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A Suitable Vengeance [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth George
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 1992
Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart. Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, has brought to Howenstow, his family home, the young woman he has asked to be his bride. But the savage murder of a local journalist is the catalyst for a lethal series of events that shatters the calm of a picturesque Cornwall village and embroils Lynley and St. James in a case far outside their jurisdiction—and a little too close to home. When a second death follows closely on the heels of the first, Lynley finds he can't help taking the investigation personally—because the evidence points to a killer within his own family.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At the heart of George's ( Payment in Blood ) darkly vibrant modern English mystery lie love, requited and not; and injuries of the kind that only intimates--parents, siblings, lovers, close friends--or perhaps one's own treacherous ego can inflict. Thomas Lynley, eighth earl of Asherton and a detective inspector of New Scotland Yard, brings his fiancee Deborah Cotton to Cornwall to meet his widowed mother. Accompanying them are Lynley's best friend, forensic scientist Simon St. James; St. James's sister Sidney; her boyfriend Justin Brooke; Lady Helen Clyde, St. James's partner and former lover; and Deborah's father, St. James's valet. Unexpected events of the weekend include a violent fight between Sidney and Justin, the appearance of Lynley's cocaine-addicted brother, the brutal murder of the village newspaper editor, and Justin's death on the cliffs. Lynley and St. James attempt to trace motives and alibis among guests and villagers while each is deeply enmeshed in personal pain: Lynley's over his estrangement from his mother since his father's death many years before, and St. James's over his unspoken--and, he believes, unspeakable--love for Deborah. The resolution of the accumulating murders involves different kinds of illegal drugs and centers around the activities of a young London woman whose true identity surprises everyone. Even more intricate than George's deftly handled plot, however, are the paths etched by her anguished, memorable characters, as they struggle with the secrets of their hearts.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA-- A beautifully written novel that will hold YAs' attention. The family home of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, Eighth Earl of Ashenton, becomes a hotbed of suspicion instead of the scene of a lovely engagement party when a murder in a nearby village brings buried feelings to the surface. For those who demand more of their murder mysteries than a slam-bang whodunit, George provides deeply drawn characters along with page-turning excitement. The principals take readers into their innermost feelings even as they themselves are denying those feelings, and the story's complexities are just as intricate as the characters themselves. Family ties, love connections, friendships, denial, goodness and greed, humility and arrogance, drugs, and even transvestite action all weave their way through the plot and through the murders. Competent readers should have no trouble with the Briticisms or sometimes difficult style. The excellent descriptive writing and fascinating twists make A Suitable Vengeance well worth the extra effort expended.
- Bunni Union, Young Adult Services, Geauga West Library, OH
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To the Manor Born Dec 6 2008
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Suitable Vengeance is a back story for the Lynley-Havers series that enriches the following books in the series by exposing the nature of Lynley's upbringing and his relationships with his family, his friend Simon Allcourt-St. James and the two beguiling women who intrigue him, Deborah Cotter and Lady Helen Clyde. In providing much rich perspective, this is clearly a five-star effort.

Ms. George also feels the need to put in a murder mystery. But that part of the book is a lower priority and shuffles off in the background while chests and bosoms heave in the drawing room. The mystery has more than it's share of red herrings and will keep you truly puzzled by what in the world is going on in several places (especially the opening). As I read the mystery, I often felt like I could have described myself as "Clueless in Gaza."

Lynley is engaged to be married to Deborah Cotter, the daughter of Simon's gentleman's gentleman. Simon has always been attracted to her as well, but has kept his distance. Deborah has been away in the United States for several years which is where her romance with Lynley bloomed during brief visits by Lynley. Lynley plans to bring Deborah and her father and old friends, Simon and Lady Helen, to a weekend party to meet his mother at the family's country estate in Cornwall. The backdrop is tense. Lynley doesn't like to play his role as lord of the manor and he seems to want to avoid his mother. What a way to start a marriage!

Circumstances soon impinge on the weekend plans when a local man is found dead in his home while his tiny baby cries on. Lynley is completely undone by having people he knows be part of a homicide, and he acts with uncharacteristic negligence like a normal citizen rather than a DI.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars George gets sexy April 21 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The most interesting thing about this book is not the murder plot but the wonderfully repressed and English longings that Deborah and St James have towards eachother and how their feverish lust for eachother heats up towards the end. I sometimes wonder why George writes mystery books - her plots tend to be pretty thin, relying heavily on coincidence. What she does so terrifically is write about human emotion, love, hate and all the shades in between.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love the Inspector Lynley books! This is a prequel so read this one first before you read the "first" book. Great mystery and great love story triangle where Deb and Simon FINALLY get together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. George is a Master! June 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely love Elizabeth George's writing and her characters. This book was interesting because it told us about the earlier life of Lynley, St. James, Lady Helen and Deb. We got bits and pieces of the whole situation in her previous books, but never the whole story. It helps explain a number of things and different character traits and undercurrents from previous books. And Ms. George can write! Her novels are so much more complex than simple little "who-dunits". The story takes the reader along on Ms. George's own little Magic Carpet ride, and nothing exists for us except Lynley and his friends. We even get a short preliminary look at Barbara Havers in this book. She is by far my favourite character, and I miss her absence, but realize that she wasn't part of Lynley's life during the time setting of this book. I look forward now to continuing with the storyline in subsequent books, and feel that I have a better understanding now of why Tommy thinks and acts the way he does.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent background information Feb. 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this fourth book in the Lynley/Havers series (although Havers appears only very briefly). In an earlier book, you are clued in that Thomas had feelings for Deborah earlier in time. In this book, you will receive the details regarding how Deborah ended up marrying Simon rather than Thomas. As well, the mystery of Lynley's past is unveiled. I was appreciative of George's writing, as I have been with the previous three books and, just as much, appreciated the history provided as I had been curious as to that storyline.
Looking forward to beginning the 5th in the series!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "First" And The Best July 12 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was, really, the beginning of the Lynley saga, and I think it was by far the best in the series because it featured the most interaction between the four real characters in this series(I know all the Barbara lovers will groan,but I don't include her because, to me, she is so unlikable). George is alot like Anne Perry in the sense that while her mysteries are good(but not great), her drawing of relationships between the main characters is just outstanding. That is why I have been so dissapointed in some of her recent efforts where St. James and Deb, and sometimes even Helen, hardly appear. If you like George because of her character interplay, read this book(although I agree the mystery here is not as good as some of her others).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the bunch. April 27 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I wish that this one had been written first. When I first bought it, I was running around, trying to figure out the plot points.
George almost makes Tommy human in this one. But why is Deborah the villain and Tommy the victim? (re the abortion)
I mean, really! She was only 18 years old, for heaven's sake. Tommy is at least ten years older. He follows her to America, seduces her when she is vulnerable and lonely, and SHE is the bad guy? At least Simon had the decency not to sleep with a young girl who he knew was in love with him.
Although when you look at it, Simon's behavior towards her was cold and in some ways, cruel. He should have written to her while she was gone. And if he truly thought that she was better off without him, he should have bowed out of her life completely, instead of using his friendship with her father as an excuse for interfering. ("Go away-No, come back") He only admits that he wants her when she is engaged to another. Typical.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have been a short story
The story is very complex, one that explains the background of several characters of this Inspector Lynley mystery series . Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2007 by Toni Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from the pen of Elizabeth George!
This is exactly the sort of story that keeps me coming back to read more of George's "mysteries." Since her first novel in the series, A Great Deliverance, I have been fascinated... Read more
Published on June 24 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Still trying
I am gamely trying to admire these books as much as everyone else seems too, but if George doesn't get on with it in the 5th, I'm going to hang it up. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2003 by dbphoenix
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Soap Opera
This is the 4th E. George book I've read, and had I read it first it would have been the only one. I'm reminded of why I like "Law and Order" on TV, because everything has to do... Read more
Published on Dec 15 2002 by Sharonov
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas,Simon,&Deborah:what IS their past? GREAT mystery too.
*****Perfect for all: old fans and New to Elizabeth George,too: This could be read as the "first" in the series, although it wasn't written first. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2002 by "lynkfri13"
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
Admittedly it was interesting to have an excursion back into their pasts. But this is not the best of the bunch so far. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2002 by RachelWalker
3.0 out of 5 stars Fourth and Out!
This was the fourth book in the Lynley-Havers series that I have read (I have read them in order) and am sure it is my last. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2001 by BeachReader
1.0 out of 5 stars She's written better
I read "Deception on His Mind" and " In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner", both pretty entertaining (although a bit verbose). Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2001 by Scott K. Brown
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