Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley Series #2)

Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley Series #2)

by Elizabeth George

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Overview

The career of playwright Joy Sinclair comes to an abrupt end on an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands when someone drives an eighteen-inch dirk through her neck. Called upon to investigate the case in a country where they have virtually no authority, aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, grapple for both a motive and a murderer. Emotions run deep in this highly charged drama, for the list of suspects soon includes Britain’s foremost actress, its most successful theatrical producer, and the woman Lynley loves. He and Havers must tread carefully through the complicated terrain of human relationships while they work to solve a case rooted in the darkest corners of the past and the unexplored regions of the human heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553384802
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Series: Inspector Lynley Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 79,718
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth George’s first novel, A Great Deliverance, was honored with the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel Awards and received the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Her third novel, Well-Schooled in Murder, was awarded the prestigious German prize for suspense fiction, the MIMI. A Suitable Vengeance, For the Sake of Elena, Missing Joseph, Playing for the Ashes, In the Presence of the Enemy, Deception on His Mind, In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, A Traitor to Memory, and I, Richard were international bestsellers. Elizabeth George divides her time between Huntington Beach, California, and London. Her novels are currently being dramatized by the BBC.

Hometown:

Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

February 26, 1949

Place of Birth:

Warren, Ohio

Education:

A.A. Foothill Community College, 1969; B.A. University of California, Riverside, 1970; M.S. California State University

Read an Excerpt

Payment in Blood


By Elizabeth George

Bantam

Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth George
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780553384802

Chapter One


Gowan Kilbride, aged sixteen, had never been much for early rising. While still living on his parents' farm, he had grumbled his way out of bed each morning, letting everyone within hearing distance know, through a variety of groans and creative complaints, how little to his liking the life of husbandry was. So when Francesca Gerrard, the recently widowed owner of the largest estate in the area, decided to convert her Scottish great house into a country hotel in order to recoup upon the death duties, Gowan presented himself to her, the very man she would need to wait on tables, officiate behind the bar, and oversee a score of nubile young ladies who no doubt would eventually apply to work as serving girls or maids.

So much for fantasy, as Gowan soon discovered. For he had not been employed at Westerbrae a week before he realised that the workings of that immense granite house were to be orchestrated solely by a contingent of four: Mrs. Gerrard herself, a middle-aged cook with too much growth of hair on her upper lip, Gowan, and a seventeen-year-old girl newly arrived from Inverness, Mary Agnes Campbell.

Gowan's work possessed all the glamour commensurate with his position in the hotel hierarchy, which is to say that there was virtually none. He was a factotum, a man for all seasons of travail, be itworking the grounds of the rambling estate, sweeping the floors, painting the walls, repairing the ancient boiler on a biweekly basis, or hanging fresh wallpaper to prepare the bedrooms for their future guests. A humbling experience for a boy who had always seen himself as the next James Bond, the irritations of life at Westerbrae were mitigated solely by the delicious presence of Mary Agnes Campbell, who had come to the estate to help put the house in order prior to its receiving its first paying customers.

After less than a month of working at Mary Agnes' side, even getting up in the morning was no longer a chore, since the sooner Gowan bounded out of his room, the sooner he would have his first opportunity of seeing Mary Agnes, talking to her, catching her intoxicating scent on the air as she passed by. Indeed, in a mere three months, all his former dreams of drinking vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred) and showing a marked preference for Italian handguns with skeleton grips had been quite forgotten. In their place was the hope of being favoured with one of Mary Agnes' sunny smiles, with the sight of her pretty legs, with the agonising, tantalising, adolescent hope of brushing up against the swell of her lovely breasts in one corridor or another.

All that had seemed quite possible, quite reasonable in fact, until the arrival yesterday of Westerbrae's very first bona fide guests: a group of actors from London who had come with their producer, their director, and several other hangers-on to work the wrinkles out of a new production. Combined with what Gowan had found in the library this morning, the presence of these London luminaries was making his dream of bliss with Mary Agnes look more remote every moment. So when he pulled the crumpled piece of Westerbrae stationery out of the rubbish in the library, he went in search of Mary Agnes and found her alone in the cavernous kitchen, assembling trays of early morning tea to be carried up to the rooms.

The kitchen had long been a favourite haunt of Gowan's, mostly because, unlike the rest of the house, it had not been invaded, altered, or spoiled. There was no need to suit it to the tastes and predilections of future guests. They would hardly come wandering through to sample a sauce or talk about the turn of the meat.

So the kitchen had been left alone, just as Gowan remembered it from his childhood. The old tile floor of dull red and muted cream still made a pattern like an enormous draughtboard. Lines of coruscating brass pans hung from oak stringers against one wall where iron fixtures were like smudgy shadows on the cracked ceramic surface. A four-tiered pine rack atop one of the counters held the everyday dishes of the household, and beneath it a tricornered drying stand wobbled under its burden of tea towels and cloths. Pottery urns stood on the windowsills, holding oddly tropical plants with large, palmate leaves--plants that by rights should have withered under the icy adversities of a Scottish winter, but nonetheless thrived in the room's warmth.

It was, however, far from warm now. When Gowan entered, it was nearly seven, and the frigid morning air had not yet been cut by the huge stove heating against one wall. A large kettle steamed on one of the burners. Through the transomed windows, Gowan could see that the previous night's heavy snowfall had smoothly sculpted the lawns rolling down to Loch Achiemore. At another time, he might have admired the sight. But right now, righteous indignation prevented him from seeing anything but the fair-skinned sylph who stood at the worktable in the centre of the kitchen, covering trays with linen.

"Explain this tae me, Mary Agnes Campbell." Gowan's face flushed nearly to the colour of his hair and his freckles darkened perceptibly. He held out a discarded piece of stationery, his broad, callused thumb covering the Westerbrae estate crest upon it.

Mary Agnes directed guileless blue eyes towards the paper and gave it a cursory glance. Unembarrassed, she went into the china room and began pulling teapots, cups, and saucers from the shelves. It was every bit as if someone other than herself had written Mrs. Jeremy Irons, Mary Agnes Irons, Mary Irons, Mary and Jeremy Irons, Mary and Jeremy Irons and family in an unpractised script up and down the page.

"Wha' aboot?" she replied, tossing back her mass of ebony hair. The movement, designed to be coy, caused the white cap perched rakishly over her curls to fall askew, over one eye. She looked like a charming pirate.

Which was part of the problem. Gowan's blood had never burned for a single female in his entire life as it burned for Mary Agnes Campbell. He had grown up on Hillview Farm, one of the Westerbrae tenant holdings, and nothing in his wholesome life of fresh air, sheep, five brothers and sisters, and boating on the loch had prepared him for the effect Mary Agnes had upon him every time he was with her. Only the dream of someday making her his own had allowed him to keep hold of his reason.

That dream had never seemed entirely out of the range of possibility, in spite of the existence of Jeremy Irons, whose handsome face and soulful eyes, torn from the pages of countless movie magazines, graced the walls of Mary Agnes' room in the lower northwest corridor of the great house. After all, girlish adulation of the unreachable was typical, wasn't it? Or so Mrs. Gerrard tried to tell Gowan when he daily unburdened his heavy heart to her as she supervised his advancing skill at pouring wine without sloshing most of it onto the tablecloth.

That was all fine and good, so long as the unreachable remained unreachable. But now, with a houseful of London actors to mingle among, Gowan knew very well that Mary Agnes was beginning to see Jeremy Irons within her grasp. Surely one of these people was acquainted with him, would introduce her to him, would let nature take its course from there. This belief was attested to by the paper Gowan held in his hand, a clear indication of what Mary Agnes felt the future had in store for her.

"Wha' aboot?" he repeated incredulously. "Ye left this lyin' in the lib'ry, tha's wha' aboot!"

Mary Agnes plucked it from his hand and shoved it into her apron pocket. "Ye're kind tae retairn it, laddie," she replied.

Her placidity was infuriating. "Ye gie me no explanation?"

"'Tis practice, Gowan."

"Practice?" The fire inside him was heating his blood to a boil. "Wha' kind of practice d'ye need tha' Jeremy Irons'll help you with? All over the blessit paper. And him a marrit man!"

Mary Agnes' face paled. "Marrit?" She set one saucer down upon another. China jarred together unpleasantly.

Gowan at once regretted his impulsive words. He had no idea whether Jeremy Irons was married, but he felt driven to despair by the thought of Mary Agnes dreaming of the actor nightly as she lay in her bed while right next door Gowan sweated for the right to touch his lips to hers. It was ungodly. It was unfair. She ought well to suffer for it.

But when he saw her lips tremble, he berated himself for being such a fool. She'd hate him, not Jeremy Irons, if he wasn't careful. And that couldn't be borne.

"Ah, Mary, I canna say faer sairtin if he's marrit," Gowan admitted.

Mary Agnes sniffed, gathered up her china, and returned to the kitchen. Puppy-like, Gowan followed. She lined up the teapots on the trays and began spooning tea into them, straightening linen, arranging silver as she went, studiously ignoring him. Thoroughly chastened, Gowan searched for something to say that would get him back into her good graces. He watched her lean forward for the milk and sugar. Her full breasts strained against her soft wool dress.

Gowan's mouth went dry. "Hae I tol' ye aboot my row to Tomb's Isle?"

It was not the most inspired conversational gambit. Tomb's Isle was a tree-studded mound of land a quarter of a mile into Loch Achiemore. Capped by a curious structure that looked from a distance like a Victorian folly, it was the final resting place of Phillip Gerrard, the recently departed husband of Westerbrae's present owner. Rowing out to it was certainly no feat of athletic prowess for a boy like Gowan, well used to labour. Certainly it was nothing that was going to impress Mary Agnes, who probably could have done the same herself. So he sought a way to make the story more interesting for her.

"Ye dinna know aboot the isle, Mary?"

Mary Agnes shrugged, setting teacups upon saucers. But her bright eyes danced to him briefly, and that was sufficient encouragement for Gowan to wax eloquent upon his tale."Ye havena haird? Why, Mary, all the villagers know tha' when the mune is full, Missus Francesca Gerrard stands buck nakit a' the windae of her bedroom and beckons Mister Phillip to coom back to her. From Tomb's Isle. Whair he's buried."

That certainly got Mary Agnes' attention. She stopped working on the trays, leaned against the table, and folded her arms, prepared to hear more.

"I dinna believe a word of this," she warned as preamble to his tale. But her tone suggested otherwise, and she didn't bother to hide a mischievous smile.

"Nar did I, lass. So las' full mune, I rowed out myself." Gowan anxiously awaited her reaction. The smile broadened. The eyes sparkled. Encouraged, he went on. "Ach, what a sicht Missus Gerrard was, Mary. Nakit at the windae! Her arms outstretched! An' glory, those dugs hanging claer tae her waist! Wha' an awful sicht!" He shuddered dramatically. "'Tis na wunner to me tha' auld Mister Phillip be lying so still!" Gowan cast a longing glance at Mary Agnes' fine endowments. "Coorse, 'tis true tha' the sicht of a luvely breast cuid make a man do anything."

Mary Agnes ignored the less-than-subtle implication and went back to the tea trays, dismissing his narrative effort with, "Gae on wi' yere work, Gowan. Weren't ye supposed tae see tae the biler this mornin'? It wus fozling like my grannam last nicht."

At the girl's cool response, Gowan's heart sank. Surely the story about Mrs. Gerrard should have engaged Mary Agnes' imagination more than this, perhaps even encouraging her to request a row on the loch herself next full moon. With drooping shoulders, he shuffled towards the scullery and the creaking boiler within.

As if taking pity on him, however, Mary Agnes spoke again. "But aiven if Missus Gerrard wants, Mister Phillip winna coom back to her, laddie."

Gowan stopped in his tracks. "Why?"

"'That my body shinna lie on this cursit ground of Westerbrae,'" Mary Agnes quoted smartly. "That's what Mister Phillip Gerrard's will said. Mrs. Gerrard told me that herself. So, if yere story is true, she'll be at the windae forever if she hopes tae hae him back that way. He isna aboot to walk across th' water like Jesus. Dugs or no dugs, Gowan Kilbride."

Finishing her remarks with a restrained giggle, she went for the kettle to begin making the morning tea. And when she came back to the table to pour the water, she brushed so near him that his blood began to heat all over again.
Counting Mrs. Gerrard's, there were ten trays of morning tea to be delivered. Mary Agnes was determined to do them all without stumbling, spilling a drop, or embarrassing herself by walking in on one of the gentlemen while he was dressing. Or worse.

She had rehearsed her entry often enough for her debut as hotel maid. "Guid mornin'. Luvely day," and a quick walk to the table to set down the tea tray, careful to keep her eyes averted from the bed. "Juist in case," Gowan would laugh.

She went through the china room, through the curtain-shrouded dining room, and out into the massive entry hall of Westerbrae. Like the stairway at its far side, the hall was uncarpeted, and its walls were panelled in smoke-stained oak. An eighteenth-century chandelier hung from its ceiling, its prisms catching and diffracting a soft beam of light from the lamp Gowan always switched on early every morning on the reception desk. Oil, a bit of sawdust, and a residual trace of turpentine scented the air, speaking of the efforts Mrs. Gerrard was making to redecorate and turn her old home into an hotel.

Overpowering these odours, however, was a more peculiar smell, the product of last night's sudden, inexplicable flare of passion. Gowan had just come into the great hall with a tray of glasses and five bottles of liqueurs to serve to their guests when Mrs. Gerrard tore wildly out of her little sitting room, sobbing like a baby. The resulting blind collision between them had thrown Gowan to the floor, creating a mess of shattered Waterford crystal and a pool of alcohol a good quarter-inch deep from the sitting-room door stretching all the way to the reception desk beneath the stairs. It had taken nearly an hour for Gown to clean the mess up--cursing dramatically whenever Mary Agnes walked by--and all that time people had been coming and going, shouting and crying, pounding up the stairs and down every corridor.

What all the excitement had been about was something that Mary Agnes had never quite determined. She knew only that the company of actors had gone into the sitting room with Mrs. Gerrard to read through a script, but within fifteen minutes their meeting had dissolved into little better than a furious brawl, with a broken curio cabinet, not to mention the disaster with the liqueurs and crystal, as evidence of it.
Mary Agnes crossed the hall to the stairs, mounting them carefully, trying to keep her feet from thundering against the bare wood. A set of house keys, bouncing importantly against her right hip, buoyed her confidence.

"Knock quietly first," Mrs. Gerrard had instructed. "If there's no answer, open the door--use the master key if you must--and leave the try on the table. Open the curtains and say what a lovely day it is."

"And if 'tisna a luvely day?" Mary Agnes had asked impishly.

"Then pretend that it is."

Mary Agnes reached the top of the stairs, took a deep breath to steady herself, and eyed the row of closed doors. The first belonged to Lady Helen Clyde, and although Mary Agnes had seen Lady Helen help Gowan last night in the friendliest fashion with the spilled mess of liqueurs in the great hall, she wasn't confident enough to have her first-ever tray of early morning tea go to the daughter of an earl. There was too much chance of making a mistake. So she moved on, choosing the second room, whose occupant was far less likely to notice if a few drops of tea spilled onto her linen napkin.

There was no answer to her knock. The door was locked. Frowning, Mary Agnes balanced her tray on her left hip, and fumbled about with the keys until she found the master to the bedroom doors. This done, she unlocked the door, pushed it open, and entered, trying to keep all her rehearsed comments in mind.

The room, she discovered, was terribly cold, very dark, and completely soundless, where one would have expected at least the gentle hiss of the radiator at work. But perhaps the room's sole occupant had decided to pop into bed without turning it on. Or perhaps, Mary Agnes smiled to herself, she wasn't in the bed alone, but was snuggling up to one of the gentlemen under the eiderdown. Or more than snuggling. Mary Agnes stifled a giggle.

She walked to the table beneath the window, set down the tray, and pulled open the curtains as Mrs. Gerrard had instructed. It was not much after dawn, the sun only an incandescent sliver above the misty hills beyond Loch Achiemore. The loch itself shone silver, its surface a silky sheen upon which hills, sky, and the nearby forest were duplicated exactly. There were few clouds, just shredded bits like wisps of smoke. It promised to be a beautiful day, quite unlike yesterday with its bluster and storm.
"Luvely," Mary Agnes commented airily. "Guid mornin' tae ye."

She swung around from the curtains, straightened her shoulders to head back towards the door, and paused.

Something was wrong. Perhaps it was the air, too hushed as if the room itself had drawn in a quick breath. Or the odour it carried, rich and cloying, vaguely reminiscent of the scent that flew up when her mother pounded meat. Or the mounding of the bedcovers, as if pulled up in a hurry and left undisturbed. Or the absolute lack of movement beneath them. As if no one stirred. As if no one breathed . . .

Mary Agnes felt the bristling of hairs on the back of her neck. She felt rooted to the spot.

"Miss?" she whispered faintly. And then a second time, a bit louder, for indeed the woman might be sleeping very soundly. "Miss?"

There was no response.

Mary Agnes took a hesitant step. Her hands were cold, her fingers stiff, but she forced her arm forward. She jiggled the edge of the bed.

"Miss?" This third invocation brought no more reply than the previous two.

Seemingly on their own, her fingers curled round the eiderdown and began pulling it away from the figure beneath it. The blanket, feeling damp with that kind of bone-chilling cold that comes with a heavy winter storm, snagged, then slid away. And then Mary Agnes saw that horror had a life all its own.

The woman lay on her right side as if frozen, her mouth a rictus in the blood that pooled crimson about her head and shoulders. One arm was extended, palm up, as if in supplication. The other was tucked between her legs as if for warmth. Her long black hair was everywhere. Like the wings of ravens, it spread across the pillow; it curled against her arm; it soaked itself to a pulpy mass in her blood. This had begun to coagulate, so the crimson globues edged in black looked like petrified bubbles in a hell-broth. And in the centre of this, the woman was held immobilised, like an insect on a display board, impaled by the horn-handled dirk that plunged through the left side of her neck right into the mattress beneath her.

Continues...

Excerpted from Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth George. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Citrus More than 1 year ago
I do adore Elizabeth George and am now on my 4th book of hers but this one just kept me going round and round going back to check up on many similar sounding character names and who they were and why they were doing what they were doing. I prefer maybe 10 or so characters, not this merry-go-round of people all related, not related, you name it, they have or had been at one time to each other and the plot just keeps getting more complicated. Mind you, I adore being kept at attention by an author, but this story got to be irritating after a while. I would not say I'm not recomending it, far from it, just wish I had a better grasp of this huge cast of characters - all with a valid reason for murder! The "who-done-it" will be a good surprise - you won't have guessed it at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A mystery not only of murder but human pathos. A study in how we think others will wait till we are ready and what as people we will do to protect our selves Could not put it down.!! You really feel for the characters. George is a master at characterization and the complexity of humanity
WintersRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George continues to develop Inspector Thomas Lynley, Sergeant Barbara Havers as characters with depth. In this book she tweaks their growing, but fragile friendship, but also introduces Lynley's realization of his love for longtime friend, Lady Helen Clyde. Lynleyn's jealousy over Lady Helen's relationship with a murder suspect along with the influences of the inspector's blueblood heritage both threaten to undermine his and Havers' investigation of the murder of a well-known author. George's writing, her plotting with all its twists, and the growing insight into her two main characters combine to make this a page-turner you won't be able to put down.
patience_grayfeather on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lynley and Havers solve the murder of a playwright. Watching Lynley figure out the depth of his feeling for Lady Helen interested me more than the murder (murders, actually). I had trouble keeping track of the cast in this one.
Sinetrig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sir Walter Scott's, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!' certainly finds its truth in "Payment in Blood". A decades old hidden murder, a murder made to appear as a suicide, hidden affairs of the heart and other events, create the basis for this page-turnder suspenseful mystery story. Interestingly, the murders were not crimes of passion, but rather crimes of expediency to avoid disclosure of wrong-doing either on the part of the victim and/or the murderer. This is an intricately constructed story that neatly answers all questions at the end.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really loved and was moved by the first Inspector Lynley mystery by Elizabeth George, A Great Deliverance. I know that when I first read it some years ago, I then read several of the next books in the series, of which Payment in Blood is the second. Yet, unlike A Great Deliverance, which I still found memorable and impressive on second read, I really couldn't recall Payment in Blood at all even after finishing. Nor did this come close to moving me to tears as the first novel did, so I'd say this doesn't quite match the earlier book.Yet, on reading this, what struck me was just what a good writer I find Elizabeth George and how enjoyable it was reading her novel. The narrative really flows, the prose style is clean and more literate than what you usually find on the mystery aisle of the bookstore. George, like me, is an American, so I can't really know if she gets the details of British culture right, but it certainly is a skilful enough facsimile of the classic British murder mystery (of the locked room variety and set in a Scottish manor no less) to fool me.I also like the recurring characters of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. Both are interesting in their own right and especially in contrast and partnered together. Lynley is the wealthy titled suave golden boy, and Havers the dumpy working class gal with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. I liked their building working friendship, and that it is a friendship--one of those rare male/female fictional detective partnerships where the dynamic isn't romantic. And I like that even though both are good at their jobs that George shows both bring biases and baggage to their work. That investigating a crime isn't all about cerebral deductions but can be derailed by prejudices--and both in that respect balance the other. Who these people are matters; it's not just about them being dropped into a case and playing God. So, this is definitely an enjoyable and intelligently written mystery and I'll definitely be reacquainting myself with the series.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A London theatre group of actors visits Scotland for the weekend to stay at the director's sister's manor house turned hotel. The next morning the playwright is found stabbed to death in her bed with the door locked. Strangely, Scotland Yard is called in almost immediately and Lynley and Havers take over the case.The story starts off slowly and at first I was rather disappointed. Having really enjoyed A Great Deliverance I expected more than the Agatha Christie-like British cozy atmosphere of the first 100 pages. However, at page 99 (in my book) the case took a turn and it became the first of many twists and turns in the mystery. Also, the plot revolved heavily around the British class system which I found tedious. I really don't like the character of Helen. Every time she speaks I ask myself "Do people really speak like this?" And if a 'Lady' really does speak that way how could someone of Lynely's supposed intelligence fall for such pretense?Ultimately I'm of two minds with this book. I did enjoy it, but it's certainly not as good as A Great Deliverance. The mystery itself was fun and I enjoyed the supporting cast of characters. While I did find parts of it tedious it's not enough to deter me from trying the third book in this series. We'll see if I continue with the series after that
Oceanwings07 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A solid followup to "A Great Deliverance." I enjoyed reading the second Inspector Lynley installment, though there were a handful of side story lines which I think would make excellent books as well. It felt slower than AGD at points, but still had me hooked enough to read within two days. Bravo to Ms. George on another good read.
lauranav on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second in the Thomas Lynley series. We see growth in the relationship with Barbara Havers, the misfit assigned as his partner. We also get to see Lynley face the fact that he's in love with Helen Clyde. Helen happens to be with a group of actors at a remote country hotel in Scotland, gathered for a reading of a new play. The playwright is found murdered and someone decides Scotland Yard needs to be involved. Are they trying to disturb the scene and split the case to cover up something?With a blend of jealousy and the instincts that make him a good detective, Lynley goes off on what seem like tangents to Havers, who is quite positive Lord Stinhurst did it. Suspicion of the upper class comes naturally for her. Both work their separate theories and uncover two different stories that people wanted hidden. The number of characters was a bit confusing at first and I did make a list to help keep it straight, but most of it became pretty easy to keep up with as the characters were fleshed out. A good mystery and I look forward to the next one in the series.
hobbitprincess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second chronologically in the Lynley/Havers books. The pair are sent to Scotland to investigate a grisly murder that happens when a group of actors go to a new B and B to work on a play. Another murder takes place while there. As is typical of these mysteries, the plots are intricate and often hard to follow because different stories intertwine so. It all comes together in the end, however, in a masterful and clear way. Lynley gets personally involved in this one, something that clouds his judgment. Fortunately, Havers is there to keep it all straight.
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rating: 3.875* of fiveThe Book Report: Inspectory Thomas Lynley, aka the eighth Earl of Asherton, is a hard-working man, but even he likes a few days' rest after chasing from pillar to post in solving brutal crimes. His rest is denied him by a call from his boss, at home, on a Sunday: A murder has occurred, in Scotland, and *only* Lynley can be trusted to investigate because it involves a famous Peer of the Realm.Uh-oh.Yeah, uh-oh and in spades, as Lynley tromps ill-temperedly up to Scotland where Scotland Yard has no legal standing and no authority and no utility, except in the titled person of Lynley himself. He's quite clearly if subtly warned: Lord Stinhurst, eminence of the London theatrical world, isn't to be troubled about small things like guilt or innocence or such-like plebeian goings-on. He's to be softly and swiftly shuffled out of the line of fire. So what does Lynley do? He brings Sergeant Barbara Havers, well-known to have a classist chip on her shoulder, to assist him, and he allows her a *lot* of leeway to poke and snoop and generally cause discomfort to the comfortable uppercrusties. (I suspect Lynley, were he corporeal, would've worn a small, snarky smile throughout this investigation.)As the investigation proceeds, awful truths come out, lives are ruined, others are altered, and some few are lost; but no one is spared from the terrible cleansing fires of truth. Even those one might wish could be. No bond, no tie, no feeling is safe when Elizabeth George goes to work.My Review: Good stuff. Unless you don't like puzzles or suspense or characters so real you'd swear you have their cell numbers somewhere if you could just find 'em, don't hesitate to start this series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced. Interesting
MiserableLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lynley and Havers return in George¿s second novel of the New Scotland Yard team. The body of Joy Sinclair (!) is found in her bedroom, with an eighteen-inch dirk through the neck. Lynley finds himself torn and his judgment compromised, through both his blue-blood lineage and his jealousy over Helen¿s new lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Captivating
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super book. Brilliantly written. Thoroughly enjoyable to the very end. I am now a devoted fan of Ms. George and will soon own every book she has produced. Oh, and I would like to marry her if she’s free!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Just the kind of British mystery i like with interesting characters and a solid plot that kept me guessing! Smart and well written. Reminds me a little of martha grimes and pd james. I like lynley and havers. Good pair of detectives.
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boryk5 More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth George is a very good writer, easy to follow. I have just started the series, but I want more.
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