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The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh

I enjoy Dorothy Sayer's novels about Lord Peter Wimsey and was willing to try out a writer continuing the series, but this one didn't really work for 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.

If anyone wants a free paperback copy, just ask.
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2017 02:29 pm (UTC)
I read her "Thrones and Dominations" some years ago and felt much the same as you. I decided that some of the dissatisfaction came from Sayers writing as a contemporary and so didn't feel the need to spell out current fashion trends or specify what popular music was being played. Walsh is writing it as historical fiction and seems to need to fix the time frame for us with the literary quotes and current affairs that Sayers would have ignored as irrelevant. Plus it shows off her research.
Apr. 15th, 2017 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yes -this book is set when Wimsey is nearly 60 and the writer does seem a bit desperate to share period social history with us.

I don't particularly want to explore the relationship of Wimsey and Bunter as social trends change and how Bunter finds it annoying when Wimsey's eldest (who is being educated with Bunter's eldest) addresses him as Mervyn rather then Bunter, etc.

I can see the logic in that the characters will grow older and history is not static, but the period was part of the reading pleasure.
Apr. 15th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
BTW, I think you're one of about three people left on my 'flist who hasn't moved over to DW.

You've got an account there - why not crosspost?
Apr. 15th, 2017 05:49 pm (UTC)
I love Dorothy Sayers´ Lord Peter! Especially "The Murder Must Advertise" for its utter Englishness abd those commercial slogans:-). Thank you for the reviews, both of you, no need to get excited for me.
Apr. 15th, 2017 06:00 pm (UTC)
'Murder Must Advertise' is my favourite of all the Wimsey novels.

Sayers actually worked in advertising. She even name-checked her own advertising campaign in her novel!

I visited the Coleman's mustard museum in Norwich once and learned about the Mustard Club... http://dianeduane.com/outofambit/2014/07/20/something-might-known-dorothy-l-sayers/
Apr. 15th, 2017 06:15 pm (UTC)
Now I like her even more! She must have been a fantastic lady with enormous sense of humour - and very very clever. The Mustard Club indeed!:-)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Proctor


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