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With No One as Witness (Inspector Lynley Series #13)

With No One as Witness (Inspector Lynley Series #13)

3.2 101
by Elizabeth George

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“[A] juicy serial killer whodunit.”
USA Today

“Delicately textured...achingly compassionate....It’s one of George’s best, and that’s saying something.”
Seattle Times

The 13th novel in Elizabeth George’s acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Inspector Linley crime fiction


“[A] juicy serial killer whodunit.”
USA Today

“Delicately textured...achingly compassionate....It’s one of George’s best, and that’s saying something.”
Seattle Times

The 13th novel in Elizabeth George’s acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Inspector Linley crime fiction series, With No One as Witness is arguably the most riveting, shocking, and emotionally compelling of the lot. The hunt for a serial killer who has been murdering and mutilating young boys in London has Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley and his team of investigators racing to stop the slaughter, only to have the investigation nearly derailed by one devastating, truly game changing event. An American author, George has been praised as “a master of the British mystery” by the New York Times, one of only two Yanks whose crime novels have been adapted for the PBS TV series, “Mystery,”  and her exceptional police procedurals rank with the best of Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, and Ruth Rendell.

Editorial Reviews

Orlando Sentinel
San Jose Mercury News
“A good read.”
Associated Press Staff
“This one grabs the reader all the way.”
USA Today
“[A] juicy serial killer whodunit.”
Seattle Times
“Delicately textured...achingly compassionate...gripping...it’s one of George’s best, and that’s saying something.”
Nashville Tennessean
“Always entertaining.”
“Will keep readers on the edge of their seats.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Daily News (NY)
“George fully develops every nuance of the racially loaded case—and every thrill in the chase. But it’s the note on which the novel ends that stuns as the series is violently wrenched onto new ground.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
Elizabeth George's popular detective pair, Lynley and Havers, are together again, working to catch a brutal serial killer in With No One as Witness.

New Scotland Yard's aristocratic Acting Superintendent Thomas Lynley and working-class Constable Barbara Havers (she's been reduced in rank, basically for sheer bloody-mindedness) of first suspect a serial killer is at work when the corpse of a teenage boy is found on top of a tomb. Their hopes of preventing a second death are shattered when a review of open cases finds three similar crime scenes. The first three victims, however, differed from the fourth in being nonwhite. When Lynley's antagonistic superior realizes that the department will be accused of racism for failing to solve the earlier crimes, his method of damage control infuriates Lynley and impedes work on the case.

One of Lynley's best investigators, who is black, is diverted to handling press conferences and replaced by a profiler Lynley doesn't want. And, worst of all, a reporter is embedded with the team…and his feature about Lynley almost draws a map to the house Lynley shares with his pregnant wife. Struggling to keep their focus on the crimes, Lynley and Havers find a disturbing connection to an organization named Colossus that serves troubled youths. Despite a cover-up by the director, they learn that all four of the dead boys spent time there. Then there is a fifth similar death, although closer investigation reveals that it deviates from the previous pattern in several disturbing ways. Is the killer changing his habits in an effort to stump the police, or has someone else stepped beyond the bounds of justice and humanity? New York Times–bestselling author Elizabeth George's story of police work in London is a taut tale of dogged perseverance and brilliant intuition. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Acting Supt. Thomas Lynley and Det. Constable Barbara Havers face their most challenging and perilous case yet-the linked murders of four youths, three of black or mixed parentage-in bestseller George's absorbing 13th British police procedural (after 2003's A Place of Hiding). Crime fans will find plenty of forensic minutiae and details of police bureaucracy and politics, but it's characterization at which George really excels. The up-and-down career of Havers is at low ebb following her demotion from sergeant to constable, and her rocky personal life doesn't make that easier to bear. Lynley's professional life has become more difficult due to the continued absence of Supt. Malcolm Webberly and the need to deal directly with Asst. Commissioner David Hillier. The tension builds as the brutal serial killings continue and the pressure to solve them mounts. George expertly uses every device in the book from red herrings to blind alleys, from subtle twists to swift shocks. This is an outstanding and explosive addition to a popular series. Agent, Robert Gottlieb. 9-city author tour. (Mar. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Slashed, naked, and dead: these teenaged boys are telling Scotland Yard that a serial killer is at large. A one-day laydown and an eight-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Associated Press
“This one grabs the reader all the way.”
Globe & Mail (Toronto)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Inspector Lynley Series , #13
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 4.34(h) x 1.62(d)

Read an Excerpt

With No One As Witness LP

Chapter One

Detective constable Barbara Havers considered herself one lucky bird: The drive was empty. She'd elected to do her weekly shop by car rather than on foot, and this was always a risky business in an area of town where anyone fortunate enough to find a parking space near their home clung to it with the devotion of the newly redeemed to the source of his redemption. But knowing she had much to purchase and shuddering at the thought of trudging in the cold back from the local grocery, she'd opted for transport and hoped for the best. So when she pulled up in front of the yellow Edwardian house behind which her tiny bungalow stood, she took the space in the drive without compunction. She listened to the coughing and gagging of her Mini's engine as she turned it off, and she made her fifteenth mental note of the month to have the car looked at by a mechanic who -- one prayed -- would not ask an arm, a leg, and one's firstborn child to repair whatever was causing it to belch like a dyspeptic pensioner.

She climbed out and flipped the seat forward to gather up the first of the plastic carrier bags. She'd linked four of them over her arms and was dragging them out of the car when she heard her name called.

Someone sang it out. "Barbara! Barbara! Look what I've found in the cupboard."

Barbara straightened and glanced in the direction from which the voice had chimed. She saw the young daughter of her neighbour sitting on the weathered wooden bench in front of the ground-floor flat of the old converted building. She'd removed her shoes and was in the process of struggling into a pair of inline skates. Far too large by the look of them, Barbara thought. Hadiyyah was only eight years old and the skates were clearly meant for an adult.

"These're Mummy's," Hadiyyah informed her, as if reading her mind. "I found them in a cupboard, like I said. I've never skated on them before. I expect they're going to be big on me, but I've stuffed them with kitchen towels. Dad doesn't know."

"About the kitchen towels?"

Hadiyyah giggled. "Not that! He doesn't know that I've found them."

"Perhaps you're not meant to be using them."

"Oh, they weren't hidden. Just put away. Till Mummy gets home, I expect. She's in -- "

"Canada. Right," Barbara nodded. "Well, you take care with those. Your dad's not going to be chuffed if you fall and break your head. D'you have a helmet or something?"

Hadiyyah looked down at her feet -- one skated and one socked -- and thought about this. "Am I meant to?"

"Safety precaution," Barbara told her. "A consideration for the street sweepers, as well. Keeps people's brains off the pavement."

Hadiyyah rolled her eyes. "I know you're joking."

Barbara crossed her heart. "God's truth. Where's your dad, anyway? Are you alone today?" She kicked open the picket gate that fronted a path to the house, and she considered whether she ought to talk to Taymullah Azhar once again about leaving his daughter on her own. While it was true that he did it rarely enough, Barbara had told him that she would be pleased to look after Hadiyyah on her own time off if he had students to meet or lab work to supervise at the university. Hadiyyah was remarkably self-sufficient for an eight-year-old, but at the end of the day she was still that: an eight-year-old, and more innocent than her fellows, in part because of a culture that kept her protected and in part because of the desertion of her English mother who had now been "in Canada" for nearly a year.

"He's gone to buy me a surprise," Hadiyyah informed her matterof- factly. "He thinks I don't know, he thinks I think he's running an errand, but I know what he's really doing. It's 'cause he feels bad and he thinks I feel bad, which I don't, but he wants to help me feel better anyway. So he said, 'I've an errand to run, kushi,' and I'm meant to think it's not about me. Have you done your shopping? C'n I help you, Barbara?"

"More bags in the car if you want to fetch them," Barbara told her.

Hadiyyah slipped off the bench and -- one skate on and one skate off -- hopped over to the Mini and pulled out the rest of the bags. Barbara waited at the corner of the house. When Hadiyyah joined her, bobbing up and down on her one skate, Barbara said, "What's the occasion, then?"

Hadiyyah followed her to the bottom of the property where, under a false acacia tree, Barbara's bungalow -- looking much like a garden shed with delusions of grandeur -- snowed flakes of green paint onto a narrow flower bed in need of planting. "Hmm?" Hadiyyah asked. Close up now, Barbara could see that the little girl wore the headphones of a CD player round her neck and the player itself attached to the waistband of her blue jeans. Some unidentifiable music was issuing tinnily from it in a feminine register. Hadiyyah appeared not to notice this.

"The surprise," Barbara said as she opened the front door of her digs. "You said your dad was out fetching you a surprise."

"Oh, that." Hadiyyah clumped into the bungalow and deposited her burdens on the dining table where several days' post mingled with four copies of the Evening Standard, a basket of dirty laundry, and an empty bag of custard cremes. It all made an unappealing jumble at which the habitually neat little girl frowned meaningfully. "You haven't sorted out your belongings," she chided ...

With No One As Witness LP. Copyright © by Elizabeth George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels of psychological suspense, one book of nonfiction, and two short story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and the MIMI, Germany's prestigious prize for suspense fiction. She lives in Washington State.

Brief Biography

Seattle, Washington
Date of Birth:
February 26, 1949
Place of Birth:
Warren, Ohio
A.A. Foothill Community College, 1969; B.A. University of California, Riverside, 1970; M.S. California State University

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With No One as Witness 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Book 13, in the Inspector Lynley series I am happy to see with this instalment my beloved protagonists Thomas Lynley and his partner Barbara Havers back to the forefront and plunged into a suspenseful case complete with red herrings and gritty crime scenes. The book provides an intellectual challenge, its 600 pages or more is a kaleidoscope of complicated themes and sub-themes crisscrossed with a rich narrative that keeps us on the edge of our seat while tracking the numerous players that pop in an out of the storyline. In this novel we follow the procedures that Scotland Yard Detectives employ on the trail of a serial killer who targets young boys in London and displays their bodies in a gruesome manner. Commissioner Hillier realises he has a serial killer when a fourth victim, a white teen, surfaces with similar wounds to three other non- white victims, he also realises he has to stay ahead of media hype and diffuse any accusations of racial preference by promoting officer Nkate ( a black man) to Detective Sergeant. The commissioner wants full control, puppets on a string style, Nkate handling the general public side and he is pressuring Lynley to work closely with a respected profiler and a in your face reporter. Thomas Lynley is at odds with these orders and the friction between them quickly builds. Where there is friction Barbara Havers' name always surfaces. She is still under scrutiny since her demotion but once more her style of working against the grain will bring success to the case. Meanwhile on another thread, on Lynley's home front a tragedy awaits that will alter his life for ever... Although overall the storyline moves at a slow pace I was immediately engaged in this drama that is far darker, more sombre and definitely more tragic than any of the previous endeavours in Lynley's career. I can't wait to see what happens next, my library is a little behind in this series.
nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
The latest in Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley novels, "With No One As Witness", delivers a shocker about 3/5 of the way through the book. It's an event that, quite frankly, you will never anticipate, and it's completely unnecessary to the plot, unless Ms George got tired of the way Lynley's life was going and wanted to be able to move him off in another direction. We'll have to see what happens in her next book - if indeed there is a next book.

That being said, and that plot twist aside, this is an excellent addition to one of the best British police procedurals being written today. Lynley and his two primary assistants, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata, have never been more human, more alive - especially considering the subject of this latest entry in the series. George writes her story with great tact, and most of what she says on the subject is implied. Of necessity there are some scenes that may turn your stomach, but these are kept to a minimum and George does not draw out her descriptions of these scenes.

Considering the hue and cry that emerged when this book came out, I will anxiously be awaiting news of the next book in this series - although as I said before, I wonder.....
sukie More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I was looking for this book in the library a few years ago, but actually found the book following this one "What Came Before He Shot Her" and realised what the shocker in the book "With No One As Witness" turned out to be. I was so upset and devastated by this development, that I could not read the book until just recently. Knowing what would happen, I still appreciated the book for the complex and detailed descriptions of London and the characters. Definitely cried at the end and I am now determined to catch up with the series. Not everyone will be as devastated as me, so I encourage you to read, read, read this book and be awed by the literary genius of Elizabeth George.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Ms. George's books and thoroughly enjoyed all of them except the one previous to 'With No One as Witness'. I know that many of her long time readers are upset with the dark tone, explicit detail, and tragic ending of this novel, but I thought it was all brilliantly executed and, thankfully, a true expression of the real world. Her novels are intricit puzzles interlaced with an accurate sensitivity and understanding of the real landscape of our society: the grinding poverty and alienation of many immigrants, the frustrations and at times near uselessness of many social welfare programs, and the carefully cultivated limited vision of the people who live in the 'good neighborhoods'. By the way, I hated McEwan's 'Atonement' - way too mannered and repetitive, but in novella form it might have worked. Absolutely no real story except at the beginning, a small middle section 'the war' and at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Lynley Mysteries. Although the reviews for this book are not as good as the others this is still a must read if you love the storyline. I appreciated the development of new characters giving the series a refreshing breeze. I look forward to more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An edge of your seat tale, quite horrifying in subject matter and totally gripping. Such anguish for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a real fan of George's and I loved this book, although I hated the loss of Helen, one of my favorite fictional characters. I felt the loss so deeply, and that is because the author did her job so well. She hits the emotional triggers in a very real way. I felt as grief-stricken as Lynley. My questions for the author: why get rid of this popular character, and did she plan for this several books ago?
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is impressive. When i open the book, i never closed the book until the ending. It kept my eyes open wide all night. You should enjoy that book because elizabeth really can capture your attention and she can write really GOOD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Please!!!!! I don't care if some facts are slightly off, the fact remains that Elizabeth Georges is the best author I've read so far. Such great character development. We tend to be overly critical with each new book, but if this were an unknown author's first book, this book would definately be acclaimed by all. It's her decision to eliminate a character we're very attached to. She's got something up her sleeve, let's wait and see. Surely not Lynley and Havers, but who knows what to expect. I'm really looking forward to reading her next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again George comes up with a masterpiece. This is the third book in a row I have read of hers and she continues to amaze me. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with to continue on with the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Writing a successful mystery series novel demands a rare blend of creativity and artistic steadfastness. It¿s possible to be an excellent writer and yet not be able to consistently deliver a fresh and compelling yet familiar universe. Sue Grafton, Dorothy Sayers and PD James have that ability. Elizabeth George, sadly, does not. George¿s first seven novels in the Inspector Lynley series were a dazzling marriage of clever whodunits, lyrical descriptions of atmosphere, and rich psychological portraits of characters that readers came to love passionately. But as the series has gone on, George¿s books became longer, more elaborate, and more of a literary experiment than a good mystery story. After reading A Traitor to Memory, where much of the book is eaten up by a complicated and barely relevant subplot told from the viewpoint of a male violinist, I began to wonder whether she had the stamina to sustain a long-running series. After reading With No One As Witness, I¿ve concluded that she¿s not. Unlike PD James, she seems unable to steer her characters through a long lifetime. She has not devised a plot evolution that would blast Simon and Deborah out of the rut of their failed pregnancies and as a result their story has become boring over the last three novels. She has fallen into the trap of creating the same characters over and over again: in Witness, her description of the budding relationship between Winston and Yasmin is so similar to the description of Tommy and Helen¿s courtship that it provokes a groan of ¿oh, no, not again!¿ Writing a series requires some steadfastness of artistic vision ¿ if your series is a mystery, you must be able to continue writing in that genre and resist the temptation to morph it into science fiction or hard-core thriller. PD James has understood that boring but powerful rule George has not. In Witness, she goes for a new genre, part mystery and part thriller, and ends up with a confusing hybrid that doesn¿t satisfy on any count. In other recent books, George has experimented, unhappily, with stream of consciousness or with eccentric points of view. These efforts reek of an author bored with her creation, and leave her loyal readers wondering when, if ever, they¿ll see another ¿classic¿ George mystery. And readers are losing patience: each book sells less well than the previous one, and Witness¿s sojourn on the bestseller lists was uncommonly short for a book so long awaited. The series novelist must have the ability to live with her characters for a long time. Agatha Christie put up with Hercule Poirot for¿.40 years? PD James is still going strong with Adam Dalgleish after nearly 30. Yet barely 15 years after introducing Helen Clyde, Ms. George kills her off, and in a manner so implausible that it caused ¿ in me, at least ¿ just about the worst reaction a writer can engender in a reader: instead of wholeheartedly entering the world of the story, I pulled back and found myself wondering what on earth is wrong with Elizabeth George. Many critics of Witness have -- rightly I think -- characterized the series as ¿tired.¿ The book feels as if Elizabeth George is tired of the series, tired of her characters, tired of the constraints of being a mystery writer. Tired, even, of the tedium of good workmanship. Witness includes a number of egregious factual errors about her characters that are surprising to long-time series followers. Surely she has achieved a level of financial success that would enable her to hire a fact checking assistant, or perhaps even re-read her manuscripts herself? Boredom, fatigue, creative well run dry -- whatever the reason, Ms. George should take a looooong vacation before pushing out another book in the Lynley series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want witty dialogue and amusing characters, then read Martha Grimes, who is wonderful in her own right. Don't look for that in Elizabeth George. I think that this novel is the best in this series in some time. My worry is that Thomas Lynley will not return to New Scotland Yard. I don't want to tell my friends anything about this book, because I don't want them to know what happens. I do, however, strongly recommend that they read it. The characterization and plot are as strong as ever. Elizabeth George is excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fan of Elizabeth George since first discovering the Thomas Lynley series, I suspect her latest With No One as Witness may be her best yet. The plot, based on the serial killing of pre-adolescent boys, is less convoluted than George¿s usual multi-layered, character-dominated novels. She remains focused on the case, but, as is her wont, gives psychological depth to both the main and the secondary figures. However, George being the writer she is, plot layers persist, taking readers off into byways and sideroads, keeping them eagerly turning pages. The novel reached deeper into the emotional core than mysteries are supposed to and at the book¿s end, I was deeply moved, feeling a sadness that was with me for days. The shocking ending is sure to upset some fans, whereas others will be pleased at George¿s apparent decision to realign her main characters. It seems she¿s gone about as far as she can go with the aristocratic sleuths and plans to bring the working-class detectives to the forefront. Lynley¿s friends, Simon and Deborah, for instance, have minor roles, whereas Winston Kikata, who is black, plays a larger part, being used by Lynley¿s antagonistic temporary boss, Hillier, to ward off charges of racial bias. And Barbara Havers, whose life has been so troubled and difficult in contrast to her partner Lynley¿s cushy one, seems to be finally coming into her own. A wonderful, absorbing read. Have your Kleenex handy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As always this was an Elizabeth George masterpiece well worth the wait. It was a page turner from beginning to end although heartbreaking in the loss of a beloved character. Each individual in a George novel is an old friend and this reader would have loved to have been acquainted a little bit longer with the character which we lost. Please do not bring the Lynley/Havers team to an end too soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those looking for diverting British whodunits had best look elsewhere - Ms. George requires her readers to pay attention - with head AND heart. This is one of her best in the uniformly excellent Lynley and Havers series, and one must read the previous books or be condemned to confusion over the relationships between the recurring characters. George's forte IS peering into the blackest depths of the human psyche - the selfish, petty, cruel and evil motivations of the players in this story lead to actions with consequences that vary widely from amusing and harmless to utterly devastating. Even with access through his eyes to the thoughts and actions of the killer, the reader becomes as frustrated as the police in trying to identify him. The tightly restrained anger of Lynley and the barely concealed rage of Havers at the sheer stupidity and perfidy of some of those they encounter, both together and alone, are palpable, especially in their dealings with the heirarchy of the Met. The tension builds nicely, and the wealth of detail adds to the immediacy. Her regulars in the series are revealed even further, especially Nkata, who really gets a chance to shine as he discovers truths about the murders, his colleagues and himself. Havers is marvellous, a rebel in the truest sense, though her belated realization of the effect her blody-mindedness has on those for whom she cares most deeply comes too late to prevent any damage. Her nobility shines forth at the end, as does that of Lynley, who is nothing less than heroic in his attempts to reconcile his self-doubt with his obligation to protect those he loves with relentless loyalty. The personal tragedy that occurs, which has been revealed by some selfish reviewers (thankfully, I pre-ordered the book and so read no reviews until I finished it), is handled rather dispassionately, which makes it heartbreaking without descending into maudlin sentimentality. This part of the story could not be more timely. The ending, emotionally satisfying as it was, leaves one in a slight state of panic, wondering, 'Was this the FINAL Lynley/Havers novel? I fervently hope not - I was just getting to know them...
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the writing of this novel Elizabeth George has once again given me hours of enjoyment and entertainment. I so enjoy her style and prose. It is like meeting up with old friends once again to read of the same characters.The plot was interesting and kept me turning pages. The only thing that spoiled it somewhat was the mention in some review of Helen's death. I would rather have found this out in the reading of the novel.
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nsrn More than 1 year ago
What, Ms. George???....six corpses in one novel aren't enough? You have to add Lady Helen for good measure???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've long been a fan of the Inspector Lynley series, but Elizabeth George takes a nasty turn in this book, invoking serial killings of young boys and bodily mutilation. The solving of the crime and the interaction of Lynley and Havers made for suspenseful reading in other books in the series, but this story veers unnecessarily into gruesome events that marred the enjoyment of the book for me. Try some of the earlier and later books in this series instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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