A Presumption of Death (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #2)
Sixty years after Dorothy L. Sayers began her unfinished Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Thrones Dominations, Booker Prize finalist Jill Paton Walsh took on the challenge of completing the manuscript---with extraordinary success. "The transition is seamless," said the San Francisco Chronicle; "you cannot tell where Sayers leaves off and Walsh begins."
"Will Paton Walsh do it again...more
Set in the early days of WW II, this book is an enjoyable, plausible continuation of the Wimsey-Vane marriage post Busman’s Honeymoon, Sayers’ last complete Lord Peter mystery. Walsh created reasonably faithful versions of both the central characters, but somehow was not entirely successful in recreating the spark between them, which for me has always been one of the most delightful aspects of the series since ...more
Another tour de force from Jill Paton Walsh.
I finished this book feeling satisfactorily replete. I really, really like Harriet and Peter. The writing is spare and elegant. The evocation of time and place is spot on. And the storyline is just complex enough to make it interesting.
Lord Peter has moonlighted as a pseudo-diplomat for Her Majesty’s Home Office in several of the novels, but, with the outbreak of the Second World War, he spends more time on the Continent than he does in England. So it is Harriet (now more often called Lad ...more
All in all, this is probably the weakest of the Paton Walsh Wimsey books. Paton Walsh does a reasonable facsimile of Sayers' high-life dialogue, but falls down when it comes to rendering the speech of ordinary people--and this novel puts the Wimseys among the villagers of Paggleham, where Harriet and the children are escaping from the London Blitz while Peter--who, by this time, must be getting a bit geriatric for intelligence work--goes off to Destinations Unk ...more
But unfortunately for me as a Lord Peter Wimsey fan, it seems that Walsh's identification with Harriet means that Lord Peter is being winnowed out of her version of Sayers's stories almost completely.
So once again, as with Walsh's Sayers continuation Thrones, Dominations, we have a solid, competently written bo ...more
The story is set in the early days of the war, Harriet and the children are living in Talboys, Peter is away at the start on intelligence work. One night as the village practices the procedures for an air raid, a Land Girl is murdered. Harriet is asked by the police to help with the investigation.
It is ...more
Walsh, Jill Payton and Dorothy L. Sayers – Last in series (EMBRG Selection)
New English Library Ltd, 2003, US Paperback – ISBN: 978-0340820674
It’s WWII and Lord Peter is away on a mission. Harriet has moved the household to the country for safety. Emerging from shelter after an air-raid, the body of a land-girl is found in the street. It wasn’t bombs that killer her, but a quick lethal physical killing. The local police superintenden ...more
A Presumption of Death is a very fast, satisfying read. I do enjoy Harriet Vane, and Walsh does an almost-seamless job picking up where Sayers left off. The part of the book I thought felt least Sayers-like, the letters (I thought they came off too forced) turns out to be the only part entirely written by Sayers, so that goes to show how much I ...more
The War goes badly. British troops on the Continent are being forced back. With personnel short everywhere, it is slightly less improbable than most mystery stories when the loc ...more
The setting is 1940, and the war is heating up for Britain, with the Battle of Britain and Hitler's attempted invasion looming just ahead with intensity that is very well depicted without being heavy-handed. I could feel the threat of the times these ...more
A really well-developed plot, with great insights into the lives of the different classes of people living through the war in Britain. Well-strewn with red herrings, the ending was a complete surprise.
My only question was whether or not the morse code was deciphered - what messages had been sent?
Definitely worth reading this one!
In 1939/1940 Sayers wrote a series of (what today would be op-ed) pieces for one of the major London papers. They were more “buck-up” pieces using her ‘W ...more
In fact, I was wondering a few days ago (after abandoning "The Late Scholar") who could possibly write Wimsey novels with the same flair, erudition & readability as Sayers. The one & only possibility that came u ...more
The characters aren't Sayers. They're random people with Sayers' character names. The plot is pretty thin, and all the wartime "historical" stuff didn't really add anything.
Pretty disappointing overall. I would not recommend this to a Sayers fan looking for more of the same.
One of my personal interests is learning more about the English homefront during World War II. I find the courage of the English under extremely daunting circumstances to be so inspiring. The novel does a very good job of showing many of the physical change ...more
Jill Paton Walsh has won the Book World Festival Award, 1970, for Fireweed; the Whitbread Prize, 1974 (for a Children's novel) for The Emperor's Winding Sheet; The ...more