The Attenbury Emeralds

  • by Jill Paton Walsh
  • Narrated by Edward Petherbridge
  • 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Based on the characters created by Dorothy L. Sayers.
The recovery of the magnificent gem in Lord Attenbury's dazzling heirloom launched a shell-shocked young aristocrat on his career as a detective in 1921. Thirty years later, a happily married Lord Peter has just shared the secrets of that mystery with his wife, the detective novelist Harriet Vane. Suddenly, the new Lord Attenbury—grandson of Lord Peter’s first client—seeks his help to prove who owns the emeralds. As Harriet and Peter contemplate the changes that the war has wrought on English society, Peter, who always cherished the liberties of a younger son, faces the unwanted prospect of ending up the Duke of Denver after all.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

more meditation than mystery

The narrator will make or break this listen for you, I think. I abandoned it twice; only the solid reviews of listeners I follow brought me back.

I???m a fan more of pastiches and satires of Golden Age detectives than the real thing; At first I was irritated by both narrator and plot, but after 1/4 of the listen I looked forward to daily doses of the almost zen tale: it???s a Dorothy Sayers' plot told at snails' pace -- If that sounds bleak, the listen is not ??? ???quietly charming??? is the phrase that seems to fit. This will relax rather than send you to seat's (or wit's) edge. You definitely need to be in the mood for offbeat quiet to enjoy this if you're not a Dorothy Sayers connoisseur to catch all the angles of the homage.

Don???t expect this to satirize the Brit social system: It's told consistently through the eyes of the characters, obliquely showing some changes in Brit society in first half of 20th century, with only very gentle humour, mostly playing off stock Golden Age images and the warm relationship between Lord and Lady Wimsey.

This doesn???t make me nostalgic for Sayers, but I would download another in this series by Walsh. And I really look forward to other Audible titles narrated by Petherbridge (Howard???s End!)
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- connie "Narrative makes the world go round."

Slow, but Some Surprises

I'm guessing that anyone choosing this title would already be acquainted with Lord Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Bunter, and the other iconic characters created by Dorothy Sayers. In this rather offbeat pastiche, the third of Walsh's continuation of the series, we reunite with Peter and Harriet in the early 1950's, when an obituary prompts Peter's to reminisce about his "first case." The story unfolds ever so slowly as the case rises from the ashes and assumes a new life in the present.

The "mystery" is not particularly compelling--as another reviewer commented, this is no "Gaudy Night--but as it unfolds we become aware of the changes in British life and society brought about by the second world war, and new but fully recognizable incarnations of Harriet and Peter emerge. Only Bunter remains firmly in character as in former books.

I would recommend the book for those who love the characters rather than the substance of the Sayer originals. The narrator is low-key to the point of being irritating, but if you persevere there will be a payoff; whether it's worth it is a matter of personal taste, but as a major Harriet Vane fan I found it satisfying.
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- Carol "Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.