It was 1921 when Lord Peter Wimsey first encountered the Attenbury emeralds. The recovery of the magnificent gem - Lord Attenbury’s most dazzling heirloom - made headlines and launched a shell-shocked young aristocrat on his career as a detective.
Now it is 1951: a happily married Lord Peter has just shared the secrets of that mystery with his wife, the detective novelist Harriet Vane. Then the new young Lord Attenbury - grandson of Lord Peter’s first client - seeks his help again, this time to prove who owns the gigantic emerald that Wimsey last saw in 1921. It will be the most intricate and challenging mystery he has ever faced....
The long-awaited new Lord Peter Wimsey novel by Jill Paton Walsh draws together threads from the very start of his detective career and clues from three decades to create an enthralling new adventure. Edward Petherbridge reads this complete, full length Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, based on the characters created by Dorothy L. Sayers.
©2010 Jill Paton Walsh and the Trustees of Anthony Fleming, deceased (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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How lovely - a Peter Wimsey without Ian Carmichael. For me, the definitive Peter Wimsey was Edward Petheridge - understated and not over the top. His narration here brings back his masterly performances with Harriet Walter in the TV series - and its a pleasure to have Jill Paton Walsh continue the Wimsey story from the fragments that remain. Thank you to all.
"Had to keep listening"
There are things you can carp at: Bunter's son at Eton, clunky plotting at times, the Wimseys failing to do the obvious when they are both so clever, their son not understanding he would one day be the Duke now that Lord St George is dead and more. But Jill Paton Walsh captures so convincingly the tone that Dorothy L. Sayers set up for Lord Peter and his Harriet, the plot is interesting and the contextual detail so convincing that it doesn't really matter. Edward Petherbridge's relatively downbeat style fits the now 60 year old Lord Peter very well and I found his quiet tones made me listen with full attention. I got through it in two evenings and had difficulty stopping the first evening in order to go to bed. I wasn't expecting it to be so good. Thoroughly recommended.
"Just about finished my second listening"
I've been a fan of LPW ever since the BBC dramatisations featuring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter in the 1980s. After that, I went out and bought every LPW book I could lay my hands on (that is, all of them available at the time). They still have a place on my bookcase. Now, to my delight, I can also own most of them on audio, which has made my commute that much less of a trial in recent months.
I've also discovered I can watch all the old TV dramatisations on YouTube, both Ian Carmichael and EP. I vaguely remember IC from childhood but much prefer Edward Petherbridge's interpretation, especially as he more physically resembles my imagining of Lord Peter. I also can't imagine anyone else playing Harriet other than Harriet Walter.
The discovery of The Attenbury Emeralds has been a real gem. At first, I thought I was going to be disappointed, as I incorrectly assumed it was all going to be a case of the retelling of an old story. How wrong I was. The interweaving of the flashbacks with the "present day" of the setting and the gradual bringing together of all the strands of the story are a proper treat. The story has its surprises, too. Though I think I'd always half expected that Peter would one day inherit the title, the manner of it's happening came totally out of the blue.
Like one of the other reviewers, I found that Bunter's son being at Eton didn't quite sit right with me but on the whole, I loved the story and as a child of the 50s, can just about relate to the historical setting, times and mores of it all. Edward Petherbridge's narration was also spot on. Having seen photos of him in recent times, I can just see him as a 60 year old Peter, growing old with his Harriet.
One final note to Audible: Presumption of Death please, along with unabridged versions of Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night.
"A sequel worthy of Dorothy L Sayers"
I was wary of this book as my experience with other sequels of famous authors' books by modern writers has been patchy. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this addition to the Lord Peter Wimsey series as I thought it caught the spirit of Dorothy L. Sayers style. It brings Lord Peter and his wife, Harriet, into the second half of the 20th century and the great changes to society brought about by the Second World War. The book starts slowly with Lord Peter and his clever butler, Bunter, recalling to Harriet a story from the early 1920s about the time Lord Peter first encountered the Attenbury Emeralds and the hullabaloo when they went missing at an engagement party for the daughter of Lord Attenbury. The book cleverly intertwines mysterious murders and deaths with the comings and goings of the emeralds giving a detection puzzle for Lord Peter, et al, set against the changes in the lives of the aristocracy and also taking Lord Peter and Harriet's lives forward in an exciting and imaginative way.
The book does refer back to earlier stories by Sayers involving Lord Peter Wimsey, but I think it will appeal more, and have more resonance, to those who know the original books. I found it very enjoyable and was glad to be re-united with Peter, Harriet, Bunter, and various other familiar characters. I think Dorothy L. Sayers would have approved of this sequel.
Edward Petherbridge was the perfect choice for playing Lord Peter in the TV series and so I was delighted to see that he is the narrator. I think he does a fine job of giving different voices to the characters.
"Read by the definitive Lord Peter"
This is an excellent book by Jill Paton Walsh, very true to the style of Sayers. It is good to meet these characters again and hear more of their later years. It is read perfectly by the wonderful Edward Petherbridge whose diction/enunciation is the best ever. Please audible get hold of the rest of the Lord Peter books read by Edward!
"Disappointing reading of a great story"
This is a great story, both to read a listen to, but the narrator lets it down. He sounds very breathy and insubstantial and it is not the right style for the type of book.
"A book of two halves and strange narration"
I've been a fan of Dorothy Sayers for years - and also of Edward Petherbridge's narration (I loved Nine Tailors). This book starts rather slowly for me. I hadn't read it first, so I can't tell whether it was the narration that slowed things down - Petherbridge here seems to have taken to a whispery, long drawn out style that at times is so noticeable that it borders on irritating - and quite unlike other books where he really helped bring the story and characters alive. Maybe it's his interpretation of Peter Wimsey's voice, a character I always understood to have a light clipped tone.
Having said all that - I really enjoyed the second half and I will listen again - if I warm to the reading style I'll let you know!
"A 'new' Dorothy L Sayers!"
Lord Peter Wimsey looks back on his first case in the 1920's with the benefit of hindsight and a willing listener in his wife, Harriet - now both comfortably middle-aged and still very happy. The stories themselves are intriguing and well-plotted on the whole, but, as always, the interest is in the period detail and the relationships between the well-known characters. It delivers a few shocks and surprises and is elegantly rendered by Edward Petherbridge, who remains my favourite Wimsey.
"Simply Brilliant Wimsy"
Sheer brilliance. I simply could not put it down till I'd finished. D L Sayers would have been very proud of this addition to the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, and Edward Petherbridge's reading simply cannot be bettered. ( very much enjoyed Ian Carmichael both in the part and as a narrator, but the Edward Petherbridge TV series was definitive, so to hear his wonderful tones once more is very welcome.
This is really very enjoyable. At first I thought it might be a bit slow, but once I was used to Petheridge's reading it became wonderful. It is SO like the original Dorothy Sayer that personally I hardly notice the difference in terms of plot and style (perhaps a tad less erudite in depiction of Lord peter). The 1950s contextual material is also very well done - with good detail on fate of country houses etc at that period.
Only wish Audible would get the 'Presumption of Death' which is the other Jill Patton Walsh Lord Peter Wimsey novel!!
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