This is a fabulous novel by P.D. James! She has taken the characters from Pride and Prejudice and drawn them into a murder mystery with emotional ramifications for the Darcy and Bingley families. It is 1803. Elizabeth and Jane have been married six years to their respective mates. They are each mothers, in charge of large estates. Elizabeth has settled well into Pemberley, with Jane nearby. Her father visits often; Darcy's sister Georgiana may soon marry. They are all busily preparing for the annual autumn ball when a coach barrels up the drive. Inside is a hysterical Lydia, Elizabeth's disgraced sister who married the infamous Wickham, both of whom have been banned at Pemberley. Lydia is screaming that Wickham has been murdered in the woodland. Pemberley is now embroiled in a murder mystery.
The first chapter of this book is given to a synopsis of Jane Austen's original work. Then we're given a glimpse of the peaceful, orderly world of Pemberley with Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy in charge. Then the mystery.... P.D. James has lovingly and masterfully re-created the world of Pride and Prejudice. There are no glaring anachronisms, no one slips out of character.... It really could be a "sequel" . It almost feels traitorous to Miss Austen to say that. This was a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.