A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh

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A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh

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1karenmarie
Jun 19, 2008, 11:37am

I just finished listening to A Presumption of Death and really, really liked it. I thought Ms. Walsh kept faith with the characters and the type of story Sayers would have written. I especially liked how the mystery resolved.

I remember disliking Thrones, Dominions, but I may go back and re-read it.

Have any of you read either of these? What'cha think?

2vreeland
Sep 29, 2008, 2:59pm

Hi Karenmarie
I feel just the same: A Presumption of Death was a mere surprise and a great pleasure. It became one of my favourites Wimsey-novels. I like the idea of Harriet being a mother. Rather disappointing was Thrones, Dominions, and even rereading it did not help very much. But I think it's not Ms Walsh fault, it's the story - less plausible than her other adaption.
Do you know Alberto Manguels History of Reading? He writes, he would love to read another Sayers-novels by Ms Walsh as well. So we are three.
Regards from Switzerland
vreeland/Flo

3lilithcat
Editado: Sep 29, 2008, 4:16pm

Hated, hated, hated Thrones, Dominations. I thought it was so obvious where Sayers' notes left off and Walsh began, and that her characterizations were off. It simply didn't read like a Wimsey-Vane book.

4karenmarie
Nov 1, 2008, 6:24am

Hi vreeland! I checked this thread weekly forever, then gave up! Sorry for the delayed response, but I just re-discovered it and was pleased to see TWO responses. I'm glad to hear that you liked Presumption.

I don't know Alberto Manguels but will look him up.

And, hey lilithcat! I hated Thrones, Dominations too and agree with your reasons. It felt very forced to me. You might really enjoy A Presumption of Death, though.

And I probably won't consider re-reading Thrones anytime soon.

5alaudacorax
Sep 18, 2017, 5:07am

Interesting. When Thrones, Dominations was published I didn't have the slightest desire to read a Peter Wimsey by anyone other than DLS - felt a bit offended by the idea, to be honest, so ignored it. Going on your comments, I find myself very tempted to give A Presumption of Death a try - perhaps I've mellowed a bit over time - so, why not? Bought and Kindled.

6alaudacorax
Sep 18, 2017, 5:17am

>2 vreeland: - I like the idea of Harriet being a mother.

I assume, after all these years, you've read Talboys by now. I know some people have mixed feelings about it, but it is DLS's own hand.

7alaudacorax
Editado: Sep 20, 2017, 6:39am

Um ... I wasn't overly impressed by A Presumption of Death.

Pros: It kept me reading until the end, and I'm actually not much of a crime fiction fan outside of Dorothy L and, when I'm feeling like some light reading, the occasional 'Miss Marple' or 'Miss Seeton'; so that's a point in her favour.

Cons: (1) JPW is simply not as good a prose writer as DLS. She doesn't flow so well and I occasionally came upon awkward sentence structures that Dorothy L would never have allowed into print. (2) I haven't checked this out properly as yet (and I probably won't bother), but some of the language she gave people struck me as anachronistic, leaving me thinking that people in that time and place just would not have spoken quite like that. (3) I wasn't impressed by some of her characterisation. Just off the top of my head, I don't think she at all accurately captured DLS's depiction of Puffet, the vicar's wife, Miss Twitterton or Helen, and I wasn't really convinced by the Dowager Duchess or Bunter, either (and I dread to think what Dorothy L. would have had to say about having Harriet undressing Bunter). (4) I missed the way DLS liberally peppered Harriet and Peter's speech and thoughts with unacknowledged and almost unsignalled literary quotes and allusions - for me that was one of the delights of the books and, after perhaps a couple of decades of reading, I still haven't chased down the half of them to their sources - always supposing I've actually spotted them all, which is unlikely. They were Dorothy L's way of signalling that Harriet and Peter were kindred spirits and potential soul mates - very important.

I'm sorry, but Jill Paton Walsh is just not Dorothy L. Sayer.

8alaudacorax
Sep 20, 2017, 6:45am

>7 alaudacorax:

Once I'd started, I got carried away with that post. I think there's enough there that I might as well copy it over as a review.