I've just read P D James's Death Comes to Pemberley (Faber & Faber, £18.99). The story is accomplished and witty, naturally, but to see James's sensibility at work on the character of Jane Austen is a wonderful treat. I find the merging of these two women of literature from such different ages to be totally intriguing. I also glanced again at Edward St Aubyn's At Last (Picador, £16.99). Whether or not this is the final one in his sequence, it is such a stylish flourish. And Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: a Life (Viking, £30) is clear, fresh and illuminating - as often authors are not about private passions.