DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY, by P. D. James
The incomparable P. D. James joins the Pride and Prejudice-sequel mob and creates a lovely little world in which Darcy and Elizabeth must cope with Elizabeth's vulgar sister Lydia and her husband Wickham, the bad boy of the extended family. Wickham is found bending over the bloody body of his best friend, and is assumed to be the culprit. The family joins forces to find out the truth (even though the truth is they wish Wickham would emigrate to America). Everyone writes of the post-Austen Darcy as if he's had a personality implant. Gone is the arrogant, smug, judgmental hottie and in its place is cloying sweetness and light. I love P. D. James, but much prefer her other stories; despite the near-perfect setting and atmosphere, the characters are too sweet. While this is a perfect sequel to Pride and Prejudice, it's nowhere near James' best work and Darcy is a flat-out yawn. A 3.