Saturday, June 9, 2012

More about Lord Peter and introducing Miss Harriet Vane

I've gotten kind of addicted to Lord Peter Wimsey. Yeah, "Murder Must Advertise" was good, but it was nothing compared to "Gaudy Night." Which apparently should have been read after "Strong Poison" and "Have His Carcase" which I quickly followed up with. I love Lord Peter, but he's double awesome when paired with Harriet Vane. Those two are a power couple and an utter delight to read. "The Thin Man's" Nick and Nora are perhaps the most famous detective couple, but I found Peter and Harriet to be just as loveable, and somewhat more cerebral.

The thing about Dorothy Sayers is that she doesn't just write mysteries. She writes stories about people. Harriet and Peter aren't just detectives to unravel a puzzle, they are a man and woman going through personal growth, grappling with difficult subjects. But don't worry, there's humor in there too!

As a long time reader of all (well, most) things Austen, I have a lot of experience with other people trying to take up another author's characters and writing style and attempt a sequel to their work. Most of the time it doesn't work so well. So I was rather skeptical when I saw that Jill Paton Walsh had written three sequels to the Peter and Harriet novels.


Except I know Jill Paton Walsh. Her "Parcel of Patterns" has been read multiple times by me and much enjoyed. I know she's capable of writing something more than romantic fluff or adrenaline packed mystery thrillers. There's a similar deepness to her as there is in Dorothy Sayers.

Then there is the fact that her first venture was not a totally original work - it was a completion of Sayers unfinished "Thrones, Dominions" and was commissioned by the Sayers estate. I haven't read "Thrones, Dominions" yet, but I was very satisfied by her third addition, "The Attenbury Emeralds" which I highly recommend (but do read in order, please! I'm too impatient for my own good). It's a well twisted mystery with interesting details and features Peter and Harriet exactly as I think they would have aged under Sayers hand.


Carol said...

I couldn't agree more about Jill Paton Walsh and her successful continuation of the Harriet and Lord Peter story. Is it too much to hope that there will be at least one more novel about them?

Elenatintil said...

I'm hopeful! Her last one came out in 2010, so I would think we'd be due for another before long, if she is able to keep writing. She's in her 80's now though, so the clock's running out.