Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team doesn't trust the leadership of their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, but Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer's hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden and possibly attractive vulnerability.
While Lynley works in London, his former colleagues Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata follow the murder trail south to the New Forest, a beautiful and strange place where outsiders are not entirely welcome. What they don't know is that more than one dark secret lurks among the trees, and that their investigation will lead them to an outcome that is both tragic and shocking.
A multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of a story skillfully structured to keep readers guessing until the very end, This Body of Death is a magnificent achievement from a writer at the peak of her powers.
©2010 Susan Elizabeth George (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
"George tantalizes with glimpses of a horrific earlier murder case; showcases Lynley at his shrewdest, most diplomatic best; and confounds readers with a complex array of evidence, motives, and possible solutions." (Publishers Weekly)
Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery.
This book oddly combines the successes and failures of her last two novels-- after hating "What Came Before He Shot Her" and Loving "Careless in Red," I had more than one twinge of fear that this was going down the "What Came Before..." path. It didn't. Tough book to review because I don't want to give any hints of the twists or turns and there are some. Stay with the book, it'll surprise you in good ways, characters we know and love continue to develop too. Some scenes tremble a little too close to the disgusting and I confess fast forwarding through at least three ummm...unpleasantries. But in the end a satisfying read, and when as she often says, the other shoe finally falls and the reader figures out where George is going it's a delight indeed!
I'm a long time fan, but I have to admit this one made even me sit up and pay attention. I initially downloaded this onto my kindle, but it was so interesting about half-way through I downloaded it from audible because I wanted to "hear" the characters. I was not disappointed. It appears to be two totally separate stories and while each story is totally compelling, I found myself wondering how on earth she was going to connect the two. Don't want to give anything away, so I won't say much more, except near the end I suspected how she would do it and was still blown away!
If you've never read any of her books, don't worry, each book is a stand alone experience. She doesn't rehash everything from earlier novels as some authors do, and I found myself remembering little details about my favorite characters Lynley, Havers, St. James, etc. (i.e. how Lynley got that faint scar on his lip).
I can't wait to see what she will write next. Meanwhile, I enjoyed this one so much I've decided to revisit some of her earlier works I'd listened to and read many years ago. Unfortunately, I downloaded most of them under an old audible account. But, she is so wonderful I think I will pay for them again.
I was telling my mate about this book and commented I now understand that horrible character in Steven Kings novel that kidnapped the poor author in order to make him write another book! (Just kidding!). But seriously, I do wish Ms. George could write just a little bit faster! LOL!
I was a little hesitant to purchase this audio book after having read the reviews, which were mixed. However, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth George, both in audio and in print, and this audio book did not disappoint. The narration by John Lee is award-winning, I think, and the plot is suspenseful and well developed. My only criticism is that it takes a little while to "get into" the book. But it's worth the wait. I thought this audio book was absolutely tremendous and would recommend it to any mystery reader.
Reasons to love this 2 credit book:
Intricate and captivating plot**
Havers vs. Arderey**
Ending that makes you want to have the next book ---now!
Guitarist with The Prudes
I rarely give up on a book but this one beat me. The style is odd, you never feel part of the story, it's like someone giving a briefing.
The Plot is ripped out of a horrible UK child abduction/killing from a few years ago, a blatant copy from the headlines. The true story was extremely sad and unpleasant and why anyone would wish to rip it off for cash is beyond me. The author can do better.
Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria told Mozart his most recent composition had "too many notes". Although I really like Elizabeth George's books, this one had "too many words". Much of the descriptions in one chapter or another could have been left out with no damage to the story. Still, Havers is my favoriate...next to Salandar.
I did not figure out whodunit on this one and for that reason I give it 4 stars.
I still like EG.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
Ugh. How could you, Elizabeth?
Lynley makes choices in this novel that are humiliating. Even in grief, I just don't believe Lynley would become this person.
John Lee was an acceptable narrator, and I am grateful that Havers was still herself. But the rest of it repelled a (former) big fan.
Complex, detailed, psychologically astute. I enjoyed the complexity a good deal, tuning in for an hour or so every day for 10 days and didn't figure things out until just before the reveal.
There are very dark corners as well as a new turn in the lives of Lynley and Havers. Not for the squeamish. But this is a must-hear for Elizabeth George fans.
I loved this book, my first Elizabeth George after listening to all the other popular ones like Stieg Larsson, PD James, Sara Paretsky. I did not even figure out the ending.
THIS BODY OF DEATH is very good; but I didn't find the psychology of the characters as interesting as in other of her novels. There are two stories that appear to have nothing to do with each other (and don't until very near the end). In one of the threads, the reader knows no more or less than DI Lynley as he tries to figure out the relationships between the victim and other people she knew; we sometimes observe a character without his presence, but what we're seeing doesn't feel like is anything we can make sense of (and it isn't). The reader is an observer of all the characters but inside the heads of no one. Lynley is slowly picking up the pieces of his life after the violent death of his wife and unborn child two books ago, so maybe he's only 1/2 present too.
The second thread takes place in the past and we learn about it in bits and pieces throughout the book. The first thread of the story is interrupted to turn to the second thread about three young boys from very dysfunctional families who randomly select a toddler and as we learn eventually, kill him brutally.
In the last hour of the book, these threads come together. The underlying theme appears in several of George's books - how the past surfaces in the present.
John Lee is excellent in his narration.
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