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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Thrones, Dominations, by Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh

Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. ISBN: 0-312-18196-5

I have been a fan of Dorothy Sayers’ effete monocled aristocratic British detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, for many years, ever since as a budding handbell ringer and director, someone in handbell circles turned me on to The Nine Tailors. Later, my wife and I loved the PBS Mystery series based on the stories. But then, just about anything presented on Mystery is well worth watching.

In this book, which I was reading for the second time (I confess to having read many of the earlier books multiple times), Jill Paton Walsh completes a Lord Peter novel that Dorothy Sayers had not finished upon her death. As armchair psychologists have pointed out, Sayers seems to have been in love with her own creation, and after having managed over the course of several novels to get her detective-story-writing heroine (her personal avatar?) married off to Lord Peter, she seems to have been unable to proceed.

But author Walsh succeeds quite admirably. The entire book seems quite authentic in tone and style, and by the end of it, Lord Peter’s long-time manservant and devoted friend Bunter, has also engaged upon the matrimonial trail. And, naturally, there is also a gruesome murder to solve. Highly recommended for Dorothy Sayers fans. If you haven’t read any Sayers up till now, go back and read the real thing first. The Dorothy L. Sayers Society has a fairly comprehensive bibliography available. And if you get this far, Walsh has written yet another novel, A Presumption of Death (2002), which is high on my upcoming reading list.

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