Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George

‘Payment In Blood’ is the 2nd book in Elizabeth George’s Linley series and features many of the characters that were introduced in the first book – ‘A Great Deliverance’.

A group, preparing for a play in a London Theatre, gather at a Scottish manor for a read-through of the play. On their first night there, the playwright – Joy Sinclair, is murdered with a Scottish Dirk. Even through it is out of Scotland Yard’s jurisdiction, Linley is sent to investigate the murder along with Sergeant Havers and forensic specialist Simon St James. Linley has been chosen as the person that can deal properly with the aristocratic producer. Much to Linley’s surprise, the woman he loves – Lady Helen Clyde, is with the theatre group.

Investigation of Joy Sinclair’s life shows that just about all members of the group have a motive for the murder. Linley immediately focuses his attention on Rhys Davies-Jones, the man with whom Helen is intimately involved, while Havers suspects Lord Stinhurst (the producer) because he will only speak to Linley in private. As they continue to question the suspects, another murder is carried out.

As the investigation takes them away from Scotland Linley follows one lead, while Havers secretly carries out her own investigation. Eventually Linley and Havers gather enough information between them to determine the motive for the murder. They then work together to lure the murderer into revealing himself/herself.

Meanwhile, Linley’s pursuit of Rhys has damaged his relationship with Helen, possibly irreparably.

Relationships played as big a part in the novel as the plot. For this reason, I’m glad that I’ve read the novels of the series in order and plan to continue doing so.


I found that this novel didn’t have quite the same impact that the first novel in the series had. But it was still an excellent read. I’ll be moving on to the third in the series – ‘Well Schooled In Murder’.


Book Published 1989


See a full list of books by Elizabeth George

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