A Banquet of Consequences (Inspector Lynley Series #19)

A Banquet of Consequences (Inspector Lynley Series #19)

by Elizabeth George

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451467850
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Series: Inspector Lynley Series , #19
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 104,157
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen psychological suspense novels, three young adult novels, one book of nonfiction, and two short-story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, as well as several other prestigious prizes. She lives in Washington State.

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

THIRTY-NINE MONTHS BEFORE

8 DECEMBER

SPITALFIELDS

LONDON

Since it was only to be a weekend jaunt to Marrakesh, Lily Foster reckoned they could use one suitcase, and a carry-on at that. What did they need to take, really? It had been deadly cold, grey, and wet in London since the middle of November, but it wasn’t going to be that way in North Africa. They would spend most of their time lounging round the pool, anyway, and when they weren’t doing that, they’d be getting romantic in their room, for which, obviously, they needed no clothes at all.

Packing took less than ten minutes. Sandals, summer trousers, a tee-shirt for William. Sandals, a clingy frock, and a scarf for her. Swimming suits for them both and a few other essentials. That was it. Then began the wait, which—confirmed by a glance at the plastic wall clock ticking away above the cooker—should have been less than thirty minutes. But it stretched instead into more than two hours during which time she texted him and she phoned him as well, only to receive no response. Just his pleasant voice saying “This is Will. Tell me and I’ll tell you back,” to which she said, “Where are you, William? I thought the job was only in Shoreditch. And why’re you still there in this rotten weather? Ring me soon as you get this, okay?”

Lily went to the window. The afternoon was spitting rain outside, the sky dark and angry with erupting clouds. In the best of weather, this particular housing estate was grim: a mixture of filthy brick blocks of flats tossed by the handful across a level plain, which was crisscrossed by cracked and heaving pavements that the residents ignored in favour of trudging across a dying patchwork of lawns. In weather like this, the place looked like a death trap and what was at risk of extermination was hope. They didn’t belong here, and Lily knew it. It was bad for her; it was worse for William. But it was what they could afford for now, and it was where they would remain until she built her business larger than what it was and William had his own on firmer footing.

That part was tricky: William’s business. He regularly argued with his clients, and people didn’t like that when they were paying someone to work for them.

“You do have to take on board what people think,” she kept telling him.

“People,” he countered, “need to stay out of my way. I can’t concentrate when they yammer at me. Why don’t they get that? It’s not like I don’t tell them straightaway.”

Well, yes, right, Lily thought. Telling people was part of the problem. William needed to stop doing that.

Lily frowned down at the street. There was no one on the pavements below, certainly no William with his collar up, making a dash from his car to the narrow tower that contained their building’s lift. Instead there was only a woman on a balcony of the block of flats sitting at an angle to theirs. She was gathering laundry in her arms, her bright yellow sari whipped by the wind. As for the rest of the buildings’ balconies with their lines of dispirited laundry and their children’s toys and their few haggard-looking plants and—always—their satellite dishes, whatever they contained was being left to fend for itself in the weather.

Through the window Lily could dimly hear the unrelenting city noise: the squeal of tyres on wet pavement as a car took a corner too swiftly, the metallic roar of a building site where yet something else was being redeveloped nearby but out of view, the siren of an ambulance on its way to hospital, and, much closer, the thump thunka thump of a too-loud bass underscoring someone’s musical preference.

She texted William again. After two minutes of no response, she rang him as well. She said, “William, you must be getting my texts. Unless . . . Oh damn it, you haven’t got your mobile on silent again, have you? You know I hate it when you do that. And this is important. I don’t like to say but . . . Oh hell, hell, hell. Look. I’ve a surprise planned for our anniversary. I know, I know. You’ll say ten months can’t be an anniversary but you know what I mean, so don’t be difficult. Anyway, this surprise involves our being somewhere at a particular time, so if you’re just not replying because you’re playing silly buggers for some reason, please ring me back.”

And then there was nothing to do but to wait. She watched the minutes tick by and she tried to reassure herself that they had plenty of time to get to Stansted. All William had to do, really, was walk in the door because she had their passports in her bag, she had the tickets printed already, and every plan that needed to be made when one journeyed to another country even for a weekend had been made by her.

She realised that she should have told him that morning. But he’d been displeased with how the job in Shoreditch was shaping up, and she hadn’t liked to break into his thoughts. Sometimes his clients took a bit of work on his part to bring on board, for even when William had a superb idea that he knew would work on their property, people liked to be in charge of things, even when they hired an expert, which was definitely what William Goldacre was. Expert, visionary, artist, and labourer. Give him your weed-choked garden and he worked magic.

When she finally saw his ancient Fiesta rounding the corner from Heneage Street, she had been waiting for him for four hours, and the Marrakesh plan was shot to hell. The money was wasted, they were stuck, and Lily was looking for someone to blame.

Where had he been? What had he been doing? Why hadn’t he answered his bloody phone? Had he just done that early on—it was one simple thing, William—she could have told him about her plans and advised him to meet her at the airport. They could have even now been sitting happily shoulder to shoulder on that stupid plane as it winged them towards sunshine and a weekend of simple pleasure.

Lily was winding herself up as he got out of his car. She was choosing her words. Inconsiderate and thoughtless were at the top of her list. But then she caught sight of his face as he passed under one of the street lamps. She saw the set of his shoulders, and the way he walked towards the lift in the evening darkness. She thought, Oh no, and she knew what had occurred. He’d lost the Shoreditch client. That was two clients in three months, with both projects ending in acrimony, anger, and accusation. That would be on William’s part. On the part of the clients would be a demand for the return of a rather hefty deposit, most of which would already have been spent on supplies.

Lily watched his progress from pool of light to pool of light till he disappeared from view. Then she took the carry-on through to the bedroom. She shoved it out of sight under the bed. By the time she’d got back to the sitting room, William’s key was in the door lock, the door was opening, and she was sitting on the sagging sofa with her smartphone in her hand. She was checking her email. “Pleasant trip, darling!” from her mum didn’t do much to lift her spirits.

William saw her at once—he could hardly help it as the place was so small—and he averted his eyes. Then his gaze came back to her again, and she noticed that it shifted from her face to her phone. He said, “Sorry.”

She said, “I texted and rang you, William.”

“I know.”

“Why didn’t you respond?”

“I broke the phone.”

He had a rucksack with him. As if to prove to her the truth of what he was saying, he unzipped the thing and dumped its contents. His mobile toppled to one side, and he handed it over. It was destroyed.

“Did you drive over it or something?” Lily asked him.

“I smashed it with a shovel.”

“But—”

“You kept . . . I don’t know, Lily. I couldn’t answer, but still you kept . . . It was the ringing and then the buzzing and every bloody thing was happening at once over there. My head felt like it was on the verge of exploding and the only thing I could do to make it all stop was to use a shovel on the phone.”

“What’s going on?”

William left the contents of the rucksack where he’d strewn them. He crossed the room to a sling-back chair. He flung himself into it, and she saw his face clearly. He was double blinking in that way he had when things were moving from bad to what was going to be worse.

“It’s no good,” he said.

“What?”

“Me. This. The whole bloody thing. I’m no good. It’s no good. End of story.”

“Did you lose the Shoreditch clients, then?”

“What do you think? Losing things is what I do, isn’t it? My car keys, my notebooks, my rucksack, my clients. You as well, Lily, and don’t deny it. I’m losing you. Which is—let’s face it—what you wanted to tell me, isn’t it? You rang and you texted and it was all to get me to ring you back so you could do to me pretty much what everyone does. End things. Right?”

He was triple blinking. He needed to be calm. Lily knew from experience there were very few ways to calm him if he got too far along in the direction he was taking, so she said, “I was taking you to Marrakesh, actually. I’d found a hotel on the cheap, a pool and all the trimmings. It was supposed to be a surprise weekend and I should have told you this morning—at least that I had a surprise trip planned—but that would have meant . . . Oh, I don’t know.” She ended rather lamely with, “I thought it would be fun.”

“We’ve no money for that sort of thing.”

“My mum lent it me.”

“So now your parents know how bad things are? What a loser I am? What did you tell them?”

“Not him, her. Just my mum. I didn’t tell her anything. And she didn’t ask. She’s not like that, William. She doesn’t intrude.” Not like your mum was what she didn’t add.

He heard it anyway because his look became sharp the way it always became when the subject of his mother came up between them. But he didn’t go there and instead he said, “I should have seen from the first they were bloody mad fools, but I didn’t. Why do I never see what people are like? They say they want something special and I can give them something special and they will love it if they only let me get at it. But no, they want drawings and sketches and approval and control and daily receipts and I can’t work like that.”

He stood. He walked to the same window at which she’d waited for so long for him. She didn’t know what to tell him, exactly, but what she wanted to say was that if he couldn’t work under the aegis of someone else, if he could only work alone, then he would have to learn how to deal with people because if he didn’t learn that, then he would fail over and over and over again. She wanted to tell him that he wasn’t being reasonable with people, that he couldn’t expect them to hand over their gardens or even part of their gardens to his creative impulse. What if they don’t like what you have in mind? she wanted to ask him. But she’d said it before and she’d asked it before and here they were again where they kept ending up.

“It’s London,” he said abruptly, to the window glass.

“What’s London?”

“This. It. Me. London’s the reason. People here . . . They’re different. They don’t get me and I don’t get them. I’ve got to get out of here. It’s the only answer because I’m not going to freeload off you.”

He swung from the window then. The look on his face comprised, she knew, the very same expression he wore when his clients asked questions he deemed unreasonable. It signaled that he’d made his mind up about something. She reckoned she was seconds away from learning what that was.

He told her. “Dorset.”

“Dorset?”

“I’ve got to go home.”

“This is your home.”

“You know what I mean. I’ve spent all day thinking and that’s the answer. I’m going back to Dorset. I’m starting over.”

THIRTY-NINE MONTHS BEFORE

8 DECEMBER

SPITALFIELDS

LONDON

Since it was only to be a weekend jaunt to Marrakesh, Lily Foster reckoned they could use one suitcase, and a carry-on at that. What did they need to take, really? It had been deadly cold, grey, and wet in London since the middle of November, but it wasn’t going to be that way in North Africa. They would spend most of their time lounging round the pool, anyway, and when they weren’t doing that, they’d be getting romantic in their room, for which, obviously, they needed no clothes at all.

Packing took less than ten minutes. Sandals, summer trousers, a tee-shirt for William. Sandals, a clingy frock, and a scarf for her. Swimming suits for them both and a few other essentials. That was it. Then began the wait, which—confirmed by a glance at the plastic wall clock ticking away above the cooker—should have been less than thirty minutes. But it stretched instead into more than two hours during which time she texted him and she phoned him as well, only to receive no response. Just his pleasant voice saying “This is Will. Tell me and I’ll tell you back,” to which she said, “Where are you, William? I thought the job was only in Shoreditch. And why’re you still there in this rotten weather? Ring me soon as you get this, okay?”

Lily went to the window. The afternoon was spitting rain outside, the sky dark and angry with erupting clouds. In the best of weather, this particular housing estate was grim: a mixture of filthy brick blocks of flats tossed by the handful across a level plain, which was crisscrossed by cracked and heaving pavements that the residents ignored in favour of trudging across a dying patchwork of lawns. In weather like this, the place looked like a death trap and what was at risk of extermination was hope. They didn’t belong here, and Lily knew it. It was bad for her; it was worse for William. But it was what they could afford for now, and it was where they would remain until she built her business larger than what it was and William had his own on firmer footing.

That part was tricky: William’s business. He regularly argued with his clients, and people didn’t like that when they were paying someone to work for them.

“You do have to take on board what people think,” she kept telling him.

“People,” he countered, “need to stay out of my way. I can’t concentrate when they yammer at me. Why don’t they get that? It’s not like I don’t tell them straightaway.”

Well, yes, right, Lily thought. Telling people was part of the problem. William needed to stop doing that.

Lily frowned down at the street. There was no one on the pavements below, certainly no William with his collar up, making a dash from his car to the narrow tower that contained their building’s lift. Instead there was only a woman on a balcony of the block of flats sitting at an angle to theirs. She was gathering laundry in her arms, her bright yellow sari whipped by the wind. As for the rest of the buildings’ balconies with their lines of dispirited laundry and their children’s toys and their few haggard-looking plants and—always—their satellite dishes, whatever they contained was being left to fend for itself in the weather.

Through the window Lily could dimly hear the unrelenting city noise: the squeal of tyres on wet pavement as a car took a corner too swiftly, the metallic roar of a building site where yet something else was being redeveloped nearby but out of view, the siren of an ambulance on its way to hospital, and, much closer, the thump thunka thump of a too-loud bass underscoring someone’s musical preference.

She texted William again. After two minutes of no response, she rang him as well. She said, “William, you must be getting my texts. Unless . . . Oh damn it, you haven’t got your mobile on silent again, have you? You know I hate it when you do that. And this is important. I don’t like to say but . . . Oh hell, hell, hell. Look. I’ve a surprise planned for our anniversary. I know, I know. You’ll say ten months can’t be an anniversary but you know what I mean, so don’t be difficult. Anyway, this surprise involves our being somewhere at a particular time, so if you’re just not replying because you’re playing silly buggers for some reason, please ring me back.”

And then there was nothing to do but to wait. She watched the minutes tick by and she tried to reassure herself that they had plenty of time to get to Stansted. All William had to do, really, was walk in the door because she had their passports in her bag, she had the tickets printed already, and every plan that needed to be made when one journeyed to another country even for a weekend had been made by her.

She realised that she should have told him that morning. But he’d been displeased with how the job in Shoreditch was shaping up, and she hadn’t liked to break into his thoughts. Sometimes his clients took a bit of work on his part to bring on board, for even when William had a superb idea that he knew would work on their property, people liked to be in charge of things, even when they hired an expert, which was definitely what William Goldacre was. Expert, visionary, artist, and labourer. Give him your weed-choked garden and he worked magic.

When she finally saw his ancient Fiesta rounding the corner from Heneage Street, she had been waiting for him for four hours, and the Marrakesh plan was shot to hell. The money was wasted, they were stuck, and Lily was looking for someone to blame.

Where had he been? What had he been doing? Why hadn’t he answered his bloody phone? Had he just done that early on—it was one simple thing, William—she could have told him about her plans and advised him to meet her at the airport. They could have even now been sitting happily shoulder to shoulder on that stupid plane as it winged them towards sunshine and a weekend of simple pleasure.

Lily was winding herself up as he got out of his car. She was choosing her words. Inconsiderate and thoughtless were at the top of her list. But then she caught sight of his face as he passed under one of the street lamps. She saw the set of his shoulders, and the way he walked towards the lift in the evening darkness. She thought, Oh no, and she knew what had occurred. He’d lost the Shoreditch client. That was two clients in three months, with both projects ending in acrimony, anger, and accusation. That would be on William’s part. On the part of the clients would be a demand for the return of a rather hefty deposit, most of which would already have been spent on supplies.

Lily watched his progress from pool of light to pool of light till he disappeared from view. Then she took the carry-on through to the bedroom. She shoved it out of sight under the bed. By the time she’d got back to the sitting room, William’s key was in the door lock, the door was opening, and she was sitting on the sagging sofa with her smartphone in her hand. She was checking her email. “Pleasant trip, darling!” from her mum didn’t do much to lift her spirits.

William saw her at once—he could hardly help it as the place was so small—and he averted his eyes. Then his gaze came back to her again, and she noticed that it shifted from her face to her phone. He said, “Sorry.”

She said, “I texted and rang you, William.”

“I know.”

“Why didn’t you respond?”

“I broke the phone.”

He had a rucksack with him. As if to prove to her the truth of what he was saying, he unzipped the thing and dumped its contents. His mobile toppled to one side, and he handed it over. It was destroyed.

“Did you drive over it or something?” Lily asked him.

“I smashed it with a shovel.”

“But—”

“You kept . . . I don’t know, Lily. I couldn’t answer, but still you kept . . . It was the ringing and then the buzzing and every bloody thing was happening at once over there. My head felt like it was on the verge of exploding and the only thing I could do to make it all stop was to use a shovel on the phone.”

“What’s going on?”

William left the contents of the rucksack where he’d strewn them. He crossed the room to a sling-back chair. He flung himself into it, and she saw his face clearly. He was double blinking in that way he had when things were moving from bad to what was going to be worse.

“It’s no good,” he said.

“What?”

“Me. This. The whole bloody thing. I’m no good. It’s no good. End of story.”

“Did you lose the Shoreditch clients, then?”

“What do you think? Losing things is what I do, isn’t it? My car keys, my notebooks, my rucksack, my clients. You as well, Lily, and don’t deny it. I’m losing you. Which is—let’s face it—what you wanted to tell me, isn’t it? You rang and you texted and it was all to get me to ring you back so you could do to me pretty much what everyone does. End things. Right?”

He was triple blinking. He needed to be calm. Lily knew from experience there were very few ways to calm him if he got too far along in the direction he was taking, so she said, “I was taking you to Marrakesh, actually. I’d found a hotel on the cheap, a pool and all the trimmings. It was supposed to be a surprise weekend and I should have told you this morning—at least that I had a surprise trip planned—but that would have meant . . . Oh, I don’t know.” She ended rather lamely with, “I thought it would be fun.”

“We’ve no money for that sort of thing.”

“My mum lent it me.”

“So now your parents know how bad things are? What a loser I am? What did you tell them?”

“Not him, her. Just my mum. I didn’t tell her anything. And she didn’t ask. She’s not like that, William. She doesn’t intrude.” Not like your mum was what she didn’t add.

He heard it anyway because his look became sharp the way it always became when the subject of his mother came up between them. But he didn’t go there and instead he said, “I should have seen from the first they were bloody mad fools, but I didn’t. Why do I never see what people are like? They say they want something special and I can give them something special and they will love it if they only let me get at it. But no, they want drawings and sketches and approval and control and daily receipts and I can’t work like that.”

He stood. He walked to the same window at which she’d waited for so long for him. She didn’t know what to tell him, exactly, but what she wanted to say was that if he couldn’t work under the aegis of someone else, if he could only work alone, then he would have to learn how to deal with people because if he didn’t learn that, then he would fail over and over and over again. She wanted to tell him that he wasn’t being reasonable with people, that he couldn’t expect them to hand over their gardens or even part of their gardens to his creative impulse. What if they don’t like what you have in mind? she wanted to ask him. But she’d said it before and she’d asked it before and here they were again where they kept ending up.

“It’s London,” he said abruptly, to the window glass.

“What’s London?”

“This. It. Me. London’s the reason. People here . . . They’re different. They don’t get me and I don’t get them. I’ve got to get out of here. It’s the only answer because I’m not going to freeload off you.”

He swung from the window then. The look on his face comprised, she knew, the very same expression he wore when his clients asked questions he deemed unreasonable. It signaled that he’d made his mind up about something. She reckoned she was seconds away from learning what that was.

He told her. “Dorset.”

“Dorset?”

“I’ve got to go home.”

“This is your home.”

“You know what I mean. I’ve spent all day thinking and that’s the answer. I’m going back to Dorset. I’m starting over.”

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "A Banquet of Consequences"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth George.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Elizabeth George and her Novels

"Elizabeth George is a superstar of the crime-fiction world, British Inspector Division. Deservedly so: Her tails always provide nuanced character studies and insights into social issues along with their intricate mysteries."
The Seattle Times on Believing the Lie

“Definitely a literary force to be reckoned with.”
Suspense Magazine

“It’s tough to resist George’s storytelling, once hooked.”
USA Today

"Riveting tale of love, passion, and betrayal...series fans will enjoy following Lynley and Havers on their first investigation outside the U.K., while newcomers will be just as enthralled."
Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Just One Evil Act

"Just One Evil Act  [is] among the most demanding and satisfying of the many detective novels by Elizabeth George."
The Wall Street Journal

"A serious, suspenseful, thought-provoking and heart-rending novel."
Richmond Times Dispatch on Just One Evil Act

“George is a master of the wily plot and the timely tossed out red herring… George’s fans will be glad to see Havers back in action, even though, as ever, she’s quick to land in trouble. And as for Lynley—well, he’s as cool as ever, in more than one sense of the word.”
Kirkus Reviews on Just One Evil Act

"This is a must for fans of this series. Twists and turns are vintage George and do not disappoint."
Library Journal on Just One Evil Act

"A multiplicity of subplots and a richness of physical detail...The terrain and the weather are objective correlatives to the characters' stormy patches. Meanwhile, the story strands are untied and retied in satisfying and often moving ways."
The Wall Street Journal on Believing the Lie

"Devilishly complicated."
Entertainment Weekly on Believing the Lie

"A dense, twisty plot with characters who reveal the sad spectrum of human dereliction."
People on Believing the Lie

"George's...ability to continually enhance the portraits of Lynley, Havers, and other recurring characters while generating fully fleshed new ones for each novel is nothing less than superlative, and her atmospheric prose, complete with lovely and detailed descriptions of her setting, combines to add literary gravitas to her work....A worthy addition to her portfolio and one that simultaneously disturbs and satisfies."
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“This is one of her best.”
Daily American on Believing the Lie

“George’s many fans…will be thrilled with this new episode in the lives of her lovable cast of characters.”
Library Journal on Believing the Lie

“George's strengths—character development, plot twists and shocking tragedy—continue to shine.”
Shelf Awareness on Believing the Lie

“A book of twists, turns and, to be blunt, fantastic writing…A complete A+ for the mystery realm.”
Suspense Magazine on Believing the Lie

“[Lynley is] one of the great character portraits in contemporary crime fiction.”
The Boston Globe

 

Customer Reviews

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A Banquet of Consequences (Inspector Lynley Series #19) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great escape for a few hours.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual it takes a while to set up The cast and story . After the first 100 pages, the story takes off, and never stops. This has to be one of Elizabeth George's best novels. So very good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely perfect!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overly detailed and inadequate ending.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Too weird and way too long. Plot twist is thin and sick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay read; better than the previous tome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since I absolutely love all the Elizabeth George books featuring Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley, this one was no exception. The psychological details, well explained pathological and interpersonal interactions as well as the dry British humor make this book a great read and another gem in the series. PLEASE give us more Havers/Linley books, Elizabeth George!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a waste of money. Linley and havers did not surface until page 170 and the other main characters in the linley series were non- existant. Instead, the book centered around a group of very boring and very disfuntional persons plodding their way through the story with linley and havers popping in occasionally. Frustrating!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always read all her books.This one was good.I like the other one alittle better.i will keep on reading her books.
DianaH-Maine More than 1 year ago
I was reluctant to read Elizabeth George’s newest book, A BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES. I was afraid that I would dislike it as much as I disliked her last book, JUST ONE EVIL ACT. The fact that I disliked the characters and story line and location so much - all of this really pained me. I take my reading very seriously and quite idolize certain authors. Ms. George was/is one of those authors. Her writing is so detailed - peeling apart a character’s psyche bit by bit until you feel that you intimately know a character and have even conversed with him/her. The plots, the background details, the construction of the story - it is so impressive. I am in awe. That being said, the last book surprised me in my aversion to both its plot and characters, especially Barbara Havers. I circled this new title like wolves sneaking up on a circle of covered wagons. When I took a deep breath and rushed in, I was very pleasantly surprised and relieved. I liked this title very much and enjoyed reading it. I had trouble putting it down. The twist at the end surprised me - I did not completely see it coming. The characters, throughout, were maddening in their nastiness and weakness, but meeting them and reacting to them - I was in good hands with Ms. George. Her descriptions mingled with background information and empathy took the blunt edge off my dislike. Thomas Lynley (I feel) seems to be weakening as a personality. His detective skills are still spot on, yet his people skills seem to need work. I thought his scenes with Isabelle Ardery didn’t quite ring true. I am glad Ardery stuck ‘to her guns’ and refused (many times) to tear up Havers’ transfer papers. The whiney Deborah St. James did not appear in the story and Simon was consulted once and showed his brilliant forensic expertise. The main characters in the mystery were puzzling, some of them. India, especially. I keep returning to the word weakness when describing the characters. Which brings me to Barbara Havers. She didn’t appear until far into the book and I thought she was written in a bit better light (bit being the key word). I only had to imagine watching her eat a few times and saw that she showed some restraint in her treatment of others. I could live with this Barbara and even overlook some of her faults. The real star of this book (I think) is Ardery’s secretary/assistant, Dorothea Harriman. She could be one of the strongest personalities in the cast. And, the long-suffering, patient ‘Winnie’ Nkata. I’m afraid to say it out loud, but I see a glimmer, a small, teeny, tiny bit of openness in Barbara, a ray of hope that she can pull herself together and fulfill her potential. I would love to see that happen.
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Delphimo More than 1 year ago
Yes, I thoroughly enjoy reading Elizabeth George, and this book continued that assumption. George, like Mary Shelley, employs eloquent language to enhance the story. The richness rests in the description of setting and character. The characters seep into your thoughts with all their foibles. So, which character utilizes poison and has the correct person died? Elizabeth George does not reveal the killer until the bitter end, after the reader has suspected the cast of characters. What is the motive? Again, George presents many possibilities as the story progresses. In this novel, Barbara Havers must be on her best behavior or she will be sent to a remote village. I enjoy the attempt to make Barbara more like the average inspector, and the dance between Lynley and his current lady love displays comedy and drama. I miss the St. James family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love how she develops all her characters. You think you know who dunnit but it's usually surprising.
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chugaries More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read as are all by Elizabeth George. Kept me guessing throughout,