In A Presumption of Death, Jill Paton Walsh tells how World War II changed the lives of Peter, Harriet and their growing family. The story opens in 1940. Harriet Vane - now Lady Peter Wimsey - has taken her children to safety in the country. But the war has followed them: glamorous RAF pilots and even more glamorous land-girls scandalise the ...
In A Presumption of Death, Jill Paton Walsh tells how World War II changed the lives of Peter, Harriet and their growing family. The story opens in 1940. Harriet Vane - now Lady Peter Wimsey - has taken her children to safety in the country. But the war has followed them: glamorous RAF pilots and even more glamorous land-girls scandalise the villagers; the blackout makes the night-time lanes as sinister as the back alleys of London. Then the village's first air raid practise ends with a very real body on the ground - not a war casualty but a case of plain, old-fashioned murder. And even before the second body is found, Lord Peter Wimsey and his brilliant wife are on their way to finding the killer.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-20 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.
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