A Presumption of Death: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery

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St. Martin's Publishing Group, Apr 1, 2007 - Fiction - 384 pages

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.

 

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Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
19
Section 3
41
Section 4
61
Section 5
83
Section 6
123
Section 7
199
Section 8
211
Section 11
299
Section 12
317
Section 13
335
Section 14
355
Section 15
373
Section 16
375
Section 17
377
Section 18

Section 9
269
Section 10
285

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About the author (2007)

JILL PATON WALSH is the author of several novels for adults, one of which, Knowledge of Angels, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She also writes the Imogen Quy mysteries. Before writing for adults, she won several awards for her children’s books.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS (1983-1957), the greatest of the golden age detective novelists, was one of the first women to be awarded a degree by Oxford University. Her aristocratic detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, became one of the most popular fictional heroes of the twentieth century, but she considered her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy to be her best work.

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