‘A Suitable Vengeance’ is the 4th novel in Elizabeth George’s Linley series, but it is set in time several years before the first three books. This flashback novel gives an excellent insight into the lives of Thomas Linley, Simon Allcourt-St James, Helen Clyde and Deborah cotter as well as their families, and helps to explain the situation they are in elsewhere in the series. And of course the novel contains a few good murders.
Deborah has returned from 3 years in America and broken Simon’s heart by agreeing to marry Tommy. Everyone, including Helen and Cotter (Deborah’s father), are just coming to terms with the situation, so are not overly keen about attending and engagement weekend at the Linley Cornwall estate. To add to the tension, Tommy has barely spoken to his mother in 15 years and he is at odds with his cocaine addicted brother, Peter, who is also in Cornwall. Simon’s sister, Sydney, also attends the weekend with her druggy boyfriend.
The day after their arrival, a local journalist is brutally murdered and mutilated and one of the prime suspects is Peter Linley. This first death is closely followed by two others, and Tommy finds himself investigating very close to home.
The plot takes many twists and turns through greed and drugs and emotional turmoil to its eventual conclusion.
I love getting into the lives of characters, so I thoroughly enjoyed this additional background on the characters in the Linley series. We already know that Deborah marries Simon, so this book explains how that came about and why Tommy is so devastated about it.
With the book mostly based around the Linley estate, I felt there was a bit too much good breeding and stiff upper lip for comfort and although Barbara Havers did appear in the book, a bit more from her would have helped to bring things down to earth.
I’m looking forward to continuing the series with my new insight into the lives of the characters. The next one is ‘For The Sake of Elena’.
Book Published 1991