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A Presumption of Death Hardcover – Mar 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur; 1 edition (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312291000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312291006
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,928,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.2 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan on June 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
And the Trustees of Anthony Fleming should be suing to demand a retraction and reissue.
Jill Paton Walsh does quite a competent job with character and setting, which is why I'm giving four stars to something whose final manifestation appalled me.
Her plot is less complex than the genuine Sayers article, and I felt the relative absence of introspective musing common to Sayers' later work, but given the shortness of the book I think both were in proportion.
I disagree with the reviewer who says Lady Peter would not have cared for the exhausted Bunter's physical needs; Lady Mary might have hesitated but it was entirely in keeping with Harriet's impatience with convention. I do agree that she would not have invited people to call her "Harriet"; she faced the fact that she would have to put up with being "Lady Peter" (socially -- continuing professionally as "Miss Vane" is quite appropriate) in "Busman's Honeymoon."
However.
SMM went to all the expense of paying for the rights, the author, the production, the publicity and the distribution. Anybody could have explained that the market for this book comprises people likely to read carefully. It is unconscionable that the budget did not offer a good copy editor enough time to read the text, in context.
I'll overlook the sentence fragments, although I'm convinced Sayers would not have permitted them.
There are errors of spelling: Fighters "bale" out of airplanes in practically every chapter.
There are errors of idiom: Harriet says, "Well, I have done," when Sayers' Harriet would have stopped at "Well, I have." Anachronistically, characters begin statements with "Only," sounding like visitors from Harry Potter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Shaw on April 27 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book does not honor the Sayers canon. It is full of allusions to moments from other books, as if Walsh is trying to say "See? I read then and know them! Trust me, I'm a fan!" But Sayers hardly ever repeated herself. The book has more dialogue and less intelligent introspection and analysis than any Sayers book. The scene in which Harriet puts an exhausted Bunter to bed would NEVER happen that way; Harriet wouldn't violate the social contract. Bunter would never be that familar with Ruddle. Trapp is not likely to tolerate Ruddle. In a late scene, Bunter appears in two places at once. There is no attempt to use dialect or idiom to distinguish people from different backgrounds. Poorly written, and VERY poorly edited. Looks like a rush job. I hope she does not write another novel using Sayers' characters. It is a disservice to the fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 8 2003
Format: Hardcover
I agree with much of the criticism in previous reviews. As a mystery, ignoring for a moment the Wimsey-Vane series, the fundamental problem is that the book is too short. The print is large so that fewer words can be stretched to a standard number of pages. Because the book is short, it is easy to catch all the hints about the case. There is not enough extra action and text to hide them. The author very heavy-handedly adds comments like, "Harriet forgot what was troubling her." By way of "explaining" Harriet's failure to follow up and thereby prolong the mystery, this tactic highlights the clue, which is not what a mystery-writer would want to do.
As a volume in the Wimsey-Vane series, the book is very weak. The personal material is entirely dependent on previous, authentic Sayers' works. Harriet is constantly thinking back to the events of Busman's Honeymoon, and Gaudy Night is also referred to. Interestingly, she seems to have forgotten about the Thrones, Dominations case. It doesn't figure in her recollections at all. The parts that are new are more wish-fulfillment (popular characters get happy endings) than authentic development.
Finally, to the person who complained that Jerry Winsey appears as uncle to his cousins Charlie Parker and Paul Wimsey, give me a break. Jerry is considerably older than the boys. It's a courtesy title.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21 2003
Format: Hardcover
The names are accurate, even, to some extent, the sense of place, but the characters are mere shadows of themselves and the dialogue jars. Sayers let dialogue reveal the emotion; she didn't add "said smilingly," "said miserably" etc. to every third line. Anachronisms that bothered me in "Thrones" persisted here (Harriet inviting social inferiors to use her first name - today, it shows friendliness and an egalitarian spirit - then, it just WASN'T DONE.) And I wholeheartedly agree about the very non-subtle references to episodes from the other novels - very un-Sayers -- and the replay of well-known quirks, etc. In general, neither this book nor Thrones, Dominations is nearly as FUNNY as the "real" Sayers novels. Compare Strong Poison's terrific scenes in which the hidden wills are found, for example. I admit Paton-Walsh can write ... I just wish she would write more like DLS. A final carp - what's with the large print? I felt like I was reading a book for a second-grader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "snoozq" on June 20 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
I have been reading and re-reading the entire Sayers/Wimsey body of work for more than 35 years. Jill Walsh has done all the Wimsey fans a great service in continuing the Wimsey chronicles. Even if there is no further material available from the collected Sayers papers, Jill Walsh appears to have excellent credentials to continue on her own recognizance. I bought this one in hardcover and will order the next one gleefully.
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