Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Mystery Monday with Inspector Lynley



While working at the bookstore I noticed the author Elizabeth George in our mystery section. As we were not allowed to really do anything but tidy I would rebel by reading the synopsis on book jackets.  I became intrigued by the main characters - Inspector Lynley and Sargent Havers. Thomas Lynley is part of the upper class of society, wealthy and very handsome. Barbara Havers is from the working class side of London, living at home with her elderly and ill parents, and is an outsider in general.  When Havers cannot seem to get along with her co-workers she is paired with Lynley as her last chance.  Before the two can protest, they are thrown into their first case.

THE GREAT DELIVERENCE
(Inspector Lynley: #1)
Written by Elizabeth George
1988, 419 Pages
Bantam Books
Genre: mystery, british, suspense, police

★★★★

READ in 2011

Roberta Teys - an overweight, plain and lonely woman - is found in the barn wearing her best dress with an axe on her lap.  Next to her is the body of her father - headless.  She claims she has killed him and has no regrets.  After Roberta is sent to an asylum, Havers and Lynley began investigating the case.  As the two work together they clash...yet, they slowly began to work well as a team.  Havers identifies with Roberta's life and Lynley looks at people and situation around the case.  William Tyes might be well liked by the community...his wife did abandon him and their two daughters.  And later, his eldest daughter ran away.  What was exactly happening in the Tyes household? 

A wonderful "old-time detective" mystery story that keeps you engaged every moment.  This is the first book in the Inspector Thomas Lynley series that teams up the Oxford educated Inspector with Barbara Havers, a working-class Sargent. I really enjoyed all the characters in the books and how they relate to one another.  After saying all that if you are expecting a cozy mystery...move on.  This is a gritty book with realistic murders - but once you get into the book I dare you to stop. This is one book I can still remember 5 years later in detail.


PAYMENT IN BLOOD
(Inspector Lynley: #2)
Written by Elizabeth George
1989, 432 Pages
Bantam Books
Genre: mystery, british, suspense, police

★★★1/2

READ in 2011

In this novel, Inspector Lynley and Sargent Havers go to Scotland at a B&B to solve the murder of the playwright, Joy Sinclair.  Not only is Lynley surprised to see Lady Helen there, but it seems her room was the entry to the victim's.  While Lynley focuses his jealousy and case on Helen's lover, Havers is looking at the well-to do Lord Stinhurst.  With all the suspects in one place pointing fingers at each other, Havers and Lynley must solve this one quickly...before there is another victim.

The synopsis of this novel feels like a plot from the 1930s or 1940s detective series.  I enjoyed the further adventures of Havers and Lynley, and seeing them in action.  The banter keeps them a bit light as they solve a murder.  I am not a big fan of Helen and so was not impressed with her larger role in this book.  BUT I am still down to read this series.


FIVE YEARS LATER... 

I know it seems like I did not really like the series, as I waited 5 years to continue with the third book, but it is more of a "too many book, not enough time" syndrome.  I FINALLY got to book three this month when a friend and I did a buddy read.  As soon as I started the book I was hooked, again!


WELL-SCHOOLED IN MURDER
(Inspector Lynley: #3)
Written by Elizabeth George
1989, 432 Pages
Bantam Books
Genre: mystery, british, suspense, police

★★★1/2

Thirteen year old, Matthew Whately is missing from his prestige school, Bredgar Chambers.  When his parents are contacted they realize that Matthew didn't go away for the weekend with his schoolmate.  He has been missing since Friday.  Before the case can heat up his naked tortured body is found by Deborah St James, longtime friend of Lynley.  Lynley and Havers were on the missing person case due to Lynley's school "friendship" with Bredgar Chamber's housemaster.  From the beginning nothing in this case makes sense and the secrets within the school and community is ironclad.  Lynley must use his own experiences to navigate between students and faculty.  

While this book takes place in the late 1980s, it doesn't feel overly dated...the lack of technology in everyday life helps to make the suspense even greater.  I also liked that this book was balanced quite well with the case and the personal issues of the main characters.  Deb, who not only finds the body, is trying to heal after her miscarriage but instead it brings up guilt and secrets between her and Simon.  After spending most of the day trying to solve this case, Havers comes home to a new crisis.  Her mother's forgetfulness is getting worse and it is now affecting the care of her father.  How can she take care of her personal and professional life at once? Lynley is heartbroken over Helen's refusal and quick departure.  He needs this case to keep his loneliness and sadness at bay. As Lynley, Havers and Simon try to solve this case we also get a glimpse of their own humanness.  This book had me grasping at suspects even when I wasn't completely sure of their motive.  I did guess a bit of the conclusion but not for the right reasons - so I am not sure that counts, lol.  

I really recommend this mystery series to anyone that loves good suspense and characterization.

*All three novels are available in paperback, tradepaper, audiobooks and ebooks on Amazon.

k (My Novelesque Life)
 

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