It may shock literary purists but delight many Austen fans: heavyweight crime novelist P.D. James has written a “sequel” to Pride and Prejudice.
The update – with a murder mystery twist – starts with Austen's characters Mr Darcy and his wife, Elizabeth six years after they first married. They are the parents to two children and living happily when Elizabeth's younger sister, Lydia, discovers her husband has been murdered.
Entitled 'Death Comes to Pemberley', the publisher Faber describes it as “a pitch-perfect recreation of the world of Pride and Prejudice”.
P.D James – who is 91, has often said that Pride and Prejudice, written in 1813, is her favorite book.
She said: “It has been a joy to revisit Pride and Prejudice and to discover, as one always does, new delights and fresh insights.
“I have to apologize to Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation but this fusion of my two enthusiasms - for the novels of Jane Austen and for writing detective stories - has given me great pleasure which I hope will be shared by my readers.”
The book will be published in November.
Novelist Joanna Trollope is reworking Sense and Sensibility, while previous Austen homages include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, tagged as 'The Classic Regency Romance - now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!'