Philobiblon: Literary resurrection

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Literary resurrection

As I've mentioned before, I'm a Dorothy L Sayers fan, so when Sharon on Early Modern Notes mentioned a new Harriet Vane novel, I was on Amazon in a flash. It turns out that Thrones, Dominations is a fragment written by Sayers in 1936 and worked up by a modern writer, Jill Paton Walsh.

Now I know: this is unPC, it is not really a Sayers, dead writers should be allowed to rest in peace etc, etc ... but Harriet Vane, and Lord Peter Wimsey, are two "people" you just want to spend more time with.

So does it work? Well I'm almost sorry to admit that it does.

The book starts a bit slowly, and is rather too overtly "psychological" in places, but it has settled down well by the middle section. And the end is Peter's mother, the Duchess, writing in her diary in a way that I find greatly endearing.

For those who like "closure", it also completes the story by telling of the couple's Second World War and after.

This is apparently carried in the next book, produced in the same way, A Presumption of Death.

Even if slightly guiltily, I guess I'll have to buy that too.


Blogger Sharon said...

Glad you liked it... Doesn't she just get the Dowager off to a T? I started with the same reservations as you (and it does start slowly), but was drawn in. Mind you, it has the effect of making me want to read the real thing all over again. Come to think of it, it's high time I got a copy of Gaudy Night that isn't falling to pieces and held together with sellotape. (It's a really cheap 60s paperback with an amazingly great/awful cover. I just love older editions of crime novels with truly tacky artwork.)

3/12/2005 10:08:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Yes, I do love the dowager. I know what you mean about the gaudy covers, although I am also rather attached to the matching Penguins - it seems to make text that are definitely not high-brow so classy.

3/17/2005 02:19:00 am  
Blogger melinama said...

Oh, I was such a Sayers fan in high school. So, so romantic and sad. I'll have to try them again, though I'm afraid I won't love them as well now. ?

3/20/2005 12:27:00 pm  

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