I read this book about 12-Mar-2002. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1998. This note was last modified Thursday, 22-May-2014 19:48:42 PDT.
This is book 16 of the "Lord Peter Wimsey" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
This was the uncompleted manuscript left at Sayers' death, completed by Jill Paton Walsh. I've heard such conflicting things about it that I find it necessary to read it myself. Even Pamela didn't tell me definitely not to.
I've reached page 116. The plot has finally arrived, I believe. However, I'm not that excited about the plot. What's been exciting is that there have been quite a number of truly spectacularly first-rate scenes. The time spent has been extremely well rewarded so far.
I'm living in terror, of course, of all the good parts suddenly evaporating at the point the unfinished Sayers manuscript ended. No offense to Ms. Walsh, whose other work I'm completely unfamiliar with; perhaps she'll carry on nobly, and for that matter perhaps much of the quality of the parts I've loved so far is really her work (if so, she's brilliant; it's very much Sayers at the top of her form to my eye).
Given the extremely mixed word-of-mouth this book has gotten in my circles, I've been prepared for the overall book to end up being badly flawed. Given those expectations to begin with, I feel like I'm way ahead of the game right now; I've gotten good parts of a quality I was not even considering. I guess I'll say "so far, so good" then.
Having now finished this book, I'm very impressed. I didn't feel a thunk as control passed from one author to the other, or a sinking feeling either. The mystery is well handled, I thought, and I felt the clues were more available to the reader than Sayers usually makes them.
But mostly, I'm impressed because this book had a number of the very best scenes of characters interacting that I've ever read. The first scene isn't too shabby; but any book that has the scene where Countess Severn and Thames drops in on Harriet is worth reading for that alone. And there's much more.
I'm not sure it's as good as Gaudy Night or Busman's Honeymoon. But you know, I'm not really sure it isn't, either!