Jill Paton Walsh
While I admire Walsh’s courage in attempting to keep this series alive, I am disappointed in her depiction of Lord Peter. People have said that Dorothy Sayers was in love with him, and that affected her writing about him. Perhaps so, but Walsh’s Lord Peter is a shadow of his former self. Perhaps if you read mysteries for the puzzle, you will be satisfied with the characters, but I found it flat.
Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh
I tried to discern where Sayers left off and Paton took over, and I confess I couldn’t. Ms Paton has mastered Sayers voice so completely, her writing is indistinguishable from Ms Sayers.
Which leads me to rejoice that Lord Peter lives! He lives in married bliss with Harriet Vane, who is pregnant with his son as the book ends. Harriet continues her writing of detective novels to the delight of her mother-in-law (may she live forever) and the consternation of her sister-in-law (a curse on her and her ilk), and the contentment of her readers.
All our favorite characters are here, with some new one to gladden our hearts. Meredith Bunter (Bunter’s brother), endeavors to give satisfaction as the butler, and Juliet Mango, as Harriet’s maid, also does double duty where Miss Climpson is too old, or too refined to get the younger ones to confide in her.
At heart of the book, of course, aside from murder mystery intrusions, is the story of Lord Peter’s love for Harriet. A love that is solidly returned. The trials and travails of the past are resolved and all that is left is the working out of the details of their love. Harriet is turning out to appreciate the charm of being spoiled by money and servants and lays to rest what demons persist from being jailed for murder herself.
Altogether a most satisfying novel. Oh, yes, there’s a murder mystery to follow and a problem to solve if that sort of thing amuses you.