Book Review: "Pride and Prejudice" Meets Murder Mystery

A high-profile murder has shocked Regency-era London in this re-telling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Tirzah Price has taken Austen’s classic enemies to lovers’ story and made it into something entirely new in “Pride and Premeditation.” Lizzie Bennet is a young, aspiring lawyer and sees this recent murder as an opportunity to prove she is worthy of a position at her father’s firm, Longbourn & Sons. Although she faces some meddling from Mr. Darcy, heir to the high-ranking firm Pemberley Associates, Lizzie is determined to prove the authorities have the wrong man by solving the murder herself. Along the way, we meet characters from Austen’s novel like Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins, the esteemed Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Wickham and many more. Lizzie will also have to examine her own feelings for Mr. Darcy, as if solving a murder wasn’t already hard enough.

I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. “Pride and Prejudice" is one of my all-time favorites, so I was wary about reading a retelling. I feel somewhat protective over the story and characters of Austen’s novel, and I did not know what I would think of an author writing about them. However, Price does a fantastic job staying true to the characters. In fact, I thought she even improved the way I look at them.

Take our heroine, Lizzie Bennet, for example. Price stays true to her headstrong, intelligent and at times prideful disposition, but also makes Lizzie more of a feminist role model. Lizzie’s dream is to present a case in court at a time when women were only allowed to serve as witnesses in the court room (keep in mind this is the early 19th century). Nearly every person in England, including her mother at times, is telling her that her dream will never come to fruition. However, this does not stop Lizzie from trying. She knows what she wants and knows that with enough hard work, she can get there. She sees no reason why her sex should stop her from her true calling. 

I also enjoyed that this book did not stray too far from Austen’s plot. Price is able to tie in bigger “Pride and Prejudice,” plot points even though her book is following a whodunit storyline. Price was also able to incorporate some iconic Austen quotes that “Pride and Prejudice” fans will get a real kick out of reading. Price also makes sure the story never reaches a stalemate. She keeps the plot fast paced and exciting, so the reader never becomes bored with it. It has the classic quality of a whodunit where you just can’t wait to turn to the next page. 

I strongly recommend “Pride and Prejudice” fans give this book a read. I would also say that people who claim to abhor Austen’s writing read it too. The language is much easier to read, but the characters and plot are true to the book it is based off. 

“Pride and Premeditation" is only the beginning for Price, as she plans to release more Jane Austen inspired murder mysteries. She has a “Sense and Sensibility” retelling called “Sense and Second-Degree Murder” coming Spring 2022, and a “Mansfield Park” retelling called “Manslaughter Park” coming Spring 2023.