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This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Series #16)

Average Rating 4
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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    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 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.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    This is a good read

    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'"

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Help Wanted: Competent Editor

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Loamy Lynley

    I am a huge fan of Elizabeth George and all her Lynley novels. I applaud her for keeping her recurring characters, Lynley, Havers, St. James, et al, fresh and relevant, book after book. She simultaneously satisfies the fans who want the familiarity of their favorite characters, and the other fans who want to see them change over time and through trials and tribulations. And certainly she's put Lynley and his Scooby Gang through the ringer. Death, disgrace, despair, dementia and that's just the d's. This Body of Death is no different from her others. She combines the familiar crowd with a guest cast of real people (as opposed to "characters") and then puts them all in a blender with a scoopful of crazy, a pinch of danger, a dollop of horror and hits the PUREE button! George is a fan favorite and unfortunately this has lead her to honor their pleas for longer novels. She has acquiesced and made This Body far longer than it needs to be with needless, meandering descriptions of food, pet antics, pastoral scenes, and more. Too many more. I, an avid fan, loved the extra helpings of minutae, but not everyone will. If you have not read the other Lynley novels, you will feel lost as the rich history of all the recurring characters is frequently referenced with no explanation for the uninitiated. But if you're a Lynley-phile like me, you will love this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    Where has Lynley gone?

    Yes this book was enjoyable and a quick read but what has happened to Thomas Lynley? This post Helen character seems a bit confused and to have blurred the lines between professional and private man. It is the first time that his judgement is impaired. I was truly disappointed in him.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Better than the last one

    After reading the dissapointing Careless in Red, I was ready for Lynley/Havers and team to return. This book is good and has a great plot but the author spends way too much time with the supporting cast. Where was Tommy in all this? Not in the book as much as I wanted. We meet a new very unlikable boss who seems to have no respect for the talent of the team. Tommy shows up here and there and ends up spending way too much with her in and out of the office. That does not seem to be his style. Its only been 5 months since he lost Helen,and being the classy guy that he is the first person he gets involved with is her!!!! Fortunately Barbara Havers is represented well in the book with her talent and dress code. The author needs to remember that the fans love the two main characters. Don't mess up too much with them. Stop telling us about thatching a roof. Too much wasted time in the book with unimportant tales.
    I did like it but way too long of a read that probably could have been about 200 pages less.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Losing her edge?

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Can't get over the death of the Inspector's wife SORRY!

    The Inspector's wife was such a beloved character that when Ms George kill3ed her off many, many people, including myself took it personally.
    Crazy HUH! Her novels will never be the same nor shall I ever read them.
    SORRY!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    This is not her best effort. Too long on extraneous detail and t

    This is not her best effort. Too long on extraneous detail and too short on plot.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Love the characters, Hate the perversion

    I have read every one of the Inspector Lynley books. In each book the characters are further developed. After reading all of them, I feel I know the characters in person. The problem is, as much as I love the characters, each of these books has some sort of sexual perversion in it, which turns me off. I have stopped reading other authors for the same reason, so I don't expect to be a fan much longer. There are other types of mystery. Find a new plot line, please.

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  • Posted August 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyed this book, but.....

    I always enjoy Eliz. George, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. This was a very good mystery though a little more Thomas and Barbara would have been appreciated. However, it would have greatly benefited from fewer descriptive pages, like 150-200 fewer. There were so many times I was screaming to myself- get on with it, Ms. George!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    Not My Favorite

    This is definitely not Elizabeth George's best effort. Very slow, and no memorable characters. I bought the audiobook and was very disapointed that Donata Peters was not the reader, though I like John Lee in general. Interesting touch to intersperse a true story, but it was confusing until I realized what she was doing. As usual, her launguage and extensive vocabulary were delightful, and it is wonderful to have Lynley back, but the long wait between novels might not have been worth it this time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    Elizabeth George did not write this book!

    I'm only one tenth through the book and I know Ms. George has hired a surrogate
    writer. It was bad enough when Lady Helen was killed off, yet much to my surprise "Careless in Red" was wonderful. Now it is as though one of my favorite novelists
    has been "knocked off" as well. Please come back, Elizabeth

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    Posted May 13, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2010

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    Posted June 12, 2010

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    Posted May 12, 2010

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    Posted June 26, 2010

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    Posted June 22, 2011

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    Posted April 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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