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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Having read all of the Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books, I have continued with those written by Jill Paton Walsh. In the two previous novels, she has used writing, or notes, from Sayers herself, but, in this work she steps out on her own. As all fans of Wimsey will know, the Attenbury Emeralds were Lord Peter’s first case, recounted here, to Harriet in 1951, by her husband and Bunter. The case took place during Lord Peter’s first foray into society after WWI, for the engagement party of Lord Attenbury’s daughter and was felt, by Bunter, to be a safe outing for the still fragile Wimsey. His old friend, Freddy Arbuthnot, is also a house guest, along with other friends and family.

During the house party, Lady Charlotte is to wear the famous Attenbury emeralds, when a man turns up, attempting to buy back the largest jewel for the Maharaja of Sinorabad. Later, the jewel goes missing – enter Sugg and also Charles Parker, for the first time. Of course, Lord Peter famously discovered the missing emerald and embarked on the hobby of detecting. However, the novel then continues with a later story concerning the emeralds, as well as a story set in the novel’s present time – as the current Lord Attembury asks for Peter’s help to clarify whether the emerald currently held in the bank is really his.

At this point, the novel embarks on a rather confusing tale of missing, or possibly switched, emeralds, theft, revenge and murder. Along the way, there is a side story concerning the family seat of Duke’s Denver (along with the massive taxes the aristocracy faced after the war) and Paton Walsh cleverly draws parallels between characters in the story of the Attenbury Emeralds and how Harriet has been treated by some members of Lord Peter’s class; notably Gerald’s wife, Helen.

In some ways this is a confusing novel, attempting to cram in every reference to the Attenbury Emeralds, possibly to the detriment of the whole story. However, the author keeps sympathy with her characters and touches on many of the themes that Sayers wrote about in her books – Lord Peter’s regret at the might of the Law being brought against those he proves to be guilty, for instance. Overall, a good read which is almost seamless from the original and brings the characters believably into a more modern age. I will certainly read on.
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on 15 April 2017
This book really disappointed me.

I was looking forward to the prequel of how the Attenbury emerald mystery was solved, but the writing style of the first half with it's first person recollection of events in the past told by Wimsey and Bunter felt clumsy and not like a Sayers novel. When events moved to the present and later events befalling the emeralds, the style felt more familiar, though I did notice that the characters tended to quote from books that would probably still be familiar to modern readers (eg. Pooh bear and Alice in Wonderland) rather than Sayers wider range. (you may regard this as a good or bad thing depending on your preference)

The solution to the plot relied on a horrendous number of coincidences, which I guess I can't really complain about given that Sayers was almost as guilty in Clouds of Witness....

However, I'm not currently inspired to try any more of Paton Walsh's Wimsey novels.
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on 5 June 2017
it is a pity that the author who loves the twenties era with the contrast of the English nobility still clinging to the spoils of conquest in India and the Indian Maharajas trying to recover their jewels. The author has done a lot of work trying to concoct the mystery of the missing jewellery and has thrown in a few dead bodies on the way to the solution but the subject of missing jewels from India cannot be attractive for a multiracial society.
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on 21 April 2017
...But not well integrated. The story of the fire at Bredon Hall and the death of Duke Gerald, does not marry well with the not very credible story of the three emeralds. We gain new insight into the lives of the Wimsey family and their facing up to reduced circumstances and postwar austerity. I find it much more difficult to believe that DLS would have approved of this book than of the three preceding books.
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on 26 May 2017
This author captures the true essence of Dorothy L Sayers -Fans will not be disapointed
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on 14 March 2017
Brilliant read
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on 16 September 2017
It is just like reading the original 'Lord Peter Wimsey' books
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on 15 March 2017
Dear lord Peter and Harriet ,not forgetting Bunter! The world has changed ,families have grown up and developed their own characters .but they still delight the reader.
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on 26 April 2017
Enjoyed but a little to long winded.
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on 28 May 2017
Readable but perhaps over-complicated.
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