P.D. James Brings DEATH TO PEMBERLEY While Breathing New Life Into Jane Austen’s Beloved Characters

Six years after the events of Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Darcy is throwing the annual Lady Anne Ball and everything is going smoothly. But, as close friends and family are celebrating the night before, her sister Lydia unexpectedly bursts into Pemberley screaming that her husband Wickham is dead. So begins the latest work of crime fiction by master writer P.D. James.

Turns out, Wickham isn’t dead; but he is found holding the bloody corpse of his friend Captain Denny in the middle of the woods. Darcy himself is quickly involved and stays involved throughout the investigation and trial of Wickham. The novel gives a very interesting look into the British legal system of the time. And James gives some very Dickensian twists to our favorite Austenite characters.

Many secrets abound in this tale, but James juggles them easily while also seamlessly introducing us to some of the other new characters that didn’t exist in Pride & Prejudice. (Austen fans will also enjoy the few moments when characters from other Austen books are fleetingly referred to.)

Although some parts of the book seem to drag, know that everything will be resolved in Elizabethan fashion—in other words, 3-page-long monologues delivered in the final chapters will reveal all.  And if, in your course of guessing whodunit, you begin to suspect lycanthropic involvement (Full moons! Mysteriously ill people!), then you have merely read too many supernatural books. Don’t worry; this isn’t Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (although that book is also really good, just in a different way).

Death Comes to Peberley is great way to revisit old friends and see what they’ve done with their lives. James creates believable futures for Austen’s characters while also reexamining their choices made in P&P. Just be warned, Austen fans, that after reading this book you will want to revisit Austen’s classics.

One for the Money

So many critics have derided One for the Money, but I’m here to defend it. I’ll admit that I was apprehensive about this film. I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, and I was worried they would ruin the franchise (plus I was really holding out for them to adapt to a TV series—wouldn’t it make a great TV show?). However, the film was very enjoyable and very true to the book.

Casting was probably the biggest issue for the film. Katherine Heigl does a great job with Stephanie; she grows into the character the same way Stephanie grows into being a bounty hunter. The problem is that everyone’s preconceived notions of dislike for Heigl biased them against enjoying anything about her and the film. But if you look past the terrible Jersey accent (it really doesn’t suit her), then you can see that Heigl does her best.

Daniel Sunjata was my other concern as regards casting. Although he isn’t as dark and mysterious as I imagined Ranger in the books, Sunjata is still charming and devastatingly handsome enough to pull off this seasoned bounty hunter. Plus, his chemistry with Heigl was fairly palpable.

Speaking of chemistry, Jason O’Mara did a great job making Morelli both smarmy and lovable (and sexy as well!). I was definitely hoping for some steamy action between him and Stephanie. Sherri Shepherd was perfectly cast as Lula, the hooker-cum-secretary; and she cracked me up as much as she does in the books. Also, I would have liked to see more of Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur—that character is always good for a hoot and a half.

The plot was the same as the book, but it isn’t really the “plot” that drives these stories. It’s seeing everyday girl Stephanie Plum kick ass—or attempt to—as she gets into these ridiculous situations (again, a TV series would be perfect for this!). So, if you want a fun, entertaining film, then One for the Money is the one for you. And if you need some summer reading material, then Stephanie Plum series is always the perfect beachside accessory.

The Letter Q

This book, edited by Sarah Moon and produced by The Trevor Project, focuses on the “It Gets Better” campaign. A slew of queer writers pen notes to their younger selves to inform that everything is gonna be OK (more or less). This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved to read in high school when I was questioning so many things in my life (and it seems like these writers could have used this book as well).

The letters in the book are inspiring and uplifting. It’s a hopeful book, and one that every teenager questioning their sexuality should read. It is also an important book for any adult to read as well. Any and every queer person can relate to so many different things in this book.

Most of the letters are just variations of the same message, but each writer is unique and in their different styles you can find new things that resonate with you as a reader. Some of the writers are illustrators as well, and they drew their letter in comic book style. Here are some quotations that I found inspirational in this book:

  • “There is an elusive border dividing the great nation of Self-Respect from the third world country called Wallowing.” –Nick Burd
  • “You will discover that all gay men are not stylish, witty, promiscuous, and viciously entertaining. No one said that equality was going to be fun.” –Paul Rudnick
  • “Your best friend since fourth grade is gay. Just so you know.” –Rakesh Satyal (this happened to me too!)
  • “It will take some time, but you will fall truly, madly, deeply, and finally in love.” –James Lecesne

There are many other gems in this book, and I dare you to read this book and NOT get something out of it.