George V. Reilly

Review: A Presumption of Death

A Presumption of Death
Title: A Pre­sump­tion of Death
Author: Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 384
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: January 30–Feb­ru­ary 1 2016

England, Spring 1940. The Phoney War is ending, millions have been evacuated from the cities to the coun­try­side, military bases have sprung up everywhere, and everything is topsy turvy. Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter are abroad somewhere on a secret mission, while Lady Peter—the former Harriet Vane—minds a brood of children at their country house in Hert­ford­shire. A Land Girl is murdered in the village of Paggleham, and the local police su­per­in­ten­dent enlists Harriet’s aid in solving the murder.

A Pre­sump­tion of Death is Paton Walsh’s first original Wimsey novel after completing Sayer’s last, unfinished novel. Although Paton Walsh is writing more than sixty years later, she suc­cess­ful­ly recreates Sayers’ characters and tone, situating them in the new territory of wartime England. The novel is as much about the war and the very rapid changes that have been wrought upon the British people, as it is about about the two strange murders.


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