Death Comes to Pemberley

DeathComestoPemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

*Contains Spoilers*

While I am a huge mystery fan, I had never really read anything by P.D. James. I had heard of this book when it came out,  but I wasn’t sure if it would be a good read.

I felt whatever about it.

I felt whatever about it.

However, as I have heard people raving about it and the TV series; and I found it at the library book sale for 25¢, I decided to buy it and read it.

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I didn’t really care for the book

Something is not right!

Why you may ask, well let’s just read and you will see.

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So the book begins with a quick summary of Pride and Prejudice, most likely for those who have not read the books. Although I’m not quite sure why they would be reading this if they haven’t read Pride & Prejudice to begin with.

suspicious Hmm

Since the end of the novel Mary has married a vicar and is now Mrs. Theodore Hopkins; while Kitty remains unmarried.

Years have passed since Austen’s novel ended and now Elizabeth is the mother of two adorable boys and has found her place as lady of the manor.

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It is the day before the Lady Anne’s ball and Elizabeth has been busy preparing the plans and making sure that everything is being done right.

MeanGirls I know right!

Meanwhile Colonel Fitzwilliam has gone through many changes since  P&P. His older brother died, leaving him the heir and gaining the title of Viscount Hartlep. He is looking to marry and looking at Georgiana as his future bride. Only one problem, she wants to marry lawyer Henry Alveston.

Love triangle Boy Meets World

I actually never liked Henry. I thought he would have made a great villain as he seemed off to me…

Suspicious

Suspicious

But I guess James didn’t want to do that.

Fine, do it your way

Fine, do it your way

The Bingleys have left Netherfield as they don’t care to be that close to Mrs. Bennet. Instead they moved to Highmarten which is much closer to the Darcys. They have just arrived for the ball as well.

janecharles

Everything seems to be going as planned, but a storm is brewing outside. This brings unease that cannot be explained to the guests and hosts.

I'm scared!

I’m scared!

We then pause from the house to the view of the butler, Bidwell Thomas. He gives us reader a background of the woods surrounding the house and cottage where he resides. The cottage Bidwell resides in was built by Mr. Darcy’s grandfather who lived there with his dog. When his dog became too old and sick, he shot him and himself.

escalatedquickly

That was a weird, dark twisted branch in the Darcy tree.

weird

Why would James include something like that? What is it’s purpose? We see Darcy has some mental illness in his background, I guess.

I don't think this really added to the story.

I don’t think this really added to the story.

Darcy’s father restored the cottage and gave it to the butler’s family. Besides the death of that Darcy, the wood is claimed to be haunted when a poacher was hanged, even though Mr. Darcy tried to give him leniency, and the mother of the accused cursed the entire Darcy line and then hanged herself. Now there is a superstition of a ghost living in the woods.

Scooby Doo and the ghoul school phantom ghost

What I don’t understand is why go through all that trouble of giving this big complicated and supernatural history but then have no follow through. I thought maybe there would be something about a ghost or someone using it in the murder; but there was nothing. So why waste our times James? Why?

IT MAKES NO SENSE

IT MAKES NO SENSE

So the butler lives there with his wife, sick son Will, and daughter Louisa. Louisa recently traveled to help her older sister Sarah with their newewst baby, and brought him back so that Will could see it. The newest baby’s name is Georgie. Hmm…what character in this story shares that same name? *Hint, hint* *Wink, wink*

savedbythebellwinkhelloooh

While everyone is relaxing after dinner, Colonel Fitzwilliam takes off for his evening ride. Half an hour later the party is breaking up with everyone going to bed when Darcy sees a coach coming up crazily. He goes outside to find out what is happening, when Lydia comes running out. She scream that Wickham is dead and that Denny killed him.

OMG gasp

Now in the previews for Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries, they implied that Darcy was thought to possibly have murdered Wickham. But then when you read the book, Darcy is never implicated as he wasn’t in any situation and Wickham isn’t even dead. False advertising!

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Lydia is taken with the women while Darcy interrogates the coachman. Coachman Pratt tells him that he was to drop Lydia at the house, the men off at King’s Arms in Lambton, and then return the coach. When halfway through the woodland Captain Denny stopped the coach, jumped out and shouted that he was done with Wickham. Mr. Wickham ran after him to come back, Lydia yelling at both of them to return. Then the coachman and Lydia heard shots. Lydia started screaming murder and ordered the coach to go straight to Pemberley.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

They start making arrangements and arming the search party. As they head out they meet a returning Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Suspicious

Suspicious

As they head up, Colonel takes control of the situation and splits the group up.

splitupScoobyDoo

Darcy looks around and starts talking about him and nature being one. Really? I can’t see Darcy waxing so romantically and poetically in a situation like this.

Really?

Really?

We also get the tidbit that his grandfather (who sounds crazy to me and makes me think those Darcy’s shouldn’t have been so proud) asked to be buried with his dog in the woods; but the family refused. His spirit supposedly is roaming the woods.

So once again we get a hint at the supernatural or something, with no follow through. Why even bother to set something like that up?

Stop it now if it isn't going to be anything more.

Stop it now if it isn’t going to be anything more.

They reach the cottage and the colonel is the only one to enter it. Odd. Why wouldn’t he allow others to go inside, what is he trying to hide or keep from the others?

Suspicious

Suspicious

As they continue in the woods they discover the body of Denny. He is lying on his back, face caked in blood. Wickham is kneeling over him; bloody and screaming that Denny is dead and it was his fault, he killed him.

I guess that's all

I guess that’s all

They carry the two back to Pemberly.

Darcy travels to Sir Selwyn Hardcastle who reviews cases such as this and makes the final judgement. He and Darcy don’t see eye to eye, but everything must be done by the book. As Wickham is his brother-in-law, Darcy can’t oversee the investigation.

The next day finds Lydia furious, not at her husband, but at Elizabeth, If only the Darcys had received them then they would have arrived the next day, not with Lydia trying to coax her way in.

Favorite Lydia Bennet

Georgina and Elizabeth have a heart to heart as Elizabeth is worried about Georgina with the close proximity to Wickham. Georgina reveals that she is fine, and that she has told Henry about her past.

See here is where I thought that the book would have been more interesting if it turned out Henry was the murderer as he lied about his past to try and get to Georgina’s inheritance. With him attacking Wickham as he knows too much and accidentally killing Denny.  Or Colonel Fitzwilliam being the murderer. But no, James decided to not go down that path.

Fine, do it your way

Fine, do it your way

There is an inquest and Wickham is to go on trial, although there is quite a few holes in the case.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Meanwhile the Darcy’s visit sick Will and bring the family things to help them. They try and convince them  to move to the manor where they can recieve better care; but the family refuses.

The Darcys and Bingleys have been aiding the Wickhams; providing Wickham with items he requests to help his time in jail and the Bingleys opening their home to Lydia. Darcy is very unhappy about he situation and also with the fact that he will have to support the two until Wickham can find a job, having been fired by Sir Walter Elliot (characters from Jane Austen’s Persuasion).

StoryOfMyLifeSomeLikeItHotMarilynMonroe

The day of the inquest arrives. All the Darcys and Bingleys have been cleared as they all alibi each other. A stone was found that is believed to be the murder weapon, but no incriminating marks were found on it so there is no definite proof. After all statements are given, the coachman’s being the weightiest, they decide to hold Wickham and put him on trial.

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Christmas is approaching, and Darcy declares that the trial is not to be talked of, instead having everyone focus on the upcoming holiday.

regency christmas 4

They give food to the poorer parishioners, have a few dinner parties; and Wickham is transferred to London. Meanwhile the Butler’s Georgie gets sent home to his mother and Louisa and Will are happier; but the trial looms closer and closer.

Now as they keep mentioning the Butler’s family, you just know they are connected somehow to this murder. Otherwise why would James focus on them when the house is full of potential suspects? And of course Wickham well set up as the killer.

Should've done better James

Should’ve done better James

The day of the trial arrives. At the trial Darcy spots a familiar face, Mrs. Younge, Wickham’s partner in crime and Georgian’s old companion. The same Mrs. Younge that aided in the elopement.

ThewomenBadnameBitch

Everyone shares their testimony, including Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Things look pretty grim.

But then it is time for Wickham to give his testimony and be questioned. As we know, Wickham is charming and manipulative. He says that he said he killed him, as he feels it is his fault Denny is dead, as his life was his responsibility since he was traveling with Wickham. He says that he drank too much and was chasing the real murderer when he passed put. He points out that the weapon is missing, and there is no motive for Wickham to kill him; therefore he could not have done it.

So there! tongue sticking out pug

The jury leave to discuss.

When the trial reconvenes they declare Wickham as guilty. Wickham scream that he didn’t do it, but it’s too late for him. Mrs. Younge runs out of the courtroom after the verdict, with Darcy following to speak to her, but she gets run over by a coach and dies. Did she kill herself? Or was it an accident?

escalatedquickly

But then to everyone’s shock a confession is asked to be added to evidence. It was brought by the country doctor and is the confession of the sickly Will, the Darcys’ butler’s son.

I knew it!

I knew it!

Will killed Denny. You see Louisa had been with her sister taking care of her children, when she was assaulted by Wickham. She became pregnant and Georgie was hers, named after Wickham. When it was revealed that Wickham could not marry Louisa, as he was already married, she came home with the baby; pretending it was her nephew. When Will saw the officer in the woods, he thought he was Wickham and killed him to protect his family. Unfortunately he killed the wrong person and could not allow him to go to prison for something he did not do.

sorry

Wickham is discharged as witnesses prove that Will did write the confession and that he meant it.

george-wickham-pride-and-prejudice-bbc

The reason why Colonel Fitzwilliam left to go on his ride was that he was approached by Mrs. Younge to try and help her adopt the boy as she loved Wickham and wanted a piece of him near.

Well that was a red herring.

Well that was a red herring.

Mr. Wickham gets approached by a minister he met while in prison who offers him  job on a horse farm in the United States. He and Lydia travel there. Louisa marries her old beau and everything turns out well.

I guess that's all

I guess that’s all

Well I thought it was kind of boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

It was nowhere as great as the critics claimed it to be, and I’m sorry for those who love P.D. James and thinks she is fantastic but I just found it to be an all-around dud.

There was no mystery, no challenge, no nothing! I hated it! And why did she keep bringing up the supernatural when it had nothing to do with it in the end!

It was awful!

It was awful!

If you really like the idea of a Darcy and Elizabeth mystery, you should check out Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged).

Pride&Prescience

Now will the miniseries be as horrible? We shall see.

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For more Jane Austen mysteries, you should check out Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more books based on Jane Austen’s work, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

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A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

You can’t reason with a headless man.

As a kid I remember that this movie used to scare the bejeezus out of me. The headless horseman was uber creepy.

Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed,
Is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst!

But the film was amazing!

One reason why it was so fantastic was that they had the very handsome, and very charming Bing Crosby be the narrator and singer.

I love this man!

He doesn’t even have to show his face, just listening to his sexy voice is enough for me.

So Disney actually manages to do an extremely good job and creating a fun, but still creepy children’s film. They also managed to keep the story very similar to the short story, in fact taking pieces from the actual text and placing it in the film.

FYI Spoiler Alert

So the cartoon starts out with the classic Disney opening:

All fairy tales or films based on short stories and novels used to open with the pages of a book. I miss that opening and wish they portrayed it in more films. I know they brought it back for Enchanted, but I still wish there was more of it.

The first person we are introduced to is Brom Bones

I never liked Brom. He always seemed like a jerk to me. He was big and brawny, “handsome” to some; but a mean bully. He reminds me of a lesser cool Gaston. (I love Gaston, even though he is a jerk. His song is awesome)

I mean he gives liquor to animals. That’s abuse right there.

Anyways, Brom is shocked at the appereance of a new man in town. In fact this stranger suprises everyone. It’s Ichabod, Ichabod Crane the school teacher.

“Debonair and devil-may-care
It’s the new schoolmaster
What’s his name
Ichabod!
Ichabod Crane!”

He’s tall, rail thin, and has one heck of a schnozza; but I always liked him better as he was well-read and not a loser like Brom.

Icabod also loves to eat. He goes to his student’s homes to partake in their food, making it a complete part of his lifestyle.

Even though Ichabod isn’t really a looker he still has all the girls in town’s hearts a flutter.

With a voice like Bing Crosby’s who could blame them?

This of course upsets Brom, who tries his best to prank Ichabod and make him seem dumb.

Next to enter the scene is the lovely Katrina Van Tassel. Not only is she the prettiest in the town, but her father is the richest man.

“Narrator: Oh, Katrina, my love. Who can resist your grace, your charm? And who can resist your father’s farm? Boy, what a set-up! There’s gold in them acres…Dear Katrina, my love, my treasure. Treasure? Ah, that barn’s a gold mine. How I’d love to hit the jackpot. Sweet Katrina, Papa’s only child. Papa? Well, the old goat can’t take it with him, and when he cuts out, that’s where I cut in.” 

Every guy in town wants to get with Katrina, Ichabod included. The only problem is that Brom is interested in Katrina, in fact he is planning on marrying her. Katrina however is enjoying the attention of Ichabod. She likes the fact that he is so different from anyone she’s ever met.

Ichabod is able to to best Brom in every way, by using his brain over brawn.

However, Ichabod is a very superstitous person. We saw in his song how he doesn’t like black cats, walking under ladders, salt over the shoulder, etc.

Brom catches on to this and tells a horrific story about the Headless Horseman.

“Brom Bones: [singing] When the ghosts have a midnight jamboree, they break it up with fiendish glee. Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed, is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst! 
Chorus: [singing] That’s right, he’s a fright on Halloween night! 
Brom Bones: When he goes a-jogging across the land, holding his noggin in his hand, demons take one look and groan, and they hit the road for parts unknown!…I’m telling you, brother, it’s a frightful sight for what goes on Halloween night.” 

Its midnight and Halloween, and after hearing the story, Ichabod is doubly freaked out on his walk home.

Of course on his way home he runs into THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!

 “Next morning, Ichabod’s hat was found, and close beside it, a shattered pumpkin, but there was no trace of the schoolmaster. It was shortly thereafter that Brom Bones led the fair Katrina to the altar. Now, rumors persisted that Ichabod was still alive, married to a wealthy widow in a distant county. But of course, the settlers refused to believe such nonsense, for they knew the schoolmaster had been spirited away by the Headless Horseman.”

I always thought that the horseman was Brom and not a ghost, but I like how they end it so that you can draw your own conculsion as to what has really happened.

Hope you enjoyed this hair-raising tale. More to come!

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook for my Halloween countdown

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to They’re Here

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For more on Disney Animated Films, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more on Disney, go to Doors of Death