This is the most recent Inspector Lynley novel (2010) and one of the ones I like best. The plot is intricate and the action is hard to anticipate, plus author Elizabeth George has introduced a couple of interesting new characters who seem to be on their way to becoming part of the semi-permanent Lynley group.
One of them, Isabelle Ardery, is well drawn and so convincing that I immediately disliked her and was not particularly happy with her status at the novel's end. But I don't read George to make myself happy. I read her because she writes intelligent mysteries that have characters with depth, and with whom I can empathize.
Her ability to prompt readers' to empathize with some of her unconventional characters is one of George's great strengths, and in this latest installment she uses it to advantage regarding several of the characters that are particular to this novel and probably will not turn up again. Chief among those is Gordon Jossie, a thatcher who works in a historic village restoring the reed roofs of ancient cottages. While he is definitely a peculiar man with what is revealed to be a troubling past, George evokes a compassion for Gordon in her readers, only to give us a jolt at the novel's end when we learn the full truth of Gordon's secrets. Once I knew who Gordon was, I was surprised at how a seemingly quirky, but generally decent-seeming guy, could have been someone else entirely in his early life. George inspires a similar compassion from her readers for several of the other characters as well, including Meredith and Hastings who are plain in appearance but beautiful in spirit.
And then there is my favorite continuing character, Barbara Havers, Lynley's detective partner and a woman who has an abundance of eccentric traits but few feminine ones. I've read several reviewers who dislike Barbara because of her slovenly ways, but I love her spirit and her willingness to follow her own star, so to speak.
After ploughing through Careless in Red, the book that immediately preceded This Body of Death, I found George's latest to be a refreshing reversion to her more usual, superior writing. While I would never give a Lynley book a bad review, there are some that I have rated lower than others. Happily, I can give this one 5 stars with no equivocation. If you haven't yet read other novels in the Lynley series, however, I suggest that you read those before picking up this one, as there are some important plot details that take place in earlier novels, without which you will be a bit at sea in This Body of Death.
Except for a random storyline that I couldn't understand the reason for, Elizabeth George's This Body of Death was one of her best mysteries. George, one of my favorite mystery authors who has written a series of about 15 of these Lynley novels, is from Washington state, but writes a series about Lynley, an upper-crust gentleman, who, for some reason, works at Scotland Yard. Inspector Lynley is back after taking a break because of his wife's death. The death casts … more
I own a communications consultancy in NYC called MAKE WAVES, which serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. I also hold a Visiting Lecturer position at Milano: The New School for Management & … more
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