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on 18 April 2017
A wonderful book. It describes an era that I lived through, but was too young to understand: the blackout, the rationing, the feeling of something going on outside one's own life. It recalls the happy life of young children, securely away from the areas of conflict and bombing doing and enjoying all the simple pleasures of childhood. The plot could have been written by DLS herself, gripping, complex and clever. Married Harriet is so nice and loveable that I wish she were real. Duke Gerald and his son come out as much nicer people than would be expected in the light of their bitchy wife/mother. I am glad that I was not an adult in 1940. I never missed the pleasures that wartime deprived people of, and this book shows that life continues despite hardship and dietary nightmares. The book is a worthy successor to DLS's original series, and I look forward to reading books three and four, which I have already purchased. If I were allowed, I would give this book six or seven stars.
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on 14 March 2017
I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next story..please read this book as you will enjoy it
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on 22 July 2016
five stars
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on 23 June 2017
Inteligent and thought provoking
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on 20 October 2013
Almost DLS well worth reading . A worthy addition to The Golden Age. Try them all and wallow in nostalgia.
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on 25 October 2002
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 December 2012
I bought this and the other two Paton Walsh novels and I was not disappointed. Sayers is, without doubt, better but these are engaging and entertaining. I'm sorry there are only three.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 December 2015
After the awkward Attenbury Emeralds this is a much better book which returns to Sayer's characters but puts them in 1940. There are nods to Busman's Honeymoon as we are back at Talboys but also poignant differences not least in the absence of Peter for a chunk of the book. The atmosphere of the early war years is done well espevially the run-up to what will become the war over Britain's skies. Altogether a hugely enjoyable read.
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on 31 January 2011
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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on 9 April 2011
A Presumption of Death

Here we have a detective novel in its own right. The second in the Jill Paton Walsh series utilising Sayers, and one which this time doesn't really need to ride on the back of another author's work. A good, well-researched plot and very capable writing. But it shows how wise Sayers was not to write any more about Lord Peter and Harriet Vane after "Busman's Honeymoon", where most of the tension between the couple was resolved by their getting married at last and anything else would have been something of an anticlimax, as here. Sayers had become self-indulgent towards her characters to the extent of being rather too obviously in love with them herself. Walsh presents them in this book as decidedly domestic and wishy-washy. Indeed Lord Peter is largely absent, and it's Vane who is too much in evidence.I would have enjoyed this book more without the two of them, even if it meant the author having to introduce fresh characters and thus a mildly different book.
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