This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Series #16)

This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Series #16)

by Elizabeth George

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"George explores her characters' dreams and fears with a penetrating grace that makes reading her books a joy."
Washington Post Book World

"Elizabeth George reigns as queen of the mystery genre. The Lynley books constitute the smartest, most gratifyingly complex and impassioned mystery series now being published."
Entertainment Weekly

The spellbinding new Inspector Lynley novel from Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author of Careless in Red and What Came Before He Shot Her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061160912
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/25/2011
Series: Inspector Lynley Series , #16
Pages: 976
Sales rank: 164,825
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels of psychological suspense, one book of nonfiction, and two short story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and the MIMI, Germany's prestigious prize for suspense fiction. She lives in Washington State.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

February 26, 1949

Place of Birth:

Warren, Ohio


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

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This Body of Death 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 214 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
On compassionate leave, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley remains in Cornwell still grieving the murder of his wife. However, Metropolitan Police acting Superintendent Isabelle Ardery wants to be London's top cop without the acting label. To do so, she needs Lynley to eliminate a potential impediment. Someone murdered Jemima Hastings; the Hampshire native was found dead in a London cemetery. Whereas Lynley's team detests Ardery, they investigate the case. Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector John Stewart follow clues to New Forest where animals are welcome and people are not. Meanwhile Lynley returns to London to help solve the Hastings homicide. This is a terrific police procedural that reads more like a psychological suspense than a typical investigation story line. In London and in New Forest, suspects seem everywhere, which makes for a delightfully convoluted inquiry. Lynley is terrific as he grieves for his late spouse yet seems to understand his superior is much more than just an ambitions bi*ch. His team is also fascinating as everyone one of them loath Ardery as an aggressive SOB whose career supersedes case solving and compassion. The Body of Death is a great character driven English thriller. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you go back and look at Payment in Blood or one of the other early novels, you'll see what George has lost: a realization that we come back for the main characters and like to spend time with them. We do NOT care to spend time with the suspects and do not want to read hundreds of pages about their damaged lives. We want to be at the side of the detectives and see the case as they see it; one or more of them should be on virtually every page. George's recent books are more sociology than mystery, and she needs a good editor to rein her in; she has totally lost her way. The recent books are all overlong and boring. I am desperately trying to finish this one, skimming like crazy, pulling out the good scenes with Lynley, Ardery, Havers, St. James et al. I used to loan these books to friends, but I don't anymore...the last three have been a huge disappointment. Elizabeth George is not George Eliot, and mystery novels are not meant to be Victorian fiction. The plots should be simple and sharp, the detectives at center stage, the human interactions focused mainly on the characters we love. Think Stieg Larsson, Kate Atkinson, Louise Penny, PD James, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Peter Robinson. Elizabeth, I hope you're reading're writing your way to oblivion; Lynley and Havers deserve better.
whoizme88 More than 1 year ago
This book for me is not up to the level of Elizabeth George's series on Detective Inspector Lynley. Though the quality of writing is a bit off from the Lynley series it is a book that mystery readers will enjoy. Her quality is so high it is a little disappointing to read this one. She has different plots here and different characters, which are ok but not to the quality of the others, in my opinion. All in all a decent and good read. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
The body of a young woman is found, gruesomely murdered in an old cemetery in London. Nothing much to go on as far as identification except that she has one blue eye and one brown eye. The case is handed off to Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, a recent transfer to New Scotland Yard, and who has a chip on her shoulder. On compassionate leave, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley remains in Cornwell still grieving the murder of his wife. Isabelle Ardery wants to be London's top cop. To do so, she needs Lynley to eliminate a potential problem. Even though Lynley's team detests Ardery, they investigate the case anyway. Thomas and Isabelle are emotionally at odds, and although they would seem to make an unlikely couple, the two manage to form a bond.and so on and so forth.ENJOYED! Others favorites of mine are: PERFECT, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, RAINWATER, and THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARIS CLUB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I looked forward to this new Lynley book with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. The story evolved from the murder of a young woman from Hampshire in a London cemetery. Of course, along with the detectives we learned about her life, her friends, family and acquaintances in order for the crime to be solved. Once again, the supporting characters and details make interesting reading. I also enjoyed learning about life in the New Forest. This author always brings rich detail to her stories. Throughout the book, the author used a different typeface to insert the story of a horrific crime committed by three young boys against a toddler. The details appear to be taken right from the newspaper as they are similar to the James Bulger case, including the special dock created to allow the young defendants to see the proceedings. As usual the details of how the system worked in their apprehension, questionning and trial all appear to be accurate based on news accounts. I admit that during the read I sometimes felt these accounts were an intrusion but in the end it worked well in parallel to the story to provide necessary context to explain events in a creative way. While the subject of life after the commission of a crime isn't new to this author or in general, the fact that she weaves it into the story of familiar characters makes it perhaps more successful than either Ruth Rendell or P.D. James. The book reintroduces Isabella Ardery into the mix. She was trying out for Webberley's old position. Her tryout was remarkably unsuccessful though she is given a second chance with Lynley's intervention and his promise to return full time. If not for the efforts of Havers, Lynley and the other detectives, it is unlikely the case would have been solved as Ardery's performance as the "guv" was so poor. She was depicted in a poor light as a unit leader. She was dismissive of her detectives' suggestions, disdainful and argumentative. It is not credible that she would be given another opportunity to lead the unit even if though it keeps her in the picture as a romantic interest for Lynley. It was clear that Lynley was much more suited to the role and one wonders if Ardery could perform successfully without his help. It was interesting to see Lynley in action with an attractive female co-worker because, of course, his approach to late night discussion and dinner to discuss the case reminded me of Havers disdain for his reputation for that exact behavior with attractive co-workers when they were first partnered together. I did miss their partnership on this case and if there are future installments, I hope that they will work together again. It seems likely since if Ardery is to be the boss I would assume she would act less the case detective in the future. I enjoyed the interaction between Lynley, St. James and Deb. It struck the right note of long time friends. Ardery's perception that they communicated in short hand was a good view of a newcomer's perspective of an established relationship. I also am interested to see where we go next in Havers life with the return of Hadiyyah's mother. I can't help but assume that Havers closest friends will have less time for her now. It seemed that her home with its proximity to her friends home had become a welcome place for her. I admit to feeling sad that she will once again be alone and her relationship with Azhar is not likely to develop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasnt the same man. Angst only goes so far in modern novels and some series just dont make it back except for the die hard reader m.a.@sparta
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is another good book from George, but a little too wordy. Could have easily knocked out at least 150 pages and lost nothing in either suspense or plot. I had a little trouble believing in some of the characters in this book...not a problem I've had before with her other Linley stories. I mistakenly ordered the large print edition...easy to read but impossible to take anywhere!
Donna-Read More than 1 year ago
I've read all 15 of the Inspector Lynley Series and I thought this was a great read. I ignored all sorts of things I should be doing to read this in a few days. I agree with a couple of previous reviews that Helen should not have been killed in a previous book, but she was so if you like that other characters you'll still want to read the next in the series. The one thing I didn't like was the relationship with Lynley and Ardrey - just didn't seem like him. As some of the other reviewers noted I would also like more of Deborah and Simon St.James. All in all though I couldn't put it down.
LexiBird More than 1 year ago
This book is consistent with the series, but not one of my favorites. Linley comes across appropriately as a widower emerging from a state of mourning, and believably as the politically savvy and mildly reluctant inspector. Although Simon and Deborah St James make several appearances, their roles are minimal; I would love to see them add more complexity to the storylines, both professionally and socially. Havers remains a sad scapegoat for negative images--rather surprising from a woman author--but there are subtle indications that her deeper character may be emerging slowly. Visions of the countyside are pleasantly evoked, providing a nice contract to London. Overall, however, the elements are not terribly fulfilling: character development is very slow, both new and old characters are fussy and unlovable, and the storylines are mild and unfulfilling. Nice, long read, beautifully written grammatically, but uninspring.
Elishka More than 1 year ago
Will someone please get a decent editor for Ms George? Oh, wait, these are the same people who advised her to pen "What Came Before He Shot Her," a woefully depressing and plodding tale that didn't need to be told in the first place. And here we have many of the same characters again: (1) children of impoverished circumstances and even worse parents who end up being bullies (at the least) and criminals at the worst; (2) at least one sadistic SOB who uses sex as a weapon of control; (3) at least one promiscuous young woman who started her sexual exploits early on due to a great trauma; (4) political games in the upper echelons of New Scotland Yarn; (5) a female rising to a management position who is devoid of emotion because she's conscientious of being in "a man's world" -- and no surprise that she's not liked by anyone; (6) several other "colorful" characters whose stories are told ad nauseum before we even need to hear them, and whose background turns out to be mostly irrelevant; (7) sexual exploits of any number of adults which have little or nothing to do with the story, (8) minutiae about a particular occupation -- roof thatching in this book, surfing in "Careless in Red" -- which has little to do with the plot in the end . . . the list is too long to reiterate. Suffice it to say that it takes entirely too long to get to the meat of this story which is merely that Lynley is back at work a mere five months after his wife's death. The earlier novels in the Lynley/Havers series were interesting to read because there was a need to develop the central characters against the background of the various mysteries that need to be solved. As readers we are are five years away from the shocking death of Lynley's wife ("With No One as Witness" was released in 2005); we deserve a story that goes beyond this amateurish rehash of characters and social commentary. If Elizabeth George doesn't have anywhere to go with her main characters, then she should leave off writing about them. Here's the plot: A girl is found dead in a North London cemetary. The interim superintendant convinces Lynley to return to the team. The interim superintendant, in an effort to look good for the job, makes an early arrest of the wrong person. Lynley, Havers, Nkata, St. James (the usual squad) solve the crime by their usual cooperative work. While numerous suspects are proposed and lots of people are interviewed, the rest of the story is just a bunch of characters we've read about previously and they don't add much to the overall story. It's a yawn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was somewhat disappointing in that it wasn't up to Elizabeth George's usual standards; however, that bar is set so high, even though this one doesn't measure up, it's still superior to most crime fiction out there. Some characters are disappointing...they behave uncharacteristically (Lyndley) or are poorly written (Isabelle, who flip-flops between trite writing and three-dimensional development. Not a consistently imagined character). Barbara Havers is the exception - she continues to grow (and delight) in nuanced fashion. The language in the book is also flawed - a few absolutely cliched metaphors that cause the reader to wince. The plot is dense and unfolds slowly enough that the reader will find that he/she can anticipate the next development and be pulled along the path of the mystery knowingly, but without resentment that it was too easy or hard to grasp. Slightly "tighter" writing could have helped the story keep a more sustained pace. BTW, I'm a fan who appreciates that in the past Ms. George has taken great risks with her characters. I don't blame her at all for events in past books that disappointed other readers. If anything, that sense of edgy I-didn't-see-that-coming suspense is totally lacking from this book, to its detriment.
upstairsgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was diverting, and mostly fun to read. The backstory, which is delivered in the form of a moralizing and unprofessionally-written "expert" "report" is gruesome and also profoundly boring, and it both slows the story down and adds unnecessary heft to the book. Although it's meant to explain plot points that crop up at the denouement - and, as such, takes waaaaaay to much time to connect itself up with the main body of the novel - it's both carrying more weight than it can shoulder, and not essential enough to the plot to justify the amount of time devoted to it throughout the novel. The office politics at Scotland Yard are as tiresome as ever, and they supply the unnecessarily contrived means by which Lynley is convinced to return to work after the death of his wife. The mystery itself is interesting, with plenty of red herrings and lots of crazy. I don't love George's way of jumping from head to head in her novels, but she does use it to good effect, and she definitely keeps the reader guessing as to what everyone's up to, even if it's clear that that's what she's doing while she's doing it. Comic Relief Havers learns to put on makeup and wear skirts AND repair runs in her nylons, and while her sartorial style has always been an irritating plot point (for the love of small animals, it's not 1988 anymore, could she get some different ugly shoes already, perhaps?) it's at its most absurd here. Either her employer cares how she dresses or it doesn't (and, inexplicably, in this universe it clearly doesn't or she'd have been fired already), but pick one and stick with it. I enjoyed the mystery, but the seams were somehow really showing for me this time around.
LauraEHerndon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth George's books mirror our flawed society as it is, exposing the convoluted pattern of individual motivations and how past events and actions affect everything forward. In This Body of Death the author brings back Lynley, Havers and other familiar faces while introducing a new character in the form of Acting Superintendent Ardery, a complex and driven woman with her own secrets. The focus is on the disappearance of a young woman. Her friend and brother strongly suspect her former lover, yet he oddly does little to explain her abrupt termination of their relationship or defend himself from their suspicions. George weaves into the narrative reports from a seemingly unrelated but hideous crime previously committed by three juveniles. The ultimate connection of both cases is stunning but somehow has the feel of inevitability. There are no obvious solutions to the issues that are addressed in this novel, just as few of the characters are ever simple in their thoughts and actions. This is a thought provoking book that challenges the reader to examine his or her own perceptions of how justice is best served.
Lisianthus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George's best in a long time. Keeps you gripped.
pak6th on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lynley, Havers, and Nkata have a new "guv", Isabelle Ardery and together they investigate the stabbing death of a woman in a London cemetery. Their inquiries take Havers and Nkata to New Forest, the home of ponies and thatched cottages and inns. Interspersed with this story is the report of another crime, that of the abduction and murder of a toddler by three young boys. George keeps the stories going and the tension grows between the investigators about which clues are important and which are red herrings until the puzzle pieces come together to reveal the killer. Fans of the Lynley series will love this one: Havers struggles with dressing professionally, and Lynley has a new car!
larraine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm 2/3 of the way through this book. It's riveting! However so are her others. I love Elizabeth George and Inspector Lynley. Highly recommend!
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book, but unlike some others that have reviewed it, I did not hate the previous two books either. Yes, it was difficult reading them (especially the one where Helen gets murdered, but George is such a wonderful writer that I just love to read all her books. This book has a lot of surprises in it, like most Elizabeth George books, and she blends the past and the present in a very unique way. But the mystery is a good one and the writing is stellar. There is a lot of Barbara Havers in this one too, so that's a bonus for me because I really do like the character. As usual her bright and analytical mind get her into hot water. There is a lot to take in in the book, and it's meant to be savoured. That is indeed Ms. George's gift. I loved the book and I love her characters! There are even a couple of very likable dogs in the book. What more can you ask for?
Twink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Body of Death is the sixteenth book in the Inspector Thomas Lynley series. It picks up a mere three months from the last book. This is one of the appeals of George's novels - they happen in almost 'real time'.Lynley is still recovering from a personal tragedy and is on leave from Scotland Yard. The acting superintendent, Isabelle Ardery, has alienated much of the team in her short stay. In an effort to win a permanent place, she asks Thomas to help with their latest case. A beautiful young woman has been found brutally murdered in a isolated cemetery. The clues point to the New Forest area, a community in a rural area. Two of the team - Winston Nkata and Barbara Havers are sent to follow up. Havers, Lynley's former partner, is one of my favourite characters. She is the antithesis to Lynley (who is actually a Lord.) Barbara doesn't give a fig for her appearance, smokes too much and bucks authority as much as she can without losing her job. But she is a determined investigator and her persistence usually pays off.The book opens with a partial report from an unnamed author documenting a criminal act. Further parts of the report appear throughout the book, revealing more with each entry. Although seemingly unrelated, this element plays an integral part in the plot. And what a plot George has crafted! Multi layered and complex, it had me guessing right up to the end. Seemingly innocuous comments or observations often prove germane, so you definitely don't want to speed read. And I never do with any of George's books. For me they're a treat to be savoured.While the plotting is fantastic, the characters play just as big a part of the book for me. After fifteen novels, I am quite invested in these recurring characters. I was actually quite upset with George when she 'tampered' with their lives in a way I didn't like in a previous book. The ending of This Body of Death has opened the door to many other changes, some that I am not looking forward to, others that I hope that I hope will develop. Nothing is predictable or static in the world of Inspector Lynley, each book is fresh.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading a cozy, British-style mystery by Elizabeth George can be compared to having a full, rich-bodied red wine ¿ Meritage, perhaps, rather than a cheaper, thinner variety. Or having a mousse-filled torte instead of a plain chocolate cake. She belongs in her genre, and yet provides a richer, more satisfying expression of it than many other authors of her kind.This latest volume in the series involving Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of the London Metropolitan Police can be fully understood without having read earlier books in the series, but with a series I generally prefer to start at the beginning to see the characters develop over time. Additionally, now when I pick up the next volume (and this is the 16th!) I feel as if I am reuniting with old friends.My imaginary pals in this series consist not only of Lynley but of his two closest friends, Simon St. James and his wife Deborah, and his closest work colleagues, Detective Sargeants Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata. Barbara has wonderful neighbors ¿ Taymullah Azhar and his daughter Hadiyyah, whom you can¿t help but love. A new character is added this time: Isabelle Ardery, who arrived to take over as acting department head when Lynley took time off for compassionate leave after the murder of his wife five months previously.Acting Detective Superintendent Ardery is 38, divorced, and nice looking. Thomas Lynley, whom Ardery calls back to work to help her transition, is good-looking and now single. He is not like the other police; he is an Earl, for one thing, who doesn¿t really need this job. As Ardery observes:"[people of Lynley¿s kind] went into nightclubs and stayed till dawn, they skied in the Alps ¿ French, Italian, or Swiss, what did it matter? ¿ and they traveled to places like Portofino or Santorini or other multisyllabic Mediterranean, Ionian, or Aegean locations endings in vowels. But they didn¿t work at ordinary jobs, and if they did because they needed the money, they certainly didn¿t choose to be coppers.¿The urbane Lynley shows his good breeding on every occasion without being snobbish or even unlikeable. Ardery commandeers him to be her partner. You can guess what happens. The problem is, no one [else] likes Ardery ¿ not the other police, and not even we the readers. But Lynley¿s private life, as compelling as it might be, is not the focus of this book. Rather, it is the brutal stabbing of a young girl ¿ Jemima Hastings - in a London cemetery. [I was curious and checked: Jemima is a fairly common name in Great Britain, where the association with ¿Aunt Jemima¿ is not part of the culture.] The author throws red herrings and twists in our path as we follow the trail along with the detectives on the case. It isn¿t a rushed process, as the book is quite long, but my interest never flagged. And George even manages to make some fun of her genre along the way. When Lynley goes to the British Museum to learn more about an old coin found with the dead girl that seems important, the curator says to him:"¿Never thought I¿d be talking to a cop. Read masses of mysteries and detective novels, I do. Who d¿you reckon you¿re more like, then, Rebus or Morse?¿`I have a fatal proclivity for vintage vehicles,¿ Lynley admitted.`Morse it is.¿ ¿ So. What c¿n I do for you, then, Inspector Lynley?¿¿Nota Bene: [The curator is referring to two U.K. mystery series: Colin Dexter¿s popular novels about Chief Inspector Morse, and Ian Rankin¿s even more popular novels about Inspector Rebus.]One of the subthemes of this book is that of abused children, and the effects of that abuse, both of which George limns in some detail. I particularly was struck by this observation:"Abused children carry abuse forward through time. This is the unthinkable gift that keeps on giving. Study after study underscores this conclusion¿"The assorted themes and subplots come together at the end, of course, but the author also leaves some character deve
kiwifortyniner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read and enjoyed all Elizabeth George's novels and this one was no different. I lke all the main characters in her stories and follow with interest the developments in their lives.This story happens only a short time after the last book and Inspecor Lynley is still on compassionate leave after the death of his wife. He is called back into work to show the ropes to Isabelle Ardery who wants the job as Department Chief. There is much tension in the team as members of the team do not trust the new boss and only Lynley is able to see beneath the persona she portrays to what lies beneath.. In this book the team are investigating the death of a young woman in a cemetery in London but leads take them to the area of the New Forest where the old craft of thatching is still in use and strangers are not welcome. Nkata and Havers investigate this end of the case while the others work in London. The book is multi layered and complex with two seemingly unrelated stories. Characters are not who they seem and the story kept me guessing right till the end. I really enjoyed it. I loved the little details woven in especially Barbara Havers being taken shopping by her next door neighbour's daughter to buy more sutable clothes to please the new boss. I wonder how long she wore them!!!
dwhapax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written, compelling characters. Decent structure. But as I do not like the genre will not read another. (Too many things to skim over so as to avoid gruesomeness.)
Clea_Simon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My least favorite Lynley novel, largely due to the inclusion of a new and very unsympathetic character.
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, I thought I might dislike the book--too many plots and characters. Then suddenly, my opinion changed and I am thoroughly enjoying another book by Elizabeth George. Sometimes, I feel that her writing improves with each book. The two main plots involve a killing of a toddler by three teen boys and the brutal murder of a young woman. As each stroy unfolds, I am more engrossed in the novel. Elizabeth George brings into the story the psychological aspects of each of the crimes. The reader learns the how and why. Elizabeth George is also a master of setting, such as the cemetery scene and the wild ponies and the art of roof thatching. George has written many novels, but she does not churn out one each year. Her novels delve into class differences such as Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley, and of course, the new department chief Isabelle Ardery, whom I despise. Old characters are seen fleetingly, such as Deborah and Simon. An excellent novel.
MissReadsTooMuch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best Elizabeth George mystery in too long - a complex, psychological mystery with really strong characters. The writing was great - the mystery well-thought out. Loved having Barbara Havers carry her own story line in the novel but couldn't give the book five stars as I was disappointed with the character Isabelle Ardery, the new department chief, who was not sympathetic and not good at her job. This led me to really not like the turn Inspector Lynley took toward the end of the novel. I hope George has something in mind where this storyline is going because his actions didn't seem entirely real, either professionally or personally.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't read the parts in italic. They're upsetting -- I almost put the book aside -- and you don't need them.