‘This Body of Death’ is Elizabeth George’s 16th Inspector Linley mystery and while Linley is slowly getting back to the man we know and love (after his wife’s murder), at times in this novel he seemed to be dragged there painfully.
The main story within this book concerns the murder of a young woman in a London Cemetery. Jemima Hastings had only recently moved to London from the New Forest area of Hampshire. So Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata spend time in this charming area where ponies roam free, investigating her background.
The main investigation takes place in London where the team is led by Acting Detective Superintendent Isabelle Ardery who desperately wants to lead the team permanently. Knowing the team’s loyalty to Thomas Linley, she convinces him to come on board to ‘show her the ropes’.
There is a second story running throughout the book involving the abduction and murder of a toddler by three 10 & 11 year old boys. It is not till near the end of the book that we find out the relationship between the two stories.
Ardery is a functioning alcoholic. She has lost her husband and twin boys. She attempts to micromanage the case and makes some very poor decisions. She has no idea how to handle Sir David Hillier (her boss) who is the one person she needs to impress. Without Linley’s help she would not have got through the case. Her main achievement seems to be getting Linley into bed (I’m disappointed in him).
Once again it is Barbara Havers who manages, through dogged determination and insubordination to bring the case together. Havers and Ardery do not see eye to eye on much, including Havers’ dress sense.
There are a huge number of interesting characters in this book. The murderer turned out to be one of the least interesting and the motive for the murder seemed to me to be incredibly weak.
The book seemed to me to be overly long. There was plenty of detail that I could have done without – including what people had for breakfast. But buried somewhere beneath the verbosity was an excellent story and I’m looking forward to more from Linley, Havers, Nkata and Ardery and I’m especially looking forward to what happens to Barbara’s neighbours Azhar and Hadiyyah.
The next book in the series is ‘Believing The Lie’ which I have already read.
Book Published 2010