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For the Sake of Elena [Paperback]

Elizabeth George
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 1993
Elena Weaver was a surprise to anyone meeting her for the first time. In her clingy dresses and dangling earrings she exuded a sexuality at odds with the innocence projected by the unicorn posters on her walls. While her embittered mother fretted about her welfare from her home in London, in Cambridge—where Elena was a student at St. Stephen's College—her father and his second wife each had their own very different image of the girl. As for Elena, she lived a life of casual and intense physical and emotional relationships, with scores to settle and goals to achieve--until someone, lying in wait along the route she ran every morning, bludgeoned her to death.

Unwilling to turn the killing over to the local police, the university calls in New Scotland Yard. Thus, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, enter the rarefied world of Cambridge University, where academic gowns often hide murderous intentions.

For both officers, the true identity of Elena Weaver proves elusive. Each relationship the girl left behind casts new light both on Elena and on those people who appeared to know her best—from an unsavory Swedish-born Shakespearean professor to the brooding head of the Deaf Students Union.

What's more, Elena's father, a Cambridge professor under consideration for a prestigious post, is a man with his own dark secrets. While his past sins make him neurotically dedicated to Elena and blind to her blacker side, present demons drive him toward betrayal.

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From Publishers Weekly

Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of New Scotland Yard investigates murder at Cambridge University as he continues his suit for the love of Lady Helen in George's ( A Suitable Vengeance ) latest well-crafted mystery. The high-born Lynley and his sergeant, Barbara Havers, whose personal dilemmas revolve around choosing adequate care for her increasingly senile mother, are sent to advise the Cambridge constabulary after student Elena Weaver, a long-distance runner and daughter of highly respected university history professor Anthony Weaver, is found battered to death near a running path. As the investigation reveals that Elena, who was deaf, was not at all the innocent naif her doting father imagined, Lynley comes to understand Lady Helen's deep-rooted questions about their relationship and their individual independence. Another murder occurs and assorted extracurricular passions among prominent academics are bared; George also explores such issues as whether deafness is a cultural stigma or a genuine handicap, the nature of family identity and betrayal, and the imperatives of the creative temperament. While elements of the plot are somewhat stretched, George's story never fails to engage. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The fifth outing for Scotland Yard's Inspector Lynley (rich, sleek aristocrat) and Sergeant Havers (rough-edged, bitter plain- Jane)--this time called up to Cambridge to investigate the brutal murder of a sexy, unstable, deaf student. Who ambushed Elena Weaver during one of her usual early- morning runs and pummeled her to death? Suspects abound--especially once an autopsy reveals that Elena was pregnant. She had accused one teacher of sexual harassment, had been having an affair with another (married) one. She'd also been involved with a deaf-rights activist. Meanwhile, she was having stormy times with her overprotective father, a Cambridge don hoping for a major new appointment, and with her edgy stepmother. And is it just coincidence that the woman who finds Elena's body, an important local artist, was the sometime mistress of Elena's father? As usual, George lays on the psychosexual Sturm und Drang with a sure, if slightly heavy, hand; the dialogue occasionally thickens into awkward, stagy speeches. Also as usual, the sleuths contend with personal anguish: Havers must deal with a senile mum; Lynley continues his tediously drawn-out courtship of Lady Helen--an overwrought imitation of Lord Peter and Miss Vane. But, though uneven and puffy, this is George's best work since her debut (A Great Deliverance)--a generally absorbing job in the P.D. James manner, without the excesses and missteps of the other Lynley/Havers outings. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly absorbing July 7 2008
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
5th book in the Inspector Lynley series

Elena was a student at St. Stephen's college, living a life of casual and intense physical and emotional relationships. One day while doing her morning run someone lying in wait along the route bludgeons her to death. The university turns to the New Scotland Yard, who assigns Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner detective Barbara Havers to solve the case. Entering the world of Cambridge University they sift through clues to Elena's elusive character to find her killer.

This mystery in my opinion was utterly absorbing one of Ms George best. The characters evoke a strong reaction; you are torn between liking and disliking them. They are very complex; each one has their weaknesses you can sympathize with. The story is well plotted absorbing you completely; you weave through a web of intrigues so intricate and subtle keeping you in suspense till the end. The author does a wonderful job capturing the inner world of college life and the role of well-meaning and loving individuals trying to meet the expectations of those they love.

On a secondary note, things are still left unresolved, one, is the confusion about Inspector Lynley's relationship with Lady Helen, he is ardently pursuing her, and second, Havers is still dealing with a dilemma on how to help her elderly mother. Both professional and private lives of the main characters are equally interesting and the author blends the two very well
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing characters- One of her best! Oct. 19 2002
Format:Paperback
~ * ~ This is one of Elizabeth George's better novels. It's utterly absorbing, and the characters will evoke strong reactions- like or dislike, sometimes both! Fans of the winning combination of Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers will enjoy it, but you don't need to know the detectives to enjoy the story.
~ * ~ Elena, a young college girl at Cambridge, has just been killed. She was deaf. This was more than a "handicap"- it became a battleground for her, between the students who wanted her to become part of the "Deaf"- not trying to "fit in" by reading lips, etc; and her father, who tried to minimize her deafness- asking her to fit in with his life. ~
~ * ~, Elizabeth George is always strong in characterizations. She fills her story with complex characters, each of whom have weaknesses that we can sympathize with, and their own selfish and unpleasant motives. The conflicts between the characters are so well plotted; we are drawn into the story completely.
~ * ~ Unlike most of her mysteries, I started to see the conclusion. Elizabeth George usually blinds us to the obvious. She can weave a web so intricate and subtle, that despite all the clues we encounter, we don't ever "see" the solution until it is too late
. ~ * ~ My personal favorite of the Lynley/Havers series are" A Suitable Vengeance" which focuses on the early history of Lynley, Deborah and Simon; and "Deception on His Mind ", which focuses on Sergeant Barbara Havers, and an investigation which forces her to take a stand.
~ * ~
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best one so far...but.... Jan. 25 2002
Format:Paperback
This is a good novel. not merely a crime or mystery novel...a good novel.
the writing is good, the characters are great and interesting, the plot is probably her ebst so far, but could well have done with a bit more development.
The way she deals with deafness was quite good, very unpatronising, but if she wanted it to become more of a theme, she should have spent a little more time with the Deaf people assosciated with the story, instead of just glancing over them as she seemed to.
But there is one point where she comes miserably unstuck.
Right at the beginning...the first chapter even. The writer is told the golden rule "never lie to your readers"....which, in this novel, was something Elizabeth george definitely does.
I am trying to think of ways to describe her flawm whilst at the same time not telling you who did it. Let's just say...the way a certain person acts at the start definitely works against the fact that they turn out to be the murderer. It's wrong psychology...the way the characters had acted, when we find out they were the murderer, is just nonsense.
However, in all other aspects, this is a great great book. In this series, it is second only to A Traitor to Memory.
It has one of the best motives of any crime novels i've ever read. some people have said it's very unbelieable and would not have given rise to the sort of feelings shown in the killing of Elena. But those people just do not understand....when i read what Tony Weaver was made to do, i was horrified. Being a "creator" (albeit of a differnt type of art) myself, i can well understand what drove the killer to do the deed.
This is a marvellous book in the fact that by the end of it, almost all your opinions of the characters have compeltely reversed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Convoluted Mystery for the Modern Times Aug. 15 2003
Format:Paperback
Elizabeth George is an incredible writer that enfuses both her plots and her characters with realism. She constantly seeks to address the human condition, whether it is muscular distrophy, racism, senility or, in this case, deafness.
George specializes in giving us the thoughts of the characters and in this way drives the story forward. This novel is no different as we seem to slowly approach the heart of the story in a circular, closing motion. The insights into deafness and the many ways everyone reacts to it are simply phenomenal. This is a difficult book to read with a slight touch of amorality but in this case, the story and the writing appears "correct". Once again, the reader is slowly drawn into the web, entering yet another of George's mysterious and quixotic worlds. A winner
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars New Depths of Character Amid a Transparent Plot
I love novels that do character development well. In the typical English murder mystery, the victim is usually a bloodless body which quickly disappears from the story after dying. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2008 by Donald Mitchell
1.0 out of 5 stars Dismal, depressing, dreary...
...all of which would have been OK if the plot had been able to keep one's interest: it doesn't. Elizabeth George's characters are a dysfunctional and improbable bunch, not one of... Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2003 by A reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Uncle
I'm finally calling it quits with this series. Only a devoted Harlequin fan would find the interminable Tommy-Helen, Simon-Deborah, Barbara-parents soap opera to be tolerable,... Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2003 by dbphoenix
4.0 out of 5 stars Thomas and Barbara head to Cambridge
There's much to like in this, the fifth book published of the Lynley/Havers series. Anglophiles will throughly enjoy the details of college life in Cambridge. Read more
Published on July 20 2001 by Carol Peterson Hennekens
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Mystery From Miss George
For The Sake of Elena is another great mystery from Elizabeth George, and remains my personal favorite, not only because it's another well-done mystery dealing with the question of... Read more
Published on June 28 2001 by Carla M.Golden
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, disappointing mystery
Like all Elizabeth George's books, this is beautifully written and the characters are wonderfully well developed. As the title suggests. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2001 by Ann Mintz
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Lynley-Havers Novel So Far...
George has done a marvelous job in bringing to life one of her minor characters, the eponymous victim. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Mystery, but....
Elizabeth George is spiraling into more and more sex in every book--the mystery swirls around sex, rather than relationships. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2000 by Russ White
4.0 out of 5 stars My First Elizabeth George Book
This was my first Elizabeth George book, and I enjoyed it. She is an intelligent writer, and she knows how to develop characters. I certainly want to read more of her books. Read more
Published on April 30 2000 by S. Schwartz
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