I am a big fan of mystery series. I like to follow the personal lives of the characters in addition to a really good whodunit. Elizabeth George is hands down one of my absolute favourites. Picking up her newest book is like opening a present you've been waiting for.
This Body of Death is the sixteenth book in the Inspector Thomas Lynley series. It picks up a mere three months from the last book. This is one of the appeals of George's novels - they happen in almost 'real time'.
Lynley is still recovering from a personal tragedy and is on leave from Scotland Yard. The acting superintendent, Isabelle Ardery, has alienated much of the team in her short stay. In an effort to win a permanent place, she asks Thomas to help with their latest case. A beautiful young woman has been found brutally murdered in a isolated cemetery. The clues point to the New Forest area, a community in a rural area. Two of the team - Winston Nkata and Barbara Havers are sent to follow up. Havers, Lynley's former partner, is one of my favourite characters. She is the antithesis to Lynley (who is actually a Lord.) Barbara doesn't give a fig for her appearance, smokes too much and bucks authority as much as she can without losing her job. But she is a determined investigator and her persistence usually pays off.
The book opens with a partial report from an unnamed author documenting a criminal act. Further parts of the report appear throughout the book, revealing more with each entry. Although seemingly unrelated, this element plays an integral part in the plot. And what a plot George has crafted! Multi layered and complex, it had me guessing right up to the end. Seemingly innocuous comments or observations often prove germane, so you definitely don't want to speed read. And I never do with any of George's books. For me they're a treat to be savoured.
While the plotting is fantastic, the characters play just as big a part of the book for me. After fifteen novels, I am quite invested in these recurring characters. I was actually quite upset with George when she 'tampered' with their lives in a way I didn't like in a previous book. The ending of This Body of Death has opened the door to many other changes, some that I am not looking forward to, others that I hope that I hope will develop. Nothing is predictable or static in the world of Inspector Lynley, each book is fresh.
Read an excerpt of This Body of Death.
This a series I'm passionate about. I encourage you to discover it as well! Fans of Kate Atkinson would enjoy this author.