring characters by her favorite novelist, Jane Austen. She spoke to NPR this morning about the resulting book, Death Comes to Pemberley, (RH/Knopf; RH Large Print; RH Audio).

The book has been enjoying strong reviews. Says USA Today, “Countless authors writing in a plethora of genres have tried to re-create Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but James’ new novel is incomparably perfect.” Michael Dirda, in the Washington Post, calls it “a solidly entertaining period mystery and a major treat for any fan of Jane Austen.”

Libraries are showing heavy holds in some areas. The book came out on Tuesday and has already risen to #20 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

New information about Austen has come to light in the last week. An Austen scholar is pursuing a hypothesis that arsenic poisoning was the cause of Jane’s early death (it was an element in several medications at the time).  Also, a previously unidentified portrait recently emerged, which may be of Austen. The Telegraph, reports the story with the upbeat headline, “Jane Austen wasn’t as ugly as people think.”

Comments are closed.