Although this book lacks the effervescent dialogue and sparkling prose style of the original Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers, its mystery-within-a-mystery plot is a clever means of providing fans with both a look at Peter’s first case and the contrasting societies of pre- and post-war England. The mystery plotlines, unfortunately, tend to plod along as Peter and Harriet embark on a series of interviews followed by a series of discussions about the case. The result is a curious flattening of their characters and a plot that never lives up to its potential.

Lord Peter Wimsey has just finished recounting the details of his first foray into detecting to his wife, mystery writer Harriet Vane. Peter’s recovery of the Attenbury Emeralds in 1921 seemed to be the end of the case, but 30 years later, the current Lord Attenbury arrives on the Wimseys’ doorstep with news of a new mystery surrounding the fabled gems and seeking the couple’s help in solving it. To do so, they must re-examine a past now vanished by WWII. (Minotaur, Jan., 352 pp., $25.99)
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Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Carter