This is the first novel of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Linley series, and I’m glad that I’ve decided to start reading this series from the beginning. This novel was excellent, as much for the characters as the plot.
Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers has worked with almost everyone in CID and upset them all. Now after a stint back in uniform she is being given one last chance. Working class and very class conscious and angry with the world, Havers is now to work with Mr Perfection, the eighth Earl of Asherton, Thomas Linley. She believes that she is being set up to fail. But, Linley also has a past and that allows him to be caring and compassionate, but is he hard skinned enough to put up with Havers’ tantrums?
The two of them are sent to the small village of Keldale, near York. 19 year old Roberta (Bobby) Teys has been found in a barn with the decapitated body of her father and her beloved dog – Whiskers has had its throat slashed. The only words she has spoken since being found are: ‘I did it. And I’m not sorry’. But no-one in Keldale believes that Roberta could have murdered her father.
As Linley and Havers investigate, they discover that the people of Keldale are not all that they seem, with mysteries, secrets and tragedies surrounding many of their lives. And, through most of the book there is incredible tension between Linley and Havers, as she resents everything about him and waits to be fired from her job.
Eventually, largely due to Havers perceptiveness, they manage to get to the bottom of what has happened in Keldale recently and in the more distant past.
Also making an appearance in this novel are some characters who are significant throughout the series: Simon Allcourt-St James (Linley’s long-term friend), Deborah (Linley’s ex-love and now Simon’s wife), Helen (Linley’s ‘girlfriend’), Webberley (Linley’s boss), and Barbara’s parents.
I wasn’t thrilled with the latest novel in the series ‘Believing the Lie’, so it took me a while to get around to reading this one, but I’m pleased that I finally got there. This brilliant novel has inspired me to keep going with the series, so next I’ll be reading ‘Payment In Blood’. Not many detective novels make me cry, but there were two scenes in this one that got me going.
Book Published 1988