P.D. James’ new book—available in the U.S. next month—is Death Comes to Pemberley, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. James makes a good candidate to write such a sequel: she’s a careful student of human nature and social situations, she’s skilled in creating plots that pull the reader forward, and she writes elegant descriptions of place and mood.

Here’s a sentence I liked:

Darkness had come striding over the city, transforming it into a phantasmagoria of light in which the streets and squares shivered into moving necklaces of white, red, and green.

And another:

The game had stimulated her mind and she knew that to go to bed now would only result in one of those nights of alternate restlessness and brief periods of sleep which brought her to the morning more tired than if she had never been to bed.

In this passage, Dalgleish heads out of London to interview the father of the murder victim:

It was dark when he set out and the day lightened into a dry but sunless morning. But as he shook off the last eastern suburbs and drove between the muted colours of the Essex countryside, the grey canopy lightened into a white transparent haze with the promise that the sun might eventually break through. Beyond the cropped hedges spiked with the occasional wind-distracted tree, the ploughed fields of autumn, stippled with the first green shoots of winter wheat, stretched to the far horizon. He felt a sense of liberation under the wide East Anglia sky, as if the weight of an old and familiar burden had been temporarily lifted.