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What happens after Elizabeth and Darcy tie the knot at the end of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice? Crime-writing legend P.D. James has the answer in Death Comes to Pemberley, now appearing on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! in a beautifully produced two-part adaptation, starring Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Matthew Goode (The Good Wife), and Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who).
Also starring are Trevor Eve (David Copperfield), Rebecca Front (Inspector Lewis),James Fleet (Little Dorrit), and Tom Ward (Moll Flanders).
Critics swooned over P.D. James' clever plot, calling it "incomparably perfect" (USA Today), "a glorious plum pudding of a whodunit" (NPR, Fresh Air), and "a major treat for any fan of Jane Austen" (The Washington Post).
To recap: Pride and Prejudice describes the courtship of Elizabeth Bennet, one of five unmarried sisters with practically no money. The eligible men in her orbit include Mr. Darcy, who is rich but aloof, and a charming army officer named Wickham. Wickham's account of Darcy's dishonorable behavior poisons minds against the affluent landowner. But in the end, it is Wickham who is the cad, since he runs away with the impressionable youngest Bennet girl, Lydia. Darcy proves to be a man of integrity, and his proposal to Elizabeth is eventually accepted.
Death Comes to Pemberley opens six years after these events with an impendingball at Pemberley, the palatial estate where Elizabeth (Maxwell Martin) and Darcy (Rhys) make their home with their young son, Fitzwilliam. Many friends and relatives are invited. However, Wickham (Goode) and Lydia (Coleman) are not, owing to Wickham's past disgraceful conduct with ladies.
But that doesn't stop the dashing officer from heeding Lydia's appeal to crash the party, and they set off by coach with Wickham's friend Captain Denny (TomCanton), who has something to discuss with his fellow soldier. Hours later, the coach arrives at Pemberley at breakneck speed and with an hysterical Lydia inside. All that's certain is that neither officer is in the vehicle.
While Elizabeth calms Lydia and their distraught mother, Mrs. Bennet (Front), a search party sets out, including Darcy, Mr. Bennet (Fleet), and Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam (Ward). What they find leads to a shocking murder charge and a thrilling trial. The investigation is conducted by a hereditary enemy of the Darcy family, Sir Selwyn Hardcastle (Eve). Revenge, mysterious paternity, and a ghost all figure in the ensuing plot, which would have kept Jane Austen on the edge of her Windsor chair.
Death Comes to Pemberley is a delightful way to solve a murder, catch up with some of literature's best-loved characters, and tie a few romantic loose ends that Jane Austen left dangling...