The night before the famous Lady Anne's Ball (now hosted by the present Darcys, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth) a hired coach tumbles into the drive and Lydia Wickam rushes out. Barely coherent, she babbles on about shots being fired and how Wickam is surely dead. The Darcys get more sense from the coachman: Wickam and his friend Denny barrelled off into the woods. Shots were heard, then Mrs Wickam went into hysterics.
Darcy, a young lawyer friend, and Colonel FItzwilliam (just returned from a ride) form a search party, prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. What they find is Denny dead and Wickam hovering over the body, crying and wailing that he's killed his only friend. Before long, the law comes for Wickam and he's on trial for his life.
Death Comes to Pemberley could be retitled: Law & Order, Pemberley Unit. This audiobook just needed that iconic Bong! Bong! for every scene change. I wasn't thrilled by the book. There was a lot of set up before the story really began. I didn't mind most of that actually. It was fun hearing what the neighbours thought of the Darcy romance and what happened to the characters after the marriage. After Denny's body is found, the story takes a turn. Elizabeth is hardly in it after this. Darcy takes over the show. Not that he does much more than observe the courtroom drama.
James sticks close to that Regency style of writing but it was repetitive. A couple of times I thought, "Didn't I already hear this?" and that Epilogue was tedious. As for the characters, Colonel Fitzwilliam has turned into an arrogant douche nozzle. Lydia is the most annoying person the world but I couldn't believe she could be as bad as she is here. The Darcys are as dull as dirt.
I just went back to Goodreads and rated it lower while writing this as I now realize how disappointed I was by Death Comes to Pemberley. I've never read any P.D. James but I suspect she has done better. Maybe my hopes were too high.
About the Audio: The performance from Rosalyn Landor is the best part of the story. Her voices and accents were very entertaining.