*-This recap contains spoilers. If you have yet to read either of the the books or watch the miniseries, read at your own risk.
Jane Austen’s most famous and beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice ends happily ever after. The union of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the reader hopes, is to be a long and blessed one.
Last year, author P.D. James took her readers 6 years into the future of this couple. Mingling the characters of Pride and Prejudice with murder mystery, Death Comes To Pemberley asked viewers the following question: Who murdered Captain Denny (Tom Canton)?
Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Rhys) are in the midst of wedded bliss. Life at Pemberley has become normal. Their son, also named Fitzwilliam, is a hearty, healthy and energetic boy who wants for nothing. Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson) is of an age to marry. The entire household is in a frenzy, as the Lady Anne Ball is approaching. The last thing they want or need is the accusation murder on Darcy land.
Enter Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) and Henry Alveston (James Norton). The Colonel, who is Georgiana’s c0-guardian after the death of her father, has begun to look at his young cousin differently. While the Colonel may see her in a different light, Georgiana seems to have made her choice elsewhere.
Invited to the Lady Anne Ball are Elizabeth’s parent’s, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front). For the sake of his wife, Darcy rolls his eyes and deals with in in laws, as many men have and will do. While Mr. Bennet characteristically retreats to his son in law’s library, his wife foolishly chatters on how wonderful Mr. Wickham (Matthew Goode) is , unaware of his true nature and his attempted seduction of Georgiana.
As a the lady of the manor, one of Elizabeth’s duties is to visit those that live and work on the land. Mr. Bidwell (Philip Martin Brown) has been a loyal servant. Elizabeth has become friendly with his wife, Mrs. Bidwell (Jennifer Hennessey), his bed ridden son, Will (Lewis Rainer) and his daughter, Louisa (Nichola Burley). Louisa has just returned from visiting her sister with a child she is caring for that she has claimed is her sister’s. But there is something about the child that does not add up.
In the village near Pemberley, an argument ensues between Captain Denny and Mr. Wickham. It continues in the carriage on the ride to Pemberley. That is, until Captain Denny orders the coachman to stop and runs out in the forest. Wickham goes after him, shots are fired and Lydia’s (Jenna Coleman) screams are heard as the carriage stops in front of Pemberley. Captain Denny is found dead and Wickham is suspected of being the murderer.
Strangely, despite their strained relationship, Darcy seems to understand that Wickham is not guilty. He remembers a boy who was hanged for poaching and how they witnessed it, despite being told to stay away. Add in the mystery of a spirit haunting the woods and an unknown woman with whom Colonel Fitzwilliam was seen in conversation with about a subject that is yet to be revealed.
I read the book and saw the miniseries when it was online briefly last year. I won’t reveal anything else, but I will let you, gentle reader learn the truth on Sunday.