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Payment in Blood
By Elizabeth George

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Payment in Blood

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Payment in Blood
By Elizabeth George
Thorndike Press, Large Print Edition (2009)
ISBN 10: 1-4104-1455-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-4104-1455-7
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Angela Evans - June 3, 2009

The Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers mystery series has long been a favorite with both fans of Elizabeth George and with mystery readers around the world. Payment in Blood is the second book in this famous series, and it is one of the many books by George that are at long last being issued in large print! In the first book in this series, A Great Deliverance, we were introduced to the dynamic detecting duo of Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth Earl of Asherton and to his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. In this book, the two are beginning to merge into a solid team, and George lets us learn more about their personalities and back-stories. This installment in the Lynley-Havers saga also introduces Simon St. James, Lynley's friend and a forensics expert.

Payment in Blood is a murder mystery that centers upon the death, by nefarious means, of the playwright Joy Sinclair. She is murdered while at an isolated Scottish estate surrounded by thespian members of the glitterati and their wealthy supporters and hanger-ons. As the investigation proceeds, it quickly becomes clear that Sinclair's newest script reveals many secrets that far too many would be willing to kill to keep secret. Consequently, the number of suspects is rather large and includes such notables as Lynley's girlfriend, Lady Helen Clyde, Lord Stinhurst, better known as the famed producer, Stuart Rintoul, the journalist Jeremy Vinney, Joanna Ellacourt, the famous actress, and many more.

This is a delicious mystery with many subplots and complex characters that make this a pleasurable story to read and a challenging story to solve before the detectives do. Interwoven throughout the story is the problem of class consciousness and the inequities inherent in England's hereditary hierarchy. Although Lynley belongs to the English privileged class, he is noticeably ill at ease dealing with the members of his 'class' whereas Havers seems to delight in their discomfort at being questioned by those they deem beneath themselves!

Payment in Blood is a terrific book, and you can tell that George already has a firm hand on her main characters and is poised to present them with more difficult challenges in the volumes to come.


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