It’s been over a year since Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding, and they’re living in a bubble of bliss. But then a snowstorm strands a motley group of travelers at Pemberley, and soon, bodies start falling.
In “The Phantom of Pemberley” by Regina Jeffers, a series of accidents and deaths plague the estate, and everyone is a suspect. Some of the staff begin to talk of a phantom, a haunted figure threatening the property for unknown reasons. Darcy and Elizabeth believe the culprit is much more sinister and definitely corporeal.
Every guest has something to hide, with some secrets more innocent than others. Oftentimes I was reminded of “Clue” the movie or Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” But in this novel, as much as the deaths are important, the stalking predator and feelings of being watched make for more impactful narrative.
Darcy, Elizabeth and other characters like Lydia Wickham and Lady Catherine de Bourgh maintain some of their original traits and charms, but I had a hard time getting through the sickly sweet nature of the Darcy-Elizabeth dialogue. I find it hard to believe that someone as headstrong as Elizabeth, someone who cares so much about her family and their safety, could be so easily distracted from the atmosphere of fear and literal murder with a few kisses from her husband.
While Jeffers did successfully build suspense at some moments and create an environment of suspicion and fear among the characters, overall this book was not one of my favorites. Some of Jeffers’ new characters were interesting and well-developed, but the original cast—Darcy, Georgiana, Elizabeth etc.—seemed more like vague caricatures of themselves.
There’s a lot of overt exposition, mainly callbacks to scenes from the original P&P or even full excerpts, that really take you out of the story.
This gets 3/5 stars mostly because the writing at least kept me curious enough to finish the book, and I did like portions of the big answer.