The Attenbury Emeralds (book #83)

Jill Paton Walsh, 2010.

Well, more Lord Peter and Harriet has always to be a good thing, and this didn’t seem to me to have as many failings as Thrones, Dominations. But really, Lord Peter talking about his mh problems as “throwing a wobbly”? Apart from the fact that him discussing them explicitly, particularly with Bunter there as well as Harriet, seems unlikely …

WordWizard gives some dictionary cites. Looks as if the phrase “a wobbler” can be dated to at least 1942 (the book is set in 1950 or 1951, as Peter is 60 and the Festival of Britain is mentioned), but citations for “throw a wobbler” or “throw a wobbly” are later (1970s). The phrase “throw a wobbly” was among those added to Collins in 1986 (Guardian). I realise that JPW can’t have used slang without thought and that the original Lord Peter uses contemporary slang. But this particular phrase really stands out as unlikely, especially as she doesn’t show him using 1950s slang in general, and as the Guardian link says, this particular phrase reads as later.

I also completely failed to understand the plot – the reason for swapping the emeralds, and the motive for the murders – this doesn’t worry me unduly, as I read for story rather than plot, but it does leave me with a faint nagging feeling.

And Harriet’s happiness in her conservative role at the end is a long way from her days as Bohemian party-goer.

I’m looking forward to nineveh_uk’s review. So far she has said only “Where does one start beyond “someone is wrong in these pages”?” and That a dis-emeralded Rajah has turned up on page 18 probably says all you need to know about its quality. … I keep having to stop to say “WTF?TRY(%HDFNW(HGOAT!”.

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2 Responses to “The Attenbury Emeralds (book #83)”

  1. Lilly Says:

    Interesting post. I remember the phrase ‘throwing a wobbler’ or ‘that made him wobble’ being popular in the 80s.

    Do you know how JPW got the job of finishing the novels?

  2. Nineveh_uk Says:

    Thanks for the quote! I will get round to a review one day, I swear!

    That’s a good catch on “throwing a wobbly” (which phrase I had always known as meaning thrown a tantrum, not had a nervous fit). Actually, the lack of 50s slang in itself is not very Sayers-ish – she includes plenty of up-to-date references, and JPW doesn’t seem to.

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