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A Presumption of Death
By Jill Paton Walsh
Read by Edward Petherbridge

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A Presumption of Death

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A Presumption of Death
A Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane Mystery
By Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers
Read by Edward Petherbridge
Audio Editions Mystery Masters
The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (2003)
An Unabridged Recording on Eight CDs
ISBN: 1-57270-323-7
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - May 23, 2003

This audio edition of A Presumption of Death is part of the Audio Editions Mystery Masters series. This series features unabridged audio editions of some of the best works, by some of the best mystery writers, to have ever sent a shiver down your spine, including Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Ellis Peters, and many more! Included in this stalwart company is Dorothy L. Sayers, the creator of the lovable detective, Lord Peter Wimsey.

A Presumption of Death is a Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery. However, it was written by Jill Paton Walsh. It is, nonetheless, based upon a series of articles written by Dorothy L. Sayers. The articles, in the form of fictional letters from various members of the Wimsey family, were originally published in The Spectator in 1939-1940. So, in reality, A Presumption of Death is a collaborative work between Walsh and Sayers. This is the second such collaboration between Walsh and Sayers, the first occurred when Walsh completed Sayers' unfinished novel, Thrones, Dominations. While this work is written to mimic Sayers writing style, it will be apparent to anyone familiar with her work, that she was not the book's author. Nonetheless, it does capture the true essence of Sayers' Lord Wimsey mysteries, and it is an excellent story in its own right. I highly recommend A Presumption of Death to mystery lovers, as well as hard-core Sayers' fans.

In this spectacular novel, Lord Peter Wimsey takes a back seat to his new wife, Harriet Vane, as she sets out to solve the murder of a young woman. During most of the story Lord Wimsey is away "doing war work" so Harriet is on her own in working this case. A Presumption of Death is set in England in 1940. World War II is in full swing, and bombing raids over England are common. Wendy Percival, the victim of this horrific crime was a member of the Women's Land Army, and at first glance, everyone thought that she had been killed during an air raid. In short order it becomes apparent that she has been murdered, and it is only a matter of time until the killer strikes again...

This thrilling tale is read by Edward Petherbridge, who played Lord Wimsey in a number of BBC-TV adaptations of Sayers' Wimsey mysteries. His reading expertly captures Wimsey's upper crust mannerisms and Vane's aloofness. His reading makes a good novel great.

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