P. D. James Adds Dark Twist to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE… Murder

Photo of PD James
this December

NEW YORK, October 12, 2011 — Best-selling British novelist P. D. James has written a new book that picks up where Pride and Prejudice left off and introduces a decidedly sinister twist to the Jane Austen classic: a deadly crime. DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY will be published by Knopf on December 6th, it was announced today by Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief.

Set in 1803 at Pemberley, the Darcy family estate, five years after Austen concluded her original story, James’ new novel finds Elizabeth and Darcy happily married, with two fine sons, and enjoying regular visits from Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband Bingley. There is talk about the prospect of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana, lingering resentment over the elopement of Elizabeth’s sister Lydia with the dishonorable Wickham, and rumors that war will soon break out between England and France.

Still, life continues at Pemberley, and preparations are being made for the annual ball. But on the evening before it is to take place, the idyll is suddenly shattered. There are gunshots and screams, a body is discovered in the woods, and all at once the story evolves into a murder mystery — one recognizable as P. D. James at her best, yet conveyed with all the charm and wit of Jane Austen.

“I have to apologize to Jane Austen,” says James, “for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation. It has been a joy to revisit Pride and Prejudice and to discover, as one always does, new delight and fresh insights. This fusion of my two enthusiasms–for the novels of Jane Austen and for writing detective novels–has given me great pleasure.”

P. D. James is the author of twenty previous books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the U.S. and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and in 1991, she was named Baroness James of Holland Park.

Knopf has set a first printing of 300,000 copies for DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY. It will also be published as an e-Book and available in audio from Random House.

Gabrielle Brooks | 212-572-2152 | gbrooks@randomhouse.com