A Presumption of Death (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Series)

( 30 )

Overview

Sixty years after Dorothy L. Sayers began her unfinished Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Thrones Dominations, Booker Prize finalist Jill Paton Walsh took on the challenge of completing the manuscript—with extraordinary success. “The transition is seamless,” said the San Francisco Chronicle; “you cannot tell where Sayers leaves off and Walsh begins.”

“Will Paton Walsh do it again?” wondered Ruth Rendell in London’s Sunday Times. “We must hope so.”

Jill...

See more details below
Paperback (First Edition)
$15.91
BN.com price
(Save 24%)$20.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $11.77   
  • New (6) from $12.98   
  • Used (3) from $11.77   
A Presumption of Death: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Sixty years after Dorothy L. Sayers began her unfinished Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Thrones Dominations, Booker Prize finalist Jill Paton Walsh took on the challenge of completing the manuscript—with extraordinary success. “The transition is seamless,” said the San Francisco Chronicle; “you cannot tell where Sayers leaves off and Walsh begins.”

“Will Paton Walsh do it again?” wondered Ruth Rendell in London’s Sunday Times. “We must hope so.”

Jill Paton Walsh fulfills those hopes in A Presumption of Death. Although Sayers never began another Wimsey novel, she did leave clues. Drawing on “The Wimsey Papers,” in which Sayers showed various members of the family coping with wartime conditions, Walsh has devised an irresistible story set in 1940, at the start of the Blitz in London.

Lord Peter is abroad on secret business for the Foreign Office, while Harriet Vane, now Lady Peter Wimsey, has taken their children to safety in the country. But war has followed them there—-glamorous RAF pilots and even more glamorous land-girls scandalize the villagers, and the blackout makes the nighttime lanes as sinister as the back alleys of London. Daily life reminds them of the war so constantly that, when the village’s first air-raid practice ends with a real body on the ground, it’s almost a shock to hear the doctor declare that it was not enemy action, but plain, old-fashioned murder. Or was it?

At the request of the overstretched local police, Harriet reluctantly agrees to investigate. The mystery that unfolds is every bit as literate, ingenious, and compelling as the best of original Lord Peter Wimsey novels.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Barbara Reynolds
The setting is authentic and the story is gripping, but this is also a serious and committed book.
Publishers Weekly
In her second Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane whodunit, Booker Prize finalist Walsh (Knowledge of Angels) does a far better job of honoring Sayers than she did in their first posthumous collaboration, Thrones, Dominations (1998). Walsh's starting point here is "The Wimsey Papers," a series of letters on home front conditions, ostensibly written by various members of the Wimsey family, which ran in the Spectator at the outset of WWII. Lord Peter himself is offstage for most of the novel, involved in some covert mission in Europe, leaving his wife to take care of their household. When a young Land Girl is found murdered during an air raid, the local superintendent enlists Harriet's aid. Harriet's traditional line of inquiry into possible spurned suitors is diverted when an eccentric and seemingly paranoid dentist discloses that the quiet, ordinary village of Paggleham is actually a nest of German spies. Despite Peter's diminished role, he remains a vital presence throughout, thanks to his place at the center of Harriet's thoughts. Should Walsh have no further original Sayers material to draw on, she seems perfectly suited to continue the series entirely on her own. (Mar. 27) Forecast: Though praised by the likes of Ruth Rendell and Joyce Carol Oates, Thrones, Dominations received mixed notices from Sayers purists. The favorable buzz on this one from the U.K.'s Dorothy L. Sayers Society augurs well for strong sales.
Library Journal
Originally hired to complete an unfinished mystery by Sayers, Walsh has written a completely new Lord Peter Wimsey title. The book supposedly draws upon the Wimsey papers, a charming set of fictional family letters, published by Sayers during World War II. Little is left of the original missives, however; instead, the book is filled with anachronisms, inconsistencies, and tedious flashbacks to events that occurred, and were better described, in Sayers's own titles. A land girl (temporary, female, agricultural worker) has been murdered, but Lord Peter is away on a dangerous military mission, so Lady Peter (Harriet Vane) takes on the investigation. After a second murder, Peter returns and they tidily solve both crimes together. Unfortunately, the Harriet in this work is no longer the reserved, independent, career woman Sayers created but a discontented housewife, with 21st-century class sensibilities and no idea how to interact with the servants. Peter is a pale imitation of his original self, and their manservant, Bunter, is just plain embarrassing. Walsh is a better plotter than Sayers; the characters that she has created from scratch are interesting, and her food rationing scenes are a riot. Just change the names (and the upper-class setting) and this would be a nice "period" mystery. Edward Petherbridge does his best with the material; with his elegant, clear voice, the result is very pleasant. Recommended for large public libraries.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a series of letters to the Spectator over the winter of 1940, Sayers presented members of Lord Peter Wimsey's family discussing such morale-building issues as rationing and leadership. Taking her cue (and a little of her prose) from these hints of how the peerless peer and his connections were spending the months of the phony war, Paton Walsh shows how, while her husband is off fighting the good fight somewhere on the continent, Lady Peter, née Harriet Vane, is so preoccupied down in Hertfordshire with the conduct of the war and her own depleted yet crowded household that she has no interest in writing mysteries. Even so, she's still keeping company with corpses. The latest is promiscuous land-girl Wendy Percival, who failed to emerge from an air-raid shelter during a drill because she was lying dead in the street above, dispatched by someone's bare hands. Harriet's preliminary questioning of the three young men Wicked Wendy kept on a string-bumpkin Jake Datchett, handyman Archie Lugg, and RAF officer John Birdlap-indicates no likely candidate for her killer. But who can the murderer be when practically the entire population of the village was huddled in the shelter beneath the Crown Inn and Archie's father, undertaker Fred Lugg, was watching the street from a tower above? Though the mystery is gossamer-thin, Paton Walsh (Thrones, Dominations, 1998, etc.) provides another Greatest Hits of Wimseydom, complete with family news, an allusive cipher, a dozen deathless village types, and, eventually, the return of Lord Peter to hearth, home, and homicide.
From the Publisher
"Once again Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane and their companions come back to life, vividly evoked by the magic pen of Jill Paton Walsh."-Barbara Reynolds, President of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society

"The real strength of the book is its brilliant evocation of what it was like to live in a countryside torn by war...A Presumption of Death works as a splendid historical mystery as well as a well-grounded continuation of Sayers' popular series."-Rocky Mountain News

"A wonderfully rich mystery...the latest from Walsh will keep readers intrigued until the very last page." -The Tampa Tribune & Times

"Walsh, quite an accomplished writer in her own right, not only brings back the familiar characters but also convincingly envisions how they would have evolved since Thrones, Dominations."-Orlando Sentinel

"The charm and grit of this historical picture make the book an entertaining read."-The Contra Costa Times

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250017444
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Series: Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 82,302
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

JILL PATON WALSH is the author of six novels for adults, one of which, Knowledge of Angels, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Before writing for adults she made a career as a writer of children’s books and has won many literary prizes. In addition she is the author of two crime novels: The Wyndham Case and A Piece of Justice, which was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS, the greatest of the golden age detective novelists, was born in Oxford in 1893. She was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University and worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency from 1921 to 1932. Her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, became one of the most popular fictional heroes of the twentieth century. Dorothy L. Sayers also became famous for her religious plays, notably The Man Born to Be King, which was broadcast controversially during the war years, but she considered her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy to be her best work. She died in 1957.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    Patton Walsh and Sayers: A great team

    I have been a Sayers fan for more years than I care to admit. While I enjoyed Thrones, Dominations, I thought it was not quite Sayers. A Presumption of Death is, however, excellent. I would like to see Patton Walsh try again - with or without help from Sayers. The glimpse of English country life just before the Blitz begins is worth the price of the book. Add the bonus of Harriet and crew and you have a winner.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    powerful amateur sleuth historical tale

    In 1940,the siren testing the warning system goes off in a remote English village. Except for the Methodists, everyone including Harriet Vane, better known as Lady Peter Wimsey, enter the cave used as the air raid shelter. After a long time, the siren finally ends signifying all clear. Everyone leaves the cave only to find the corpse of a Land Girl, ¿Wicked¿ Wendy Percival, lying in the street. Knowing he is already shorthanded due to the war effort and her experience as a crime novelist, Superintendent Kirk asks Harriet to investigate the murder that is clearly not the work of a Nazi. He wants her to perform the role of her spouse Lord Peter, overseas on government work, to make inquiries and report back to him, but not take risks. Reluctantly Harriet begins her investigation starting with the other eight Land Girls, but quickly she finds reality much more complex and stranger than fiction. Using fictional letters that the late great Dorothy L. Sayers wrote in support of the English World war II efforts, Jill Paton Walsh paints a powerful amateur sleuth tale that fans of the Wimsey tales will enjoy and will appreciate the cleverness of the endeavor. The story line insures that the regulars remain true to their known personalities while WW II in a remote village is used to provide the background of a strong who-done-it. Still, this tale belongs to the cast especially Harriet who provides a fine time for series fans and historical mystery readers. Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    As Good As The Original Sayers

    Jill Paton Walsh has captured the spirit of Sayers' characters so well, and brought them into the WWII era. Very entertaining and absorbing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Where did Wimsey go???

    Usually I'd give Lord Peter Wimsey books a 5-star, but this one was different. It is slow with not much mystery involved besides, yes, Wicked Wendy's body was found, whodunit? Trying to figure this out, Harriet is asking around maids and servants and random people whom it tells you absolutely nothing about them. Opposite this, on other things, it tell you too much about things no one cares about much. Yeah, yeah, move on; where's that 4-star awesome everyone was talking about? And besides, why would they try to let Harriet solve the case when obviously this is Lord Peter Wimsey's mystery series, not his novelist wife's! Sure, maybe I would recommend this to a friend because it had a good plot scheme and characters, but not because I like Wimsey figuring things out better. Why did Wimsey have to go on a somewhat "business trip" even though we know it's not, just another mystery the writer won't tell us about? I definitely like his two other books with Harriet Vane and his older series much better. I hope this helped. Overall: good reading literature, but not necessarily the book I am looking for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Highly recommended! Having read the complete series over the ye

    Highly recommended! Having read the complete series over the years, I felt like I Was meeting an old friend. Any one interested in the time period, culture and manners of England btetween the Firsr and Second Worlld Wars should enjoy it. Would make a good book for a discussion group.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    stellar continuation

    Just what Sayers would have written

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Thanks, Jill Patton Walsh

    If you can't get enough of Lord Peter et al, then Jill Patton Walsh's two collaborations with Dorothy Sayers should be on your list. Walsh does a great job with these beloved characters. She is not quite as esoteric and impenetrable as Sayers is at times--the quotes that precede chapters actually make sense to me, whereas Sayers' references are often too oblique or obscure. Readers should know Walsh worked with Sayers' material and was chosen to complete these works by the Sayers estate. This is not just another writer using, say Austen's characters or re-imagining Jane Eyre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Enjoyable Read

    An excellent read. It was good to follow the Wimseys' into the early WWII period (for the UK, circa 1939). J.P. Walsh did an excellent job of finishing the ground work that had been laid by Sayers and did not get to finish. If one likes the period and the previous Wimsey titles, you may want to try this. I am glad that I did.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Sayers-Walsh and Lord Peter

    Honestly... I've just begun reading this book but if it's as enjoyable as the 1st and 3rd then I hope it is the beginning of a great partnership.

    Sayer's Lord Peter should be well known to any mystery reader but I think Walsh does an admirable job of following Sayers style and yet bringing it up to date.

    Again... for any mystery reader, if you've not read any of Walsh's work 'collaboration' with Sayers, you are missing a real treat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2013

    An excellent Lord Peter and Harriet Vane mystery

    A collaboration of DLS and Jill P. Walsh, this story is set in the midst of WWII. A domestic murder case is linked to a military plot which affects both Harriet and Peter and their family. JPW did a fine job in blending her talents to unfinished extracts left by DLS. This is an enjoyable treat following on Thrones, Dominations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Great WWII background woven into the novel.

    A bit too much history, not enough mystery. A bit too much Harriet, not enough Peter. Great for WWII buffs, but if not, not.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)