Joanne’s Mystery Picks

35743047THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES by Elizabeth George

“More” is not always better.  I say this in reference to the length of this latest Inspector Lynley novel which clocks in at 690 pages.  I found it often tedious and repetitive, bogged down with the ongoing “bedroom olympics” amongst a group of teens.

DS Barbara Havers is paired up with DCS Isabelle Ardery as they are sent to the small, quiet town of Ludlow to investigate a death-in custody.  Their “pairing” isn’t simply to look at the events leading up to this death, but a deliberate attempt to sabotage Barbara into using her “creative initiative” once again, which will inevitably lead to her transfer to another jurisdiction – something that Ardery has been working towards for a very long time.  Meanwhile, Ardery is fighting her own demons and they get in the way of a proper investigation.

Call it what you will, but Barbara’s “creative initiative” discovers a web of mis-direction, lies, and obfuscation.  With Lynley by her side, they are able to slowly create a timeline of events which paints a clear picture of what actually happened.

This novel is all about power and the abuse of power.  My one question is: who in the story is the “she” in the title?  For I don’t believe that any of the female characters “deserve” punishment.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

banquetA Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

Hampered by rules and regulations, Barbara Havers hasn’t been working up to her personal potential since returning from her trip to Italy in search of her former neighbors Taymullah Azhar and his daughter Hadiyyah.  In fact, that trip has put her in hot water with DS Isabelle Ardery and she is walking a fine line between keeping her position in London and being transferred to the “boonies”.  Lynley goes to bat for her when Barbara comes across a possible murder after attending a reading by the feminist and author, Clare Abbott.  Havers is given the go-ahead to head the investigation in Cambridge but must toe the line – or else.
Meanwhile in London, Tommy is investigating a disturbing case whose tentacles reach far and wide and with time entangle themselves in the very case that Barbara is investigating.  How these two cases are linked is what begins an investigation into a family of such dysfunction that it beggars belief.
The plotting of this novel is an amazing feat of twists and turns and surprises and at 576 pages, every word is critical to getting us to its conclusion.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Elizabeth George is a master of this genre.