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This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Series #16)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

great character driven English thriller

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...
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

posted by harstan on March 2, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

You will skim this book...it is bloated and meandering, and has forgotten the first rule of a good mystery: the plot should be simple, and the main characters complex. Here we get too much backstory and not enough time with the characters we love.

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 rea...
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 this...you're writing your way to oblivion; Lynley and Havers deserve better.

posted by 426574 on May 28, 2010

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Very Disappointing Book

    I have enjoyed most of Elizabeth George's books, I really liked Careless In Red which many readers did not like at all. Probably the only book of hers that I really disliked was What Came Before He Shot Her. It might be true to say that George is one of my favorite authors so I was looking forward to this new one and disliked it so much that I put it down and will not finish it. First of all I can't handle reading about crimes committed against innocent children. I remember studying the mystery story genre when I was in college and one of the prime requisites of a good mystery is that the murder victim must be disliked by the reader. I ask you who can stomach the idea of murdering a three year old child. Admittedly this was a very minor part of the story but it turned me off right at the very beginning.
    Secondly, this book was way too long with so many minor characters popping up I couldn't keep up with them all. I enjoy reading about the major characters, Lynley and Barbara Havers but this book didn't do justice to them. I would rather go back and reread George's earlier books than try to plow through another tedious read like this.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I received this novel as a gift. This is my first time reading

    I received this novel as a gift. This is my first time reading sharing her work.
    Synopsis:
    The first case we hear about is the case of the murder of John Dresser. Three boys are accused of the crime. Pieces from this case are woven throughout the novel. The other case is the murder of Jemima Hastings. Acting Inspector Superintendent Isabelle Ardery has asked Thomas Lynley to help out in the investigation and help her work with his team. He consents to assist in the investigation that seems a little over Isabel’s head. Meredith Powell who is a friend of Jemima’s also conducts her own investigation focusing on Gordon Jossie and Gina Dickens. Gordon is one of Jemima’s exboyfriends who seems very suspicious. Who killed Jemima? Will inspector Lynley be able to help Isabelle?
    My Thoughts:
    When I first saw this novel I couldn’t believe how long it was. I feel that I should give you some background on the Inspector Lynley novels, and this is the sixteenth novel in the series. This series is set in London England in the Scotland Yard police force. Lynley is an Inspector but doesn’t really need to work because of his family’s wealth. The other location is Hampshire where Jemima Hastings used to live.
    This novel was a little on the long side for me. I had a hard time with staying interested. I felt like I needed a notebook to keep track of all of the characters. My favorite character was Barbara Havers. She is the partner of Inspector Linley with her own style. This character acted as comic relief throughout this novel. I think it would be highly doubtful that I would find it worth it to read another.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Good read, but. . .

    This is the first Elizabeth George novel that I have read, though I have watched Inspectory Lynley on PBS. This book was interesting and drew me in, but it did get a bit tedious and drawn out.

    What annoyed me most with the book - and why I won't read another of her novels - is that she uses the word "RECKON" on every page, up to three times. Sometimes twice in a paragraph. This may seem like nothing, but it bogs down the novel. And as I said it gets annoying: "He reckoned", "I reckon", "She reckoned". I couldn't wait to finish the novel, not to find out "who-dunit", but to stop reading the word "reckon". Someone in the editorial department dropped the ball on this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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