For the Sake of Elena by Elizabeth George

‘For the Sake of Elena’ is the 5th book in Elizabeth George’s Linley series and in this story, a twenty year old Cambridge student has been brutally bashed and strangled. Apart from the main plot, there are further instalments in the personal lives of Thomas Linley and Barbara Havers and messages about marginalised groups, relationships and portraying the right image.

In a past case, many of the Cambridge University administration felt that the local police made a mess of it, so when Elena Weaver – a student and daughter of a Cambridge Don is murdered, Scotland Yard is called in. And, with Lady Helen Clyde staying with her sister in Cambridge, Linley volunteers for the job. And, while spending time in Cambridge creates problems for Havers, it eventually forces her to decide how best to care for her mother who is suffering from dementia.

The list of suspects for Elena’s murder is huge. Her parents divorced when she was five. Her mother is consumed with resentment against her father. Elena’s stepmother is jealous of the attention that Elena’s father now pays to Elena and is completely obsessed with the image that they all portray. Elena’s father has also recently ended a relationship with another woman.

Even though Elena was born deaf, she was never allowed to sign because her parents wanted her to be ‘normal’. She is now involved with the deaf student’s union and has had a rocky relationship with one of its members. She has also raised a sexual harassment complaint against one of her lecturers and she is having an affair with a married man. Her post-mortem shows that she was pregnant.

Have I missed anyone off the list?

With Linley and Havers both facing their own personal crises, this case has a lot for them to unravel. They both fixate on different suspects before finally getting their act together. And, in the end, they have to be led to the killer.


Although this book was packed to overflowing with red-herrings and side-stories, it was very enjoyable to read. Elizabeth George has the ability to pull me into the lives and emotions of her characters and in this case I felt pretty devastated when I found out who the murderer was.

I’m looking forward to another roller-coaster ride with the next book in the series  ‘Missing Joseph’.


Book Published 1992


See a full list of books by Elizabeth George

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