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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
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 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 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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Elizabeth George's Novels Aug. 1 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is my favorite George novel of the 4 I've read so far.

It keeps you in suspense throughout and adds new twists, turns and characters as it goes along. It also has a variety of unusual topics (I won't ruin the surprise for you). I enjoyed St. James' increased visibility and Lynley's character and history are explained in more detail. St. James' sister is a great kook. Deborah's character and conflicts are very touching (ok, ok, maybe more so for women).

I just wish I'd started reading her novels in chronological order because the characters have become very interesting but some of the surprises lose their impact when read out of order.

Overall a great read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Feb. 23 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Admittedly it was interesting to have an excursion back into their pasts. But this is not the best of the bunch so far. Elizabeth george is great at coming up with interesting characters and Agatha Christie-ish plots. But this one lacked something...i can't quite put my finger on it. I did enjoy it very much, but it wasn't really as good as some of her others. At times it was a bit overcomplicated. and it was a bit overlong. We don't even get to hear one line spoken from the dead man, even when his demise comes about 100 pages in. So you can't really feel for him at all, and because george gives the impression that he was an unpleasant man, we don't care as much as we might about his death had we formed some sort of connection with him. Also, the drugs side of it....i know i'm being naive here, but it didn't really seem to fit with the setting. That's a totally stupid thing to say, but it just didn't seem to sit right with me.
Nevertheless, this is a good detective novel from a writer who can create great characters, and never fails to deliver some elegant prose. Worth a read, yes, but not quite as good as some of the others.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inspector Lynley Book That Should Be Read First
Love the Inspector Lynley books! This is a prequel so read this one first before you read the "first" book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by SpudFromCanada
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"
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The "First" And The Best
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... Read more
Published on July 12 2001
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