‘Well-Schooled in Murder’ is the third novel in Elizabeth George’s Inspector Linley series. And, the setting of this novel once again highlights the class differences between Inspector Thomas Linley (Lord Asherton) and his partner Sergeant Barbara Havers.
John Corntel is a teacher and house master at an exclusive boy’s boarding school – Bredgar Chambers. When a 13 year old boy in his care – Matthew Whateley, goes missing, he contacts his old schoolmate – Linley. A missing person case isn’t really Linley’s type of case, but when Matthew’s body is found naked and tortured in a churchyard, Linley and Havers go to Bredgar Chambers to investigate.
At the school, they are faced with a wall of silence, and buried beneath the silence, a sadistic culture of bullying that has continued through generations of students. As Linley makes discoveries about John Corntel, he realises that the culture at Bredgar Chambers is no different from his own schooling at Eton, and even all these years later he is still loyal to Corntel.
It is only by breaking the silence of a Bredgar Chambers student that Linley and Havers are able to uncover the murderer and in the process of the crime and its investigation everyone involved is changed forever, with several lives totally destroyed.
In their personal lives, Linley is trying to mend his relationship with Helen, while she tries to avoid him. Havers battles to support a mother with dementia and a dying father and Deborah and Simon struggle to come to terms with the consequences of their pasts.
The plot of the story was brilliant, but also quite depressing. Every character in the story was touched by what happened to Matthew Whateley – and I suppose a real-life murder would leave a similar trail of devastation.
The story was riveting and the book very hard to put down. I am enjoying the progression of the main characters’ personal lives as much as the murder mysteries in this series and I’m looking forward to the next instalment in – ‘A Suitable Vengeance’.
Book Published 1990