Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart.
Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, has brought to Howenstow, his family home, the young woman he has asked to be his bride. But the savage murder of a local journalist is the catalyst for a lethal series of events that shatters the calm of a picturesque Cornwall village and embroils Lynley and St. James in a case far outside their jurisdiction - and a little too close to home. When a second death follows closely on the heels of the first, Lynley finds he can't help taking the investigation personally - because the evidence points to a killer within his own family.
©1991 Susan Elizabeth George (P)1993 Recorded Books
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
This book belongs in the annals of the "good old days" of Thomas Lynley novels. Obviously, characters and situations change in series--but in reading this book (about the 4th or 5th in the series) I was reminded how very much this series has altered over the years, not always for the best. Many of the main people in the more recent books were never even a part of the early ones. And these are the characters that we originally got to know and love--sadly, they rarely, if ever, appear any more.
That being said, this book opens with Inspector Thomas Lynley (who is actually Lord Asherton) bringing his fiancee to his ancestral home, to celebrate his engagement. Murder presents itself fairly quickly, and Lynley finds himself trying to handle this new challenge.
Present are those whom I consider to be the core characters of the early books--Deborah Cotter & her father, who is the butler for Simon Allcourt-St.James, Helen Clyde--who assists in police investigations (and will become more important in future books) and Lynley's family. This book in particular lays out more of the back story of who Lynley is, how he has come to have some attitudes that show up in other books but with fewer explanations. And frankly, just as a mystery novel, this one is far superior to her more recent selections. I've read every one--am a great fan of the series--but I had forgotten how much more engaging the early ones were.
Somewhere along the line, Elizabeth George decided to go in a different direction with characters and plots. I understand change happens, but I sure do miss these old, original books. Plan to listen to them all for the sheer pleasure of the interaction among this set of people. Just one tiny thing--Davina Porter, who is an exceptionally good narrator, does not seem at her best in this one. I found a few of the voices uncomfortable to listen to--however, not so much that I would lower the stars because of it. She is still a very good reader of this book. Highly recommend!
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