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Publisher's Summary

Based on the characters created by Dorothy L. Sayers.

The recovery of the magnificent gem in Lord Attenbury's dazzling heirloom launched a shell-shocked young aristocrat on his career as a detective in 1921. Thirty years later, a happily married Lord Peter has just shared the secrets of that mystery with his wife, the detective novelist Harriet Vane. Suddenly, the new Lord Attenbury—grandson of Lord Peter’s first client—seeks his help to prove who owns the emeralds. As Harriet and Peter contemplate the changes that the war has wrought on English society, Peter, who always cherished the liberties of a younger son, faces the unwanted prospect of ending up the Duke of Denver after all.

©2010 Jill Paton Walsh and the Trustees of Anthony Fleming, deceased. (P)2011 AudioGo

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  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 11-03-11

Slow, but Some Surprises

I'm guessing that anyone choosing this title would already be acquainted with Lord Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Bunter, and the other iconic characters created by Dorothy Sayers. In this rather offbeat pastiche, the third of Walsh's continuation of the series, we reunite with Peter and Harriet in the early 1950's, when an obituary prompts Peter's to reminisce about his "first case." The story unfolds ever so slowly as the case rises from the ashes and assumes a new life in the present.

The "mystery" is not particularly compelling--as another reviewer commented, this is no "Gaudy Night--but as it unfolds we become aware of the changes in British life and society brought about by the second world war, and new but fully recognizable incarnations of Harriet and Peter emerge. Only Bunter remains firmly in character as in former books.

I would recommend the book for those who love the characters rather than the substance of the Sayer originals. The narrator is low-key to the point of being irritating, but if you persevere there will be a payoff; whether it's worth it is a matter of personal taste, but as a major Harriet Vane fan I found it satisfying.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Lewisville, TX, United States
  • 03-17-11

Characters perfect!

Walsh is pitch perfect on Sayers' characters and dialogue. This one was a bit slow to get started -- at first it had the feel of Sayers' short stories rather than the novels. Once it got going, it was wonderful! It was so nice to get reacquainted with Peter and Harriet. I wish Audible would get Walsh's earlier two Wimsey novels. And speaking of Sayers, where is Gaudy Night?

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 07-05-12

more meditation than mystery

The narrator will make or break this listen for you, I think. I abandoned it twice; only the solid reviews of listeners I follow brought me back.

I???m a fan more of pastiches and satires of Golden Age detectives than the real thing; At first I was irritated by both narrator and plot, but after 1/4 of the listen I looked forward to daily doses of the almost zen tale: it???s a Dorothy Sayers' plot told at snails' pace -- If that sounds bleak, the listen is not ??? ???quietly charming??? is the phrase that seems to fit. This will relax rather than send you to seat's (or wit's) edge. You definitely need to be in the mood for offbeat quiet to enjoy this if you're not a Dorothy Sayers connoisseur to catch all the angles of the homage.

Don???t expect this to satirize the Brit social system: It's told consistently through the eyes of the characters, obliquely showing some changes in Brit society in first half of 20th century, with only very gentle humour, mostly playing off stock Golden Age images and the warm relationship between Lord and Lady Wimsey.

This doesn???t make me nostalgic for Sayers, but I would download another in this series by Walsh. And I really look forward to other Audible titles narrated by Petherbridge (Howard???s End!)

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Future
  • United States
  • 01-18-11

Classic Sayers

Well done, Magistra. If any of you have ever enjoyed Lord Peter and Harriet Vane, you will enjoy Walsh's addition to the genre. We are once more back (albeit post WWII) in the world of Lord and Lady Peter, with their two sons and a world that is progressing (if it is progressing) into the mid-20th century. Yet the author also brings us backwards, evoking tales of Peter's shell-shocked youth as he solves his first case, a case that now echoes -- through multiple murders -- into the present, along with recurrent emeralds, old friends, and new villains. And despite it all, Jill Paton Walsh manages to bring us back in contact with the characters we cherish: Peter, Harriet, and Bunter are unchanged from the Sayers originals. Magisterial, Magistra!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sara
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 05-01-11

A Triumph

Walsh captures the Sayer's style in her first standalone sequel to the Lord Peter Whimsey stories. I was terribly excited to see that Edward Petherbridge was the narrator! His performances in the1980's Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery miniseries was definitive. His voice is a bit soft, and and shows his age, but as Peter is in his 60's in this book it compliments rather than detracts from the atmosphere of the story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Murrysville, PA, United States
  • 03-12-11

Good story!

Although I really liked this story, I found the narrator very difficult to understand. Between his accent and tendency to swallow the last part of every sentence, I had a difficult time getting through the book. In addition, the narrator modulated his voice in such a way that if I could hear the beginning of the sentence, I couldn't hear the end! His voice finishes most sentences softly.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rachel
  • Glendale Heights, IL, United States
  • 04-06-11

Since Dorothy L. stopped writing novels too soon

While it isn't quite the gob-smacking whingdinger that Gaudy Night or Murder Must Advertise is, Paton Walsh continues to do a really very nice job developing the characters of Lord Peter and Harriet Vane. The conceit of splitting action between a shell-shocked Peter's first detectival foray and the post-WWII Wimseys' lives helps smooth over any minor, inevitable discontinuities in style or characterization. I particularly enjoyed Walsh's treatment of the changes in class distinctions in post-WWII Britain, and the way she explored both Peter's and Bunter's likely reactions to those changes--something Sayers herself seemed unsure how to handle, based on Bunter's near-absence from her last few works.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The Cure for Insomnia!

Don't get my title wrong. I actually enjoyed this book for the purpose for which I wound up using it - to go to sleep.

The narrator's voice is so soothing and the story is so boring that it worked like Ambien!

If you enjoy being read to sleep but you often find yourself getting too interested in a story to succumb to slumber, this book is the answer for you! The plot line (what there is of it) is so thoroughly uninteresting and slow to develop that I can't imagine anyone staying awake for very long when listening to this book.

It warrants a warning in all caps:


On the other hand, Edward Petherbridge has a voice that could melt butter.

In the final analysis, I will probably listen to this one again because the narration and the sleep I gained from the rambling plot line make the book worth what I spent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Monique
  • New York, New York, United States
  • 06-06-13

Wonderful read

What did you love best about The Attenbury Emeralds?

This book works well as a stand-alone for those of us not familiar with the original series by Dorothy Sayer. The author introduces us to the main characters, a brief history of their relationship toget5her and also gives us a new Lord Peter mystery.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Certainly interested..

What does Edward Petherbridge bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I am a great reader (listener) of British novels and watcher of British documentaries. I therefore have had the opportunity to listen to many British accents and narrators. I was so impressed with the performance of Edward Peterbridge for he so perfectly nailed the accent of the British aristocracy of that time. Speakers with this accent do have a tendency to modulate the volume of their voice which makes them a little difficult to hear at times. I cannot criticize a magnificent performance for this minor difficulty inflicted on the listener.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was certainly was funny at times.

Any additional comments?

After reading this book I became interested in Dorothy Sayer. I read three of her books. Fans of Sayer will consider this blasphemy but I preferred Walsh. Sorry.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great entry in the Wimsey-Vane universe

Well imagined sequel about the older Peter, Harriet, Bunter and their brood. Very well told, as well. I have listened with pleasure four times and will listen again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful