A Presumption of Death

A Presumption of Death

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
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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?" wondered Ruth Rendell in London's "Sunday Times." "We must hope so."
Jill Paton Walsh fulfills those hopes in "A Presumption of Death." Although Sayers never began another Wimsey novel, she did leave clues. Drawing on "The Wimsey Papers," in which Sayers showed various members of the family coping with wartime conditions, Walsh has devised an irresistible story set in 1940, at the start of the Blitz in London.
Lord Peter is abroad on secret business for the Foreign Office, while Harriet Vane, now Lady Peter Wimsey, has taken their children to safety in the country. But war has followed them there---glamorous RAF pilots and even more glamorous land-girls scandalize the villagers, and the blackout makes the nighttime lanes as sinister as the back alleys of London. Daily life reminds them of the war so constantly that, when the village's first air-raid practice ends with a real body on the ground, it's almost a shock to hear the doctor declare that it was not enemy action, but plain, old-fashioned murder. Or was it?
At the request of the overstretched local police, Harriet reluctantly agrees to investigate. The mystery that unfolds is every bit as literate, ingenious, and compelling as the best of original Lord Peter Wimsey novels.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2003
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312291006
0312291000
Characteristics: 378 p. ; 25 cm

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m
maipenrai
Nov 27, 2016

The second book in the Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane series

m
miaone
Jun 03, 2014

A delightful, absorbing book about the Wimsey tribe taking shelter in the country from the horrors raining down from London's skies. Naturally, the war follows them to the country and a horror does, indeed, rain down.
But Harriet and Peter are up to the challenge, though not until the reader becomes more acquainted with the Wimsey tribe including Harriet's and Peter's children.
Jill Paton Walsh again did a superb job of capturing the spirit and character of a Sayers' mystery. And I must add that erudite verbal banter is a hallmark of all Sayers' novels and the Wimsey character; readers who love Sayers expect it.

EuSei Oct 22, 2012

Book # 13 of the series, that was written based upon manuscript by Dorothy Sayers, the creator of charming Lord Peter Wimsey. Paton Walsh definitely is not Dorothy L. Sayers, but she does a very good job at bringing Lord and Lady Wimsey to life again. I think this book was better than her prior, Thrones, Dominations, that was written from notes and a half written novel by Sayers. I can't wait to read the next ones: The Attenburry Emeralds and The Late Scholar.

e
EmilyEm
Jun 27, 2011

A lot of complications in this one. How will Peter and Harriet figure it out? The book also uses some of Dorothy Sayers own WWII writing to augment this story in the time of the Blitz.

k
kalio
Aug 03, 2010

Author Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was one of the Queens of Crime during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the 1930s and 40s. Her detective of choice was dapper aristocrat Lord Peter Wimsey. The last Wimsey story was published in 1942, but Sayers left a few other tantalizing bits and pieces behind. One of these, ?The Wimsey Papers,? is a series of fictional letters to and from members of the Wimsey family that Sayers penned in 1940. In 2003, mystery writer Jill Paton Walsh filled out the details and wrote A Presumption of Death. Lord Peter is offstage most of the novel on a hush-hush government mission, but he is never out of his brainy wife Harriet?s thoughts. And Harriet has a lot on her mind during this winter of 1939?an estate to manage, children to raise, and a war to get ready for. Even more worrisome, a young woman is found murdered in the street during an air raid drill. Since the local police are already overwhelmed by war-time preparations, Harriet is asked to fill in and solve the crime. But everyone knows that the usual rules no longer apply when bombs may soon be falling in their own backyards. Walsh writes with a mastery that equally conveys a compelling murder mystery, the gossipy life of a small village town, and the harsh realities that everyday people faced while the Blitz was hot on their heels. Though they are well worth reading, there?s no need to be familiar with Sayers? previous novels to enjoy this mysterious, historical slice of British life.

d
DavidSSmith
Jan 10, 2010

Very "Wimseycal", however a bit overdone with the clever wordiness.

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