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The Attenbury Emeralds (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #3)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,066 Ratings  ·  354 Reviews
In 1936, Dorothy L. Sayers abandoned the last Lord Peter Wimsey detective story. Sixty years later, a brown paper parcel containing a copy of the manuscript was discovered in her agent’s safe in London, and award-winning novelist Jill Paton Walsh was commissioned to complete it. The result of the pairing of Dorothy L. Sayers with Walsh was the international bestseller Thro ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read all of the Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books, I have continued with those written by Jill Paton Walsh. In the two previous novels, she has used writing, or notes, from Sayers herself, but, in this work she steps out on her own. As all fans of Wimsey will know, the Attenbury Emeralds were Lord Peter’s first case, recounted here, to Harriet in 1951, by her husband and Bunter. The case took place during Lord Peter’s first foray into society after WWI, for the engagement party of ...more
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I approached “The Attenbury Emeralds” by Jill Paton Walsh with a great sense of anticipation and eagerness, for I have always shared an affinity with all things “whodunit” and the 1920’s angle further whetted my appetite. I began with a cautious optimism but soon realised I would not be disappointed.

Lord Peter Wimsey was an intelligence officer in the Great War. He returned home shell-shocked, struggling to come to terms with ordering soldiers under his command over the top to a certain death, s
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd previously read the two Dorothy Sayers books which Jill Paton Walsh finished off, and although I enjoyed them I didn't find them very memorable. For me this one, where she has entirely written her own story, is by far the best - it was almost like finding a new Sayers novel. I liked the way she takes the characters on and allows major things to happen to them. The story is set many years after the originals, in the 1950s, with Peter, Harriet and their sons and the Bunter family coming to ter ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jill Paton Walsh has her first chance to write a Lord Peter Wimsey novel completely on her own with The Attenbury Emeralds. With Thrones, Dominations, she was finishing a novel abandoned by Dorothy L. Sayers half-finished, and, with A Presumption of Death, Walsh did yeoman’s work converting The Wimsey Papers into a fine novel. But left to her own devices, Walsh fell very short in the further adventures of Lord Peter and his wife, mystery writer Harriet Vane.

The eponymous Attenbury emeralds, comp
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olga Godim
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
While some writers hate fan fiction based on their writing, others allow it, considering fiction derived from their stories and heroes the best sort of flattery and a good PR. It’s easier to write fan fiction for a long-dead writer – nobody is left to comment. That’s why there is an explosion of new versions of fairy tales, Shakespearean dramas, Greek myths, etc. in modern literature.
This book is fan fiction too, based on Dorothy L. Sayers’ hero Peter Wimsey. It’s authorized by the holders of t
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all three of Jill Paton Walsh's books dealing with Dorothy L. Sayers' detective Lord Peter Wimsey, and I have to say, she gets better with each book. With The Attenbury Emeralds the author did a far better job with the banter and character of not only Lord Peter, but also with his beloved wife, mystery novelist, Harriet Vane and Lord Peter's faithful manservant, Bunter. This book reads much more like a Dorothy L. Sayers book than Jill Paton Walsh's other two Lord Peter books, and in ...more
Renee Wallace
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Differences? Of course there are differences; this author is not Sayers, and that should settle it. But the similarities are what make reading Jill Paton Walsh such a delight; those, plus the differences she herself manages to meld rather seamlessly into the work.

If anything, the most notable difference, to me, is also the most welcome: far fewer obscure citations, quotations, and veiled references. I consider myself of average erudition, but with the advent of Google, a few years back, I found
I was pointed to an article about Jill Paton Walsh’s writing process for her DLS rip-offs – er, pastiches - - er, sequels, and it made me angry realize I hadn’t written a review of this thing.

On the phone from her home in Cambridge, the author, age 76, also said that this is likely to be her only flashback Wimsey novel. “I honestly don’t think Peter is that interesting without Harriet – the only exception being The Nine Tailors, which is such a good book it doesn’t really matter whether he’s got
Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I was prepared to make allowances for the author not being the author who originally created the characters. Dorothy Sayers was erudite and had a great command of the English language, so it would be too much to expect that Ms. Walsh would have the same level of finesse in writing.

The book fails for me in other respects. The first part of the book is taken up with recounting the back-story. This is done by Peter and Bunter telling the story to Harriet while they are sitting in various places: th
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who have never heard of Dorothy Sayers
No disrespect to Ms. Patton Walsh, but I wish she would quit writing these. I love Peter and Harriet so very much that I feel compelled to read. However, I spend most of the time while reading her Sayers continuations yelling things like "That's a contradiction of what she said in Busman's Honeymoon, you idiot!" and "Peter would never DO that!!" at the book. Then things get thrown, I don't finish the book and librarians look at me sternly when I return books with scuffed covers that were lent to ...more
Susan in Perthshire
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
I am always hesitant to read sequels to classics, written by someone totally new, but this one really does work on every level. I really liked the character development and the insights into post war Britain: a time of enormous social upheaval, hardship and suffering across society. The way in which the story of Lord Peter’s first case was unpacked and laid before the reader really was a masterclass in storytelling I thought. I love the relationship between Harriet, Peter and Bunter; Jill Paton ...more
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Lord Peter Wimsey story, based on the characters by Dorothy L. Sayers.

The mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers were the second English language series I discovered, after Agatha Christie. It was also a series suggested to me by my mother, who owned a few of he books and happily provided me with the ones I didn't have.
The fact that they came so highly recommended by my mother, is only one of the reasons I like the books and the characters so much. Another reason is that Mrs. Sayers wrote good my
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I loved how this one started out, but then it seemed that Paton Walsh lost her way towards the end. I didn't mind too much though, because Peter and Harriet were still fairly true to character and they were the reason I wanted to read the book anyway.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
I won this book through Goodreads giveaways. Thank you! I had only read one of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey books (Murder Must Advertise) and it was a couple of years ago, so I decided to read the one other book I had at the house in the series prior to reading this one. It was Gaudy Night and it was a long, but very good story. And as I am not very familiar with the series, I'm not sure how deeply some of her earlier stories go into Harriet and Peter's relationship, but Gaudy Night is ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in 1921 the return of the missing Attenbury Emeralds was Lord Peter Wimsey's first case. Reference was made to the case over the years in Dorothy L Sayers' mysteries but until now we didn't know the whole story. And quite a story it is.

This story, which takes place in 1951, is another which entails restoring the king stone of the Attenbury emeralds to the family, which badly needs the stone in order to pay death duties, which the Labor government after the war raised to prohibitive rates. (
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tea-cozy-mystery
As an American fan of Lord Peter Wimsey, I was all aflutter when I read (on Edward Petherbridge's website) about the release of Jill Paton Walsh's newest update on the Wimsey line. I decided I should not have to wait until the USA release and, so, ordered it from Amazon UK. Initially, I thought I'd be disappointed when I realized the story was to be told in recollections. However, by the time I'd finished the first disc, I had renewed my love affair with Wimsey and Bunter and their circle. Of co ...more
Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for this "first reads" win.

Having never read any of the books by Dorthy L. Sayers or Jill Patton Walsh I approached this book as an outsider with no background knowledge of the characters or style of writing, so I was a little hesitant when I began. Although the first couple chapters were slow, probably because of the long cast of characters, it immediatly picked up with an excellent mystery that in itself would make the book worth reading. The highlight
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Felisa Rosa
Shelves: mystery
After being very disappointed with A Presumption of Death, I never planned to read any of Jill Paton Walsh's Peter Wimsey books. However, after seeing a positive mention of this one from a goodreads (and real life) friend, I decided to give this author another chance. I am glad I did.

This time I opened the book just looking for a good mystery taking place in the world Dorothy Sayers describes. Jill Paton Walsh is not Dorothy Sayers. Her characters seem different somehow. But just take them for
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I actually liked this one far better than her prior Lord Peter books (which isn't saying much- I rather loathed Thrones, Dominations and A Presumption of Death).

One of my biggest complaints about JPW's earlier Lord Peter Wimsey books was the fact that it was excruciatingly obvious that they were being written by a modern author, who really didn't quite understand where Sayers and her characters were coming from. By setting the main action in 1951 (and thus, closer to modern times and modern sens
Mary Frances
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was torn between 3 and 4 stars, and finally decided on 4 because I am happy to have Peter and Harriet at all, even with limitations. This is a quirky books- almost the entire book is exposition, with Peter and Bunter telling Harriet about a case that happened in the early 20s. The present in the book is 1951. I enjoyed the book nonetheless but it was an odd choice. It is also the first book Walsh claimed as sole author without a credit to Sayers, and I will say that the lack of Sayer's plottin ...more
Rose Ann
Jan 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The problem with these Lord Peter books written by Jill Paton-Walsh (this is the 3rd) is that I keep expecting them to be just as good as the originals by Dorothy L. Sayers. They are not, and I am bitterly disappointed every time. I suppose it's not really JPW's fault that she's not Dorothy Sayers, and that her Lord Peter and Harriet and Bunter are not as engaging as the originals. And she doesn't write as well as DLS. Oh well. I guess I'll re-read "The Nine Tailors" now to satisfy the Lord Pete ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly seamless voice inherited from Dorothy L. Sayers, but I found it a bit heavy handed with allusions to "Dorothy L. Sayers" and "Virginia Woolf."

I regret the whole transition to Harriet and Lord Peter becoming parents; it makes me cringe. I did like the way the death of Gerald was handled, and their installation as the new Duke and Duchess. But for my money, I wish the series had never progressed to WWII; I would have preferred them to remain timeless between the two wars. So speaks this Fan
Jane Jago
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just could not put this down. It's a tribute to Jill Paton Walsh that she could take Dorothy Sayers' fulky fledged characters and write them a new story without missing a beat. The feel of the piece is faultless capturing period and characters faultlessly.

Katharine Ott
"The Attenbury Emeralds" - written by Jill Paton Walsh and published in 2010 by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St Martin's Press. The Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane sleuth duo was created by the acclaimed author Dorothy Sayers in the 1920s and 30s and has been resurrected by Walsh, this being the third in the series. This was a comfortable murder mystery highlighting the messy lives of the nobility and Britain's awful experiences in World War II. The charming banter between Peter and Harriet ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished listening to this on my Christmas ipod, requested for just this purpose! We had a half day due to a storm, so I hastened home and tucked in (after a chilly run, just to make it more deserved) to listen and knit. Heaven!

My enjoyment of this book grew as I figured out more about it. I bought it essentially blind, having loved all the other Wimseys and the Sayers/Paton Walsh combos, so I just hit "purchase" and "download" and there we went. I knew it was a retelling of Peter's first
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books have helped me define why it is I like some mystery books and not other. I like "mystery." I do not like "thrillers," "drama," or "suspense" novels. I enjoy the challenge of solving a problem with logic, I love the characters and the background, and the eye for detail. I don't necessarily enjoy the violent crime, pain, and ugliness that is often present in such staggering quantities in modern-day mystery novels. So I suppose, more precisely, I enjoy historical fiction mystery novels. ...more
Actually 3.5 stars would be better.

I won this book thru the Giveaways program; thanks very much! It was one I particularly wanted.

This book is set in the later years of the Wimsey's lives; their children are well into their Eton years; Bunter still functions as the perfect man servant, but occasionally dines at the Wimsey's table with his wife; Peter still collects old books; Harriet still writes. Helen is still a pain in the rear.

The mystery portion of the book, particularly in the later part,
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was far better than I expected. 60% of the enjoyment is just spending time with Harriet, Lord Peter, and Bunter again. The mystery itself is not difficult to guess and fairly convoluted. A touch of the Five Red Herrings and Have His Carcass about it - although there are no deadly train schedules or word cypher segments - but this does feel more mechanical than organic.
To read the prequel of Lord Peter and to learn how his and Harriet's married life ended up .... is pretty sweet for a dieha
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Reading the Detec...: The Attenbury Emeralds 60 33 Apr 20, 2017 12:37PM  
Reading the Detec...: The Attenbury Emeralds - SPOILER thread 13 18 Mar 23, 2017 11:23PM  
  • Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #1)
  • Death by Water (Phryne Fisher, #15)
  • The Listening Eye (Miss Silver, #28)
  • To Davy Jones Below (Daisy Dalrymple, #9)
  • A Christmas Odyssey (Christmas Stories, #8)
  • Nemesis  (Marcus Didius Falco, #20)
  • To Love and Be Wise (Inspector Alan Grant, #4)
  • Last Ditch (Roderick Alleyn, #29)
Jill Paton Walsh was born Gillian Bliss in London on April 29th, 1937. She was educated at St. Michael's Convent, North Finchley, and at St. Anne's College, Oxford. From 1959 to 1962 she taught English at Enfield Girls' Grammar School.

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 about Jill Paton Walsh...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane (4 books)
  • Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #1)
  • A Presumption of Death (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane, #2)
  • The Late Scholar (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane, #4)

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“Bunter came with me in the role of a friend. A role he has always played to perfection."
"It does not require dissimulation, my lord," said Bunter.
"Thank you," said Peter.”
“Granted, a man may smile and smile and be a villain, but it takes nerve.” 1 likes
More quotes…