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A Presumption of Death: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery Paperback


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A Presumption of Death: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery + The Attenbury Emeralds: The New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries with Harriet Vane) + Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey / Harriet Vane Mystery)
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Product Details

  • Series: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250017440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250017444
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JILL PATON WALSH is the author of six novels for adults, one of which, Knowledge of Angels, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Before writing for adults she made a career as a writer of children’s books and has won many literary prizes. In addition she is the author of two crime novels: The Wyndham Case and A Piece of Justice, which was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS, the greatest of the golden age detective novelists, was born in Oxford in 1893. She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University and worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency from 1921 to 1932. Her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, became one of the most popular fictional heroes of the twentieth century. Dorothy L. Sayers also became famous for her religious plays, notably The Man Born to Be King, which was broadcast controversially during the war years, but she considered her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy to be her best work. She died in 1957.

More About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was a playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries, best known for her books starring the gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Born in Oxford, England, Sayers, whose father was a reverend, grew up in the Bluntisham rectory and won a scholarship to Oxford University where she studied modern languages and worked at the publishing house Blackwell's, which published her first book of poetry in 1916.

Years later, working as an advertising copywriter, Sayers began work on Whose Body?, a mystery novel featuring dapper detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Over the next two decades, Sayers published ten more Wimsey novels and several short stories, crafting a character whose complexity was unusual for the mystery novels of the time.

In 1936, Sayers brought Lord Peter Wimsey to the stage in a production of Busman's Honeymoon, a story which she would publish as a novel the following year. The play was so successful that she gave up mystery writing to focus on the stage, producing a series of religious works culminating in The Man Born to Be King (1941) a radio drama about the life of Jesus.

She also wrote theological essays and criticism during and after World War II, and in 1949 published the first volume of a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (which she considered to be her best work).

Dorothy Sayers died of a heart attack in 1957.

Customer Reviews

Once the word "Fib" is used or other modern usage and words you know it isn't Sayers.
JoAnne McCarthy
Jill Paton Walsh does a remarkably fine job of recreating Lord Peter and his Harriet, this time in WW II London.
alice p pyle
The characters are true to the original, the style is brisk and witty, and the background is authentic.
Fleeta Cunningham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte A. Moore on May 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think this is probably a good book, but there are so many typos, several per page, plus funny spacing, in the Kindle version that it is distracting. It seems to have been scanned and not proofed, and in a few places it's incoherent. I recommend buying the print version.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By janeinmia on May 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book without getting a sample because I was leaving the country and needed to load up on books for my trip. What a mistake as the book turned out to be unreadable due to all kinds of random punctuation marks and other formatting errors. I never got past the first few pages.

I often see errors on Kindle that I wonder about -- were they in the print version, too? But this time I feel pretty sure the problems came with the transition to digital.

Hey, amazon, how about cleaning up messes like this?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Angela Mitchell VINE VOICE on August 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read somewhere that Jill Paton Walsh was such a fan of Harriet Vane's that "Gaudy Night" inspired her to attend Oxford.

That's a wonderful little detail, and I love hearing stuff like that. 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 "Thrones, Dominations," we have a solid, competently written book that doesn't feel much like part of the "Lord Peter" series except in name only. Most of the book takes place in WWII England, at Talboys (Harriet's childhood home, and the setting of "Busman's Honeymoon"), and Peter is absent for most of the book, off on mysterious wartime missions.

I really felt like this Harriet-centric narrative device was a mistake. We're left with Harriet's rather straightforward, plainer personality, and without even a little of the Wimsey sparkle, the book drags for long sections. The only relief is a surprisingly enjoyable portrait of Bunter, whose character is believably expanded and who is one of the book's bright spots. But nobody else really feels like themselves. Harriet is more humorless than ever, Kirk and Twitterton are both rather grim and seem to return just for fan-service (and they're completely unlike their "Busman's Honeymoon" selves).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Marsella on August 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jill Paton-Walsh is a good writer. She shows us what life was like during the Blitz in WWII, and uses the Sayers characters effectively to do it. I was absorbed in the story, and learned a few things about that period in history. I do not, however, hear Dorothy Sayers' voice in this writing very much at all. Yes, Paton-Walsh uses the same sentence structure here and there, outright quoting from Sayers' books frequently, but those are just echoes; Sayers never repeated herself like that. Neither would Sayers have written such a trite reunion scene when Lord Peter returns safely from the war, nor would she have kept up with the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" lines about their bedroom activities - Sayers was at once more circumspect and more eloquent. I suspect Thrones, Dominations (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) (which Paton-Walsh also wrote) must have started from more complete notes, because Sayer's voice comes through in that novel in more detail.

In short, not bad, and worth a read, but only a footnote to the Wimsey canon.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JoAnne McCarthy on September 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is full of information about England during the war years. For that reason it is interesting and the mystery involved although predictable hangs together.
I wish the author had paid more attention to Sayers' stories like "Tallboys" however. She may have thereby avoided the numerous errors about characters. Roger is the second son of Peter Wimsey not Paul as this book contends. Also Mrs Thorp was the housekeeper not the Cook. Also the fighter pilot Jerry Wimsey is the childrens' cousin not their uncle. The Duke Gerald is their uncle.
The dialogue simply can not live up to Sayers. Once the word "Fib" is used or other modern usage and words you know it isn't Sayers. Peter and Harriet are simply too direct about their feelings and too obvious --there is very little that is subtle in the characters interactions or speech. This subtlety is a hallmark of the true Sayers to me.
it would be a fine book and get more stars if one had never read any by Dorothy Sayers
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sadly, the language isn't on par with original Sayers. Unfortunate lack of wit. The ubiquitous and traditional use of quotations at the start of each chapter are facile and banal, not the bright, sparkling ones seen in the original stories.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Berg on October 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Fan fiction that did not need to be published. Sayers wrote a lot of books and short stories, and there is no reason to pretend she's whispering in your ear giving you these 'insights'. Make up your own characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookie on April 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, it got much better as it went on. In the beginning I can't say I saw anything to connect it with Dorothy Sayers other than the names of the characters. However, the letters were much more in the voice of the originals and somewhere around the middle the Wimseys became more themselves. The background and descriptions of wartime England were compelling. I ended up liking it and intend to read the next one.
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