Sunday, December 25, 2011

Death Comes To Pemberley Audio Edition

    With a dulcet mannerly voice Rosalyn Landor is the perfect actress to bring the writing of Jane Austen and P. D. James to life.  Many will remember her for her television appearances in Rumpole of the Bailey and Sherlock Holmes in which she also so memorably captured the British sound.  Her voice control is superb as she segues easily in conversations between Elizabeth and Jane - listeners have no doubt which sister is speaking.  This is an extraordinary listening experience - do believe Jane Austen herself would approve.

    The story begins some time after the ending of Pride and Prejudice - long enough for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to become engaged, marry, have two children and seemingly have settled happily into life at Darcy’s magnificent estate, Pemberley.  The year is 1803, the eve of the grand Lady Anne’s ball, and the Bingley’s have come.

    Elizabeth is, of course, delighted to see her beloved sister, Jane, and the two are happily looking after final preparations for the ball when an unexpected visitor arrives - a carriage careens up the driveway carrying a woman who is screaming hysterically - none other than Lydia Bennet Wickham.  She married a handsome rogue who was well paid to make a respectable woman of her.  Now, her husband is soon discovered deep in the woodland, covered with blood,  bending over the dead body of his dear friend, Captain Denny.  Quite obviously, Denny has been viciously murdered (although we’re treated to explanations from  local medical experts), and Wickham is charged with the crime.

    There are many hidden secrets at Pemberley, including the life of Darcy’s grandfather who built a cottage for himself in the woodland where he lived and died accompanied only by his faithful dog.  Now, the only residents of the woodland are the Bidwell’s, a family headed by a man who has served Pemberley with pride  for many years.

    I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Rosalyn Landor’s narration.

    - Gail Cooke

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