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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to wallow in.
I have re read this book several times now and also listened to the narration of it - beautifully done by Edward Petherbridge - and it is without doubt one of my favorite books to relax with. The book is based in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of WW2 and Harriet has taken her children and her in-laws children to live at Tallboys, their country farmhouse. Jill Paton...
Published on 1 Nov. 2009 by Mrs. M. R. Quinn

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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable mystery to delight Wimsey fans!
This book is a must for all Wimsey-lovers as we are reunited with Peter and Harriet in the first two years of the Second World War. Peter makes his appearance late in the novel but Harriet is as engaging as ever taking centre stage. Her longng for her husband keeps Lord Peter firmy in the reader's consciousness. He may not appear quite enough for everyone's taste, but...
Published on 25 Oct. 2002


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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable mystery to delight Wimsey fans!, 25 Oct. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Hardcover)
This book is a must for all Wimsey-lovers as we are reunited with Peter and Harriet in the first two years of the Second World War. Peter makes his appearance late in the novel but Harriet is as engaging as ever taking centre stage. Her longng for her husband keeps Lord Peter firmy in the reader's consciousness. He may not appear quite enough for everyone's taste, but his reappearance at all more than makes up for it.
The mystery itself is not particularly thrilling; most of your suspicions or hunches will prove to be right. The book compensates for this with a delightful development of the relationship between Peter and Harriet and with a real sense of period. The fear of the early was years is vividly brought home and the uncertainty felt will strike a chord with society after September 11. This is not enough to make it a great read for those unfamiliar wth Wimsey - the Wimsey uninitiated would be well advised to start elsewhere - but Jill Paton Walsh has tied the book carefully with the Wimsey Papers published in The Spectator in 1939-1940 and sets the stage more clearly for the short story Talboys (in "Striding Folly"). As with Dorothy L Sayers books, the characterisation is endearing.
Jill Paton Walsh may not have produced another work like "Thrones, Dominations", (her completion of Dorothy L Sayers unfinished Wimsey novel) but it is nevertheless an entertaining read which offers some longed for insight into the lives of the Wimseys after their marriage.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to wallow in., 1 Nov. 2009
By 
Mrs. M. R. Quinn (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
I have re read this book several times now and also listened to the narration of it - beautifully done by Edward Petherbridge - and it is without doubt one of my favorite books to relax with. The book is based in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of WW2 and Harriet has taken her children and her in-laws children to live at Tallboys, their country farmhouse. Jill Paton Walsh writes with a very easy style and has the ability to transport you to the era in which it was written through her characters, descriptions of the wartime lifestyles and the relationships that develop. The book is mainly about Harriet Vane, now Lady Peter Wimsey, and how she has settled into the role as Peters wife to the point where she is very comfortable and a lot more confident than she was as a single lady. Harriet is asked to help investigate the murder of a young woman while Peter is abroad working for the government in a covert operation. He appears about 2/3 of the way through book to help solve the murder. I would highly recommend this book to any DLS reader as a very good interpretation of the characters that she invented before she moved onto other things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well thought through addition to the canon, 10 Jan. 2011
By 
Graham R. Hill (Ilkley) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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Jill Paton Walsh has clearly given a lot of thought as to how best to tie this novel back to the body of work left by Wimsey's creator. As well as consistency with Sayers' wartime writings there are both direct links to earlier books (e.g. characters who reappear, Wimsey's clandestine work for the government) and thematic continuations. Despite the setting being the same as for Busman's Honeymoon: A Love Story with Detective Interruptions (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) the main novel echoed is actually Gaudy Night: A Lord Peter Wimsley Mystery (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery), although the crimes in this book are far more serious.

The plot is perhaps not up to the highest standard although I found the reasons given for the involvement of Harriet and then Peter into the investigation of the case to be very neatly contrived as was the introduction of a supposed link to a well known actual case of wartime deception by British Military Intelligence. The biggest hole in the plotting is frankly the location of the wronged woman's brother's RAF posting. I don't care if it was the phony war; it is still rather unlikely. And Wimsey's Dick Turpin like drive to London and back is presumably meant to echo his flight across the Atlantic in aid of his brother's defence in Clouds of Witness: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery, but doesn't quite match its predecessor. Paton Walsh does stay true however to Sayer's belief in the aristocratic right to dispense justice somewhat outside what the law actually says.

One further small point that pleased me at least; the author provides a happy ending for a sympathetic character who was rather badly treated (by other characters and by Sayers) in a previous novel.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Dorothy L Sayers, 4 April 2005
By 
Davywavy2 - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
There is an excerpt of this book on Amazon. You might read it and think "Good heavens, this catches the tone of Sayers perfectly!". Well, of course it does. That's because the excerpt is lifted directly from Sayers' short story "The man who knew how" with just names and a few details changed and then inserted into this new book. The rest of the book doesn't live up to the writing of Sayers by a long chalk and this sort of underhand marketing ploy to make the reader think they're getting something they're not really ticks me off, especially when it is my money that they're taking.
Sayers had a delightful gift for characterisation and dialogue which few authors can manage. Jill Paton Walsh deserves credit for trying, but ultimately the fact that the publishers knew they had to run original Sayers dialogue to promote the book tells the potential buyer all they need to know.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems like a Sayer's collaboration, 7 Oct. 2007
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Hardcover)
This book takes place mainly in a small village in the countryside of England. The time, Wartime England, covering the end of 1939 through early 1940. While the village has its first air-raid practice, a crime is committed. They return to the streets to find a young lady murdered.

Lord Peter Wimbsy is off on a Secret Mission for his country. Leaving the short-handed police to turn to his wife for assistance, Writer and amateur detective Lady Peter Wimsey, known before her marriage as Harriet Vane.

We follow Harriet as she tries to solve this mystery. The story is well woven and just when we figure out who did it, we are thrown a curious twist. The cast of characters in the village makes for a fun read. We are also given a good look at life in England during the early part of World War II.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read, 24 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
Harriet Vane (now Wimsey) has always been one of the delights of the Dorothy L Sayers books and considerably more consistent and believable as a character than Lord Peter - this book focusses on Harriet and is stronger for it. Jill Paton Walsh attempts to resolve the problem of Lord Peter's varying character by having him comment on it and the changes which marriage has brought and he is certainly a nicer, more believable person here (although I still have doubts about all this "secret" work he does !!)
The delight of this book is not the mystery, which is reasonably straightforward, but the background detail of the war time village life and the reintroduction of the characters we already know and changes in their lives. The age is well evoked and the author handles the class issues well. We also get the expected and outrageously funny contributions we have come to expect from the Dowager Duchess.
The resolution of the mystery is clever although it does raise a number of moral points which the novel admits are difficult. The decisions made do feel like those which might well have been made in the circumstances ... whether they are the right ones, is a difficult question and thought provoking.
This novel does not have the air of despair that past Wimsey novels have had or the feeling of fragility in the relationships and concentrates more on issues and character development. It is a good, fun novel which will delight all those who who love and know the characters. I sincerely hope that Jill Paton walsh is considering more ......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful new fix for Wimsey fans!, 8 May 2012
This is a terrific book, set during World War 2. Jill Paton Walsh has caught Sayers tone exactly, but has a lightness of touch that is very engaging. I have long thought that detective novels from 'The Golden Age' were a very valuable source of social history,and this book continues the tradition. Daily life during the war years is immaculately researched and brought to vivid, rather touching life. And of course the ongoing love story of Peter and Harriet is also very attractive.
I loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, 31 Jan. 2011
This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
On the basis of reviews here I decided not to buy the book; partly because it was more about Harriet than Peter, and partly because of the criticism of Jill Paton Walsh's style, but I've now read a friend's copy and I'm glad I did. Perhaps because I wasn't expecting too much, it was a pleasant surprise. That it wasn't written by DLS didn't jump out at me too often though there were a few places where it jarred. I thought the plot wasn't gone into deeply enough - just suddenly they seemed to know what happened, and the fact that this was so and I still enjoyed reading about the characters I already knew must say something good about Jill Paton Walsh's writing. I don't think the plot is good enough to be satisfying to someone not familiar with the characters, and I'm not sure if they are drawn strongly enough - particular Peter, to attract a new reader to then go to the earlier novels. I would give it no more than 3 stars as an independent novel but 4 for giving us something else to read about Peter and Co.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good successor, 11 Jun. 2011
By 
Egomet (Berkshire, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
This novel makes interesting use of material in Dorothy Sayers's own novels, and in 'The Wimsey Papers'. It doesn't read quite like Dorothy Sayers's own writing (nor does 'Thrones and Dominations'), but the characters are faithfully drawn and recognisable, and there are some interesting additions to Dorothy Sayers's cast (e.g. 'Bungo', who appears offstage, as it were, in 'Have His Carcase'). As a lifelong Dorothy Sayers and Peter Wimsey fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not DLS but worth a read, 12 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: A Presumption of Death (Paperback)
Jill made a really good effort with Thrones, Dominations, but this is definitely not as good. The plot is nicely thought through, the settings are good and the characters are well-rounded. Harriet and Peter act as you might expect, and we know a little more about their lives together. But the conversation is all wrong. It's not as clever and witty as DLS, some the language isn't quite right, and everyone makes everything much too obvious and belabours every point. The charm of DLS is somewhat lost along the way, and it's quite obvious where passages from other DLS outputs (letters etc) have been inserted. Overall, worthy of a read, just to keep an eye on how the Wimseys might have turned out, but keep your expectations under control or you'll be sadly disappointed.
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A Presumption of Death
A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh (Paperback - 26 May 2003)
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