Most helpful critical review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
doesn't match the brilliance of the originals
on 25 December 2014
Peter and Harriet, or, to give them their current titles, the Duke and Duchess of Denver, travel back to Oxford. This time, it’s to St. Severing College, where Peter has inherited the job of Visitor, and has been asked to settle a dispute causing division within the College.
There are many little links and references put in to their earlier Oxford adventure, Gaudy Night. Some of them just don’t ring true. For example, when Harriet visits some of her old friends in Shrewsbury College, she is asked how St. George is doing, and she has to explain. But surely, given they know Peter is now Duke, yet they knew St. George was previously heir to the title, they must realise what that means?
However, the real problem with all the little references is they feel forced. They aren’t just background, but plunked down determinedly. Rather than providing a depth of history, they seem to scream, “Notice! This really is a Peter and Harriet novel!”
And it’s worse that that. The murders that start happening seem to be based on Peter’s old cases, and Harriet’s books. This level of self reference might have worked well, if made sufficiently complex, but here falls flat: not enough is made of them.
All in all, these “later Wimseys” try hard, but don’t match the brilliance of the originals.