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on 1 January 2013
As a DLS fan I was delighted to come across this book. I had read Presumption of Death and Thrones and Denominations and found them reasonably faithful to the DLS style. however I found the Attenbury Emeralds very disappointing. The complex dynamics and intense relationships between the characters were missing and the plot was torturous and uninspiring in my opinion.

Having read and reread with great pleasure the trials and tribulations of Peter and Harriet, the relationship between Bunter and the couple, the wit, humour and intellect shown by all the major characters as presented by DLS, I was very disappointed by the cardboard characters and dull dialogue found in this book.

I would have expected Peter Wimsey to make much more of inheriting the Dukedom with the roles and responsibilities surrounding it, than the few lines given up to it in the book. It can be argued that this was incidental to the plot, however as Peter Wimsey, written by DLS, was an extremely complex character who took his responsibilities very seriously I suspect that she would have made more of this development, building it into all the characters.

I hope this will be the last attempt to continue this saga. DLS exhibits a light touch and the ability to give these well
loved characters a dimension which allows them to leap off the page into the readers imagination, unfortunately I think that is missing in this book.
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on 24 March 2014
If you enjoy detective stories you may like this. If you are reading it as a fan of D.L.Sayers and the Wimsey, Harriet, Bunter triangle then it may disapoint. I didn't find plot interesting enough, the characters seemed too similar to each other and there was very little about Harriet and Peter's (let alone Bunter and Mrs. Bunter's) inner lives. In the DLS books the characters had there own lives and as much in love as Harriet and Peter were ,there were always differences in the way they spoke, thought and acted. In comparison these characters seem like cardboard cut-outs. If you lifted some dialogue out of the page I suspect you'd find it difficult to work out who was talking. Lord Peter has gone very soft and pc in his old age, made me feel quite nauseated. Without spoiling anything there were a few obvious loose ends left hanging. I was disapointed. This is not even close to 'Thrones and Dominations' which was a good read. After this one I may stick to the original stories, there's no point hanging on for more news about H&P if you don't recognise them.
However it's not a bad story and I was interested to find out what happened. But I do miss Harriet and
Peter :-(
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on 9 December 2013
I know others disagree, but I found this a wonderful novel. It takes us on a magnificent journey from Lord Peter's emergence from the Great War (with shell shock) to the early 1950s, when he is a Duke with a perfect wife and three sons. In a delightfully gentle way it describes the changing fortunes of the English aristocracy over those turbulent thirty or so years. Lord Peter himself comes through it all pretty well unscathed (mostly due to the excellent Freddy and his sound financial advice). But other great families face financial crisis after financial crisis.

At last we are told the story of the Attenbury emerald (and the diamonds as well). Lord Peter's first case, often referred to in other books, is finally explained to us. But it is a case which goes on and on. Just as we think all is revealed about the original loss of the emerald, a few years later the diamonds disappear and Lord Peter works his magic again. Now, in the early 1950s, the emerald has again become a mystery. And this time there seem to be murders as well as fraud and theft. Lord Peter is called on to investigate.

I read this after (I should have read it before) reading The Late Scholar (the author's most recent Lord Peter Wimsey story). I very much enjoyed The Late Scholar, but I have to say that I think this book even better. I suppose it was the portrayal of the characters over such a long period which I found so compelling. True, it was not always easy to keep up with all those characters. The author is a little slap dash in her use of their titles. Why, for instance, does the Marchioness of Writtle, who began life as Lady Diana Abcock, suddenly revert, just as we have got used to her being a Marchioness, to being called Lady Diana? It is not as if she was another Lady Diana Cooper, who preferred to keep that title on the grounds that being a Duke's daughter was grander than being a Viscount's wife: being a Marchioness is definitely grander than being an Earl's daughter. But, never mind. The problems are not insuperable to the reader.

I do hope there will be more to come. There is certainly scope for building on the characters of Wimsey's sons and Bunter's son. I would love to see how the family copes with the rest of the 1950s and the 1960s.

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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 21 October 2014
Slightly disappointing - mainly because her first 'Sayers' book 'Thrones and Dominations' was so very good. The story has a tendency to meander quite a bit and almost gives the impression that it's main function is really the 'back story' of how Peter and Harriet have settled into their later life, their growing children and what happens regarding the ducal succession. The increasingly anachronistic position of the ineffable Bunter is another aspect which hampers our ability to suspend disbelief - and what has become of his brother Mervyn (butler)?
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I have read this and the two previous "sequels" and found this the least of the three. Various sensational family revelations occur, and in these JPW is true to the expressed DLS intentions by and large, though perhaps not the fire? I found that the book got better the further from the main characters it was - I preferred JPW writing without the inhibitions imposed by using someone else's characters. What really spoilt it for me though was the focus on the aristocracy without the necessary knowledge. Lord Peter is the son of a Duke and of an ancient lineage - he would automatically use the correct title. To hear him address Diana, Dowager Marchioness of Writtle as "Lady Diana" wrecked any attempt at belief that this was the real Lord Peter, who would call her either "Diana" or more formally "Lady Writtle". The Attenbury titles are also inconsistent. (DLS's characters wouldn't always get titles right but only when they might reasonably be expected not to get them right.) Good editing should have picked this up but then good editing is rapidly disappearing.
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on 29 October 2017
Not a bad attempt by Jill Paton Walsh to keep alive the world of Lord Peter Wimsey, but perhaps it is a little too wordy. One is more interested in the characters than in the plot. Dorothy L. Sayers in her lifetime would have written it better.
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on 26 October 2017
It is very difficult to take another writers characters and write in the style of that author. The plot is good and worked out well and Dorothy Sayers would approve, but the style is too mannered and like all historical novels, it suffers from being written from a 21st century perspective. When Dorothy Sayers wrote her Peter Wimsey novels, she was writing contemporary novels.
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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 17 September 2013
Jill Paton Walsh does a very good job here of copying Dorothy L. Sayers' tone. This could certainly pass for one of her books if one didn't know. An interesting mystery and also nice to see a continuation of the Lord Peter Wimsey / Harriet Vane story into older age, established marriage, and the prospect of taking on the roles of Duke and Duchess of Denver.
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