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.