My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I was looking for another formulaic mystery to read, preferably one of a series that I could return to when my appetite for these types of stories arises in the future.
This story is set in England and the main characters are Scotland Yard detectives. Inspector Lynley has the appearance of being a ‘playboy’ who is only on the force because of his family name and Inspector Havers is an awkward, somewhat uptight woman who has a serious distaste for Lynley.
They are sent to investigate a man’s murder in a small Yorkshire town. They meet interesting characters, work their way through unraveling the truth, get it almost right, get it wrong, get it right, yada yada, there’s your mystery. Nothing really special there, although I thought the mystery part was adequate enough for me.
What I liked more was the relationship between Lynley and Havers and the fact that the reader heard both of their inner thoughts about each other – is this called “third person omniscient”? Where is my fairy godmother when I have a grammar question (I really do have a godmother who is an English professor)! Regardless of its official name, it’s cool when you get the thoughts characters have about other characters and vice-versa. Especially in this case since they aren’t hitting the mark with their assumptions about the other, which probably happens all the time in real life.
Inspectory Lynley books were made into a television series for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) in the 2001 and this book was used for the pilot episode. Here is the cover:
I find this cover hilarious because while I see a good match with Havers (the bookish woman), the male here does not scream playboy to me. He looks a little, um, ‘uncomfortable’. This TV series ran until 2007 but not all of the episodes were based on Elizabeth George’s books. Another interesting note: While this is everything British, Elizabeth George herself is American.
On a semi-related note, I used this book for a little experiment. I looked up the definition of every word I didn’t know as I was reading. This might sound weird, but after one page alone I found 12 words I didn’t actually know the definition of and I realized I might be over-using the ‘using context to understand a word” concept. In some cases I was dead wrong about what I thought the word meant and in some cases I was missing a critical description of something because I just took an adjective I didn’t know to basically mean the same thing as an adjective next to it. Which, obviously makes no sense when you think about it – why would someone write that the sky is blue and blue? Lesson learned: I need to slow down my reading to ensure I’m capturing what the author is putting out there. That’s really the only way to really get the whole story.
But back to the book. I liked it, will read more in the series, and would recommend it to anyone who likes ‘cozy mysteries’. What’s a cozy? Read my post about it! It does exactly fit the definition, but I think it would be enjoyed by someone who likes cozies too.