Monday, September 3, 2007

A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George

My first read for the challenge!

In the Yorkshire village of Keldale, a young woman is found in her family’s barn, wearing her Sunday best and sitting next to her father’s headless corpse. Her only words are, “I did it. And I’m not sorry.” Scotland Yard is called in, and Superintendent Webberly assigns Inspector Thomas Lynley, eighth earl of Asherton, as well as Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, to the case. Lynley, handsome, wealthy, titled, and charming, is the last person most people would expect to be a good match for bitter, aggressive, unpleasant DS Havers.

I enjoyed A Great Deliverance quite a bit. George got me interested in Lynley and Havers quite early in the book (in fact, it was reading Barbara’s thoughts in an excerpt of the first section that attracted me to the book in the first place.) The mystery was intriguing, and I found the ending fairly satisfying. Unfortunately, the plot featured a few too many coincidences, and there were rather too many breakdowns resulting in confessions and outpourings of emotion.

I could also have done without Lynley’s last two confrontations; the first of them was fully justified, but something about Lynley’s attitude during it bothered me. As the second involved him delivering judgement on a woman who was practically a total stranger, on an issue on which he had very little (if any) moral high ground to stand on, I wasn’t too impressed with him.

I would also have liked to see a little more exploration of the things revealed when the mystery was solved; once the truth was discovered, the end felt rushed, as though the author was frantic to tie up every loose end any way she could, as quickly as she could.

Nevertheless, A Great Deliverance is a mystery novel I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any fan of the genre, or even a number of people who aren’t. I’m looking forward to hunting up the next books in the series.

(X-posted at my blog)


Pour of Tor said...

Our first review! Hurrah!

I too really enjoy Elizabeth George's Lynley and Havers series, but I am afraid I stalled out about a year ago a few books into it. Suddenly the next book in the series was a prequel, but I had become so attached to the characters and their developing relationships (which is the strength of the series, I think) that I found it almost impossible to go back and sympathize with earlier (misguided seeming) versions of them.

poodlerat said...

I think I would, too...I'll have to watch out for prequels, because I can't see myself liking them.

I may eventually read all the (non-prequel) books in the series, but I don't feel any urgency. I enjoyed this one very much, but I can't see myself, say, eagerly anticipating the release of a new book in the series, the way I do with a mystery writer like Laurie R. King.