A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Series #1)

A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Series #1)

by Elizabeth George

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553384796
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Series: Inspector Lynley Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 59,244
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth George’s first novel, A Great Deliverance, was honored with the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel Awards and received the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Her third novel, Well-Schooled in Murder, was awarded the prestigious German prize for suspense fiction, the MIMI. A Suitable Vengeance, For the Sake of Elena, Missing Joseph, Playing for the Ashes, In the Presence of the Enemy, Deception on His Mind, In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, A Traitor to Memory, and I, Richard were international bestsellers. Elizabeth George divides her time between Huntington Beach, California, and London. Her novels are currently being dramatized by the BBC.

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

Chapter One


It was a solecism of the very worst kind. He sneezed loudly, wetly, and quite unforgivably into the woman's face. He'd been holding it back for three-quarters of an hour, fighting it off as if it were Henry Tudor's vanguard in the Battle of Bosworth. But at last he'd surrendered. And after the act, to make matters worse, he immediately began to snuffle.

The woman stared. She was exactly the type whose presence always reduced him to blithering idiocy. At least six feet tall, dressed in that wonderfully insouciant mismatch of clothing so characteristic of the British upper classes, she was ageless, timeless, and she peered at him through razor blue eyes, the sort that must have reduced many a parlourmaid to tears forty years ago. She had to be well over sixty, possibly closer to eighty, but one could never tell. She sat bolt upright in her seat, hands clasped in her lap, a finishing-school posture which made no concessions towards comfort.

And she stared. First at his Roman collar, then at his undeniably dripping nose.

Do forgive, darling. A thousand apologies. Let's not allow a little faux pas like a sneeze to come between such a friendship as ours. He was always so amusing when engaged in mental conversations. It was only aloud that everything became a terrible muddle.

He snuffled again. Again she stared. Why on earth was she travelling second class? She'd swept into the carriage in Doncaster, like a creaking Salome with rather more than seven veils to her ensemble, and for the remainder of the trip she'd alternated between imbibing the railway's foul-smelling tepid coffee and staring at him with a disapproval that shouted Church of England at every available opportunity.

And then came the sneeze. Unimpeachably correct behaviour from Dancaster to London might have somehow excused his Roman Catholicism to her. But alas, the sneeze condemned him forever.

"I ... ah ... that is ... if you'll excuse ..." It was simply no good. His handkerchief was deep within his pocket. To reach it he would have to loosen his grasp on the battered attaché case in his lap, and that was unthinkable. She would just have to understand. We aren't talking about a breach of etiquette here, madam. We are talking about MURDER. Upon that thought, he snuffled with self-righteous vigour.

Hearing this, the woman sat even more correctly in her seat, every fibre of her body straining to project disapproval. Her glance said it all. It was a chronicle of her thoughts, and he could read each one: Pitiful little man. Pathetic. Not a day under seventy-five and looking positively every second of it. And so very much what one would expect of a Catholic priest: a face with three separate nicks from a poor job at shaving; a crumb of morning toast embedded in the corner of his mouth; shiny black suit mended at elbows and cuffs; squashed hat rimmed with dust. And that dreadful case in his lap! Ever since Doncaster he had been acting as if she'd boarded the train with the deliberate intention of snatching it from him and hurling herself out the window. Lord!

The woman sighed and turned away from him as if seeking salvation. But none was apparent. His nose continued to dribble until the slowing of the train announced that they were finally approaching their journey's end.

She stood and scourged him with a final look. "At last I understand what you Catholics mean by purgatory," she hissed and swept down the aisle to the door.

"Oh dear," muttered Father Hart. "Oh dear, I sup-pose I really have…" But she was gone. The train had come to a complete halt under the vaulted ceiling of the London station. It was time to do what he had come to the city to do.

He looked about to make sure that he was in possession of all his belongings, a pointless operation since he had brought nothing with him from Yorkshire save the single attaché case that had as yet not left his grip. He squinted out the window at the vast expanse of King's Cross Station.

He had been more prepared for a station like Victoria-or at least the Victoria he remembered from his youth-with its comforting old brick walls, its stalls and buskers, these latter always staying one step ahead of the metropolitan police. But King's Cross was something altogether different: long stretches of tiled floor, seductive advertisements hanging from the ceiling, newsagents, tobacconists, hamburger shops. And all the people--many more than he had expected--in queues for tickets, gobbling down hurried snacks as they raced for trains, arguing, laughing, and kissing goodbye. Every race, every colour. It was all so different. He wasn't sure he could bear the noise and confusion.

"Getting out, Father, or planning to stop t' night?"

Startled, Father Hart looked up into the ruddy face of the porter who had helped him find his seat earlier that morning upon the train's departure from York. It was a pleasant, north country face with the winds of the moors etched upon it in a hundred separate blood vessles that rode and broke near the surface of his skin.

His eyes were flinty blue, quick and perceptive. And Father Hart felt them like a touch as they slid in a friendly but querying movement from his face to the attaché case. Tightening his fingers round the handle, he stiffened his body, hoping for resolution and getting an excruciating cramp in his left foot instead. He moaned as the--balled hotly to its zenith.

The porter spoke anxiously. "Maybe you oughtn't be travellin' alone. Sure you don't need no help, like?"

He did, of course he did. But no one could help. He couldn't help himself.

"No, no. I'm off this very moment. And you've been more than kind. My seat, you know. The initial confusion."

The porter waved his words away. "Don't mind that. There's lots of folks don't realise them tickets means reserved. No harm done, was there?"

"No. I suppose…" Father Hart drew in a quick, sustaining breath. Down the aisle, out the door, find the tube, he told himself. None of that could be as insurmountable as it seemed. He shuffled towards the exit. His case, clutched two-handed upon his stomach, bounced with each step.

Behind him, the porter spoke. "'Ere, Father, the door's a bit much. I'll see to 't."

He allowed the man space to get past him in the aisle. Already two surly-looking railway cleaners were squeezing in the rear door, rubbish sacks over their shoulders, ready to prepare the train for its return trip to York. They were Pakistani, and although they spoke English, Father Hart found that he couldn't understand a single word beneath the obfuscation of their accepts.

The realisation filled him with dread. What was he doing here in the nation's capital where the inhabitants were foreigners who looked at him with cloudy, hostile eyes and immigrant faces? What paltry good could he hope to do? What silliness was this? Who would ever believe--

"Need some help, Father?"

Father Hart finally moved decisively. "No. Fine. Simply fine."

He negotiated the steps, felt the concrete platform beneath his feet, heard the calling of pigeons high in the vaulted ceiling of the station. He began to make his distracted way down the platform towards the exit and Euston Road. -

Behind him again he heard the porter. "Someone meeting you? Know where you're going? Where you off to now?"

The priest straightened his shoulders. He waved a goodbye. "Scotland Yard," he replied firmly.

* * *

St. Pancras Station, directly across the street from King's Cross, was such an architectural antithesis of the latter that Father Hart stood for several moments simply staring at its neo-Gothic magnificence. The clamour of traffic on Euston Road and the malodourous belching of two diesel-fuelled lorries at the pavement's edge faded into insignificance. He was a bit of an architecture buff, and this particular building was architecture gone wild.

"Good heavens, that's wonderful," he murmured, tilting his head to have a better view of the railway station's peaks and valleys. "A bit of a cleaning and she'd be a regular palace." He looked about absently, as if he would stop the next passerby and give a discourse on the evils that generations of coal fires had wrought upon the old building. "Now, I wonder who…"

The two-note siren of a police van howled suddenly down Caledonian Road, shrieking through the intersection onto Euston. It brought the priest back to reality. He shook himself mentally, part in irritation but another, greater part in fear. His mind was wandering daily now. And that signalled the end, didn't it? He swallowed a gagging lump of tenor and sought new determination. His eyes fell upon the scream of a headline across the morning paper propped up on a nearby newsstand. He stepped toward it curiously. RIPPER STRIKES AT VAUXHALL STATION!

Ripper! He shrank from the words, cast a look about, and then gave himself over to one quick paragraph from the story, skimming it rapidly lest a closer perusal betray an interest in morbidity unseemly in a man of the cloth. Words, not sentences, caught his sight. Slashed... semi-nude bodies... arteries… severed... victims male...

He shivered. His fingers went to his throat and he considered its true vulnerability. Even a Roman collar was no certain protection from the knife of a killer. It would seek. It would plunge.

The thought was shattering. He staggered back from the newsstand, and mercifully saw the underground sign a mere thirty feet away. It jogged his memory.

He groped in his pocket for a map of the city's underground system and spent a moment painstakingly perusing its crinkled surface. "The circle line to St. James's Park," he told himself. And then again with more authority, "The circle line to St. James's Park. The circle line to St. James's Park."

Like a Gregorian chant, he repeated the sentence as he descended the stairs. He maintained its metre and rhythm up to the ticket window and did not cease until he had placed himself squarely on the train. There he glanced at the other occupants of the car, found two elderly ladies watching him with unveiled avidity, and ducked his head. "So confusing," he explained, trying out a timid smile of friendship. "One gets so turned about."

"All kinds is what I'm tellin' you, Pammy," the younger of the two women declared to her companion. She shot a look of practiced, chilling contempt at the cleric. "Disguised as anything, I hear." Keeping her watery eyes on the confused priest, she dragged her withered friend to her feet, clung to the poles near the door, and urged her out loudly at the very next stop.

Father Hart watched their departure with resignation. No blaming them, he thought. One couldn't trust. Not ever. Not really. And that's what he'd come to London to say: that it wasn't the truth. It only looked like the truth. A body, a girl, and a bloody axe. But it wasn't the truth. He had to convince them, and... Oh Lord, he had so little talent for this. But God was on his side. He held onto that thought. What I'm doing is right, what I'm doing is right, what I'm doing is right. Replacing the other, this new chant took him right to the doors of New Scotland Yard.

Table of Contents

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A Great Deliverance 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While the story is unfolding, you find yourself questioning 'why?' very often. When, finally, all the 'whys?' are answered, you are exhausted and sweaty and in dire need of a frosty O'Dell's. Simply remarkable reading. The plot development, character development and finish are phenomenal. A must read. Elizabeth George is, simply put, the BEST!
KirstyHaining More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth George is one of my favorite authors (the kind you have to purchase in hardcover when she comes out with a new book). This is the first in her series of Inspector Lynley mysteries. Elizabeth George writes really well, but what really fascinates are her complex characters and their relationships. Her mysteries are a little on the dark side, but well worth it.
CheliD More than 1 year ago
Roberta Teys is found sitting in the barn over the headless body of her father and she freely admits "I did it. I'm not sorry.? But the residents of the small village cannot believe that Roberta could possibly do such a thing and so Scotland Yard is brought in to determine if Roberta really is the murderer. As the story unfolds the reader is taken through the village seeing Roberta as a pathetic unloved creature. Her mother abandoned the family when she was very small and her beloved older sister ran away leaving her on the farm with her overly zealous father. Her only escape appeared to be in books and time spent with her dog Whiskers and a small child in the village. However, the evidence appears to point to Roberta as the murderer because the dog's blood is all over the clothes that she was wearing and since the dog's body is beneath Farmer Teys' body, he had to be killed before her father. The deeper that Inspector Lynley and DS Havers dig to find out the true nature of the events, the deeper the reader is drawn into the lives of not only the villagers but Havers and Lynley as well. This book is the beginning of the Inspector Lynley series. I had watched several of the episodes that were shown on PBS and decided that I wanted to get more of the background of the characters so I'm starting at the beginning, but I got more than I bargained for. The beginning of the book seemed a bit disjointed to me, jumping around from one character and place to another, but in the end it all came together like a flash of lightning to explain how all the characters were impacted by the events that led to the murder. Definitely have to continue with the books - the characterizations are tremendous as well as the plot twists for the reader. I admitted to being completely stunned by the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Recently seen in its adaptation on television readers will, I think, find the book better done and much more enjoyable. All of the Elizabeth George novels are more than worth the readers time and attention. They are all most enjoyable on several levels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
George is a good writer - vividly portrays settings and scences. The novel also keeps you guessing - great psychological thriller. She plays the British class angle a bit strongly but it's a great read nonetheless. Incidentally, I've run out and bought her other books as well - they're REALLY hard to put down. THe PBS version with Nathaniel Parker as DI Lynley is also very good - a different angle on the story, but well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS MYSTERY REALLY MADE MY MIND WORK. THE CHARACTERS ARE WELL WRITTEN AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMA IS VERY REAL. DET. INSPECTOR LYNLEY IS A TRUE GENTLEMAN. ONE REALLY GETS TO KNOW JUST HOW WELL MANNERED HE IS. SGT. HAVERS IS A DELIGHT; FUNNY AND ALSO A BIT SAD. YOU'LL LOVE HER. A MUST READ. TERRIFIC ENDING AND A SHOCKING ONE.
cyderry on LibraryThing 3 hours ago
Roberta Teys is found sitting in the barn over the headless body of her father and she freely admits "I did it. I'm not sorry.¿ But the residents of the small village cannot believe that Roberta could possibly do such a thing and so Scotland Yard is brought in to determine if Roberta really is the murderer.As the story unfolds the reader is taken through the village seeing Roberta as a pathetic unloved creature. Her mother abandoned the family when she was very small and her beloved older sister ran away leaving her on the farm with her overly zealous father. Her only escape appeared to be in books and time spent with her dog Whiskers and a small child in the village. However, the evidence appears to point to Roberta as the murderer because the dog's blood is all over the clothes that she was wearing and since the dog's body is beneath Farmer Teys' body, he had to be killed before her father.The deeper that Inspector Lynley and DS Havers dig to find out the true nature of the events, the deeper the reader is drawn into the lives of not only the villagers but Havers and Lynley as well.This book is the beginning of the Inspector Lynley series. I had watched several of the episodes that were shown on PBS and decided that I wanted to get more of the background of the characters so I'm starting at the beginning, but I got more than I bargained for.The beginning of the book seemed a bit disjointed to me, jumping around from one character and place to another, but in the end it all came together like a flash of lightning to explain how all the characters were impacted by the events that led to the murder.Definitely have to continue with the books - the characterizations are tremendous as well as the plot twists for the reader. I admitted to being completely stunned by the ending.
emhromp2 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This was the first Elizabeth George that I read and it was nice. Was it me, or did she overdo her efforts to sound british? Anyway, I liked the characters, the outcome (completely unexpected) and will definitely read more by her.
MiserableLibrarian on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The debut novel of this well-regarded mystery novelist. George introduces Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers of the New Scotland Yard, as they set out to investigate a seemingly open-and-shut murder in York. The characters are interesting and likable despite how very different they are, and their relationships make for a good subplot. The murder story itself is engaging as well, with sufficient twists to make this something to a page-turner.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A very overweight 19-year-old is discovered in her family's barn along with her dead dog and her dead father who has been decapitated with an ax. Lynley is assigned to the case and he has been partnered with Havers as a last ditch effort for her to try detective work. This was an incredible mystery and brilliantly written. The story was oh-so-much more than just a mystery, it was also very much character driven. Both Lynley and Havers are very complex characters and their personal stories are a vital part of the book. I am much taken with Inspector Lynley, and Havers' character develops through the book with a revelation near the end. Very compelling reading! The mystery itself was well done and a page-turner for me. I stayed up late last night reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open any more, then woke up and finished the book in the morning. I have actually seen this episode of the TV Show, so I knew whodunit and why, but while that did spoil the shock value of the ending for me it did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book at all. Fortunately, I have only seen one other episode of the show (a more recent one, not based on a book) so that will not interfere with my reading of any other books. I am highly looking forward to reading the next one in the series. Recommended.
BogartFan on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Not too bad. A bit dry for me, but the characters were well fleshed-out. I guess I'm just not big on the "tea-cozy" type thriller.(SPOILER) I had a feeling, despite all the dead ends, that the daughter actually DID do it, and it turns out I was right. Early on. Oh, well.
SheilaDeeth 10 months ago
First in Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley mysteries, A Great Deliverance is a fascinating tale of mystery and suspense set in the Yorkshire countryside. The scenery and people are evocatively described and fit my memories of Yorkshire perfectly. The relationships are fascinating, not just between high-class Lynley and low-class Havers, but also between Lynley and his past, Havers and her past, and all the families and friends intertwined with their tales. The author cleverly weaves backstory into the plot, keeping the tension high and revealing details just when they’re required. There’s a nice touch of humor and surprise in coincidence and detection too. And the American tourists are delightfully odd. It’s a long, slow read with lots of twists and turns, devastating misdeeds, and fascinating resolution. I really enjoyed it. Disclosure: As a treat, I hope to work my way through this series, starting here of course.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I finished A Great Deliverance, the only thing I could think of to say was, “WOW”!! As I continue to ponder about the book, I find it difficult to express my emotions, which were thrown about with abandon by Ms. George in this brilliant novel. Truly a masterful work, be prepared for a breathtaking crescendo at the end. This book is unequivocally one of the best I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page Turner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great intro for a series. Wish that there was more of a closing with Havers and her family at the end.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of George's work so I decided to go back to the beginning & read all of her books a second time. And I will have to buy most of them again as I didn't save them all the first time (what was I thinking?!) But I don't mind...I'll just consider it an investment for the future as I can see myself someday possibly reading them all a third time because they are THAT good! Looking forward to many more pleasurable hours of reading...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
George is a fantastic writer and makes you feel the pain, happiness, and fear of all the characters