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Missing Joseph [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth George
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1994
Deborah and Simon St. James have taken a holiday in the winter landscape of Lancastershire, hoping to heal the growing rift in their marriage. But in the barren countryside awaits bleak news: The vicar of Wimslough, the man they had come to see, is dead—a victim of accidental poisoning. Unsatisfied with the inquest ruling and unsettled by the close association between the investigating constable and the woman who served the deadly meal, Simon calls in his old friend Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley. Together they uncover dark, complex relationships in this rural village, relationships that bring men and women together with a passion, with grief, or with the intention to kill. Peeling away layer after layer of personal history to reveal the torment of a fugitive spirit, Missing Joseph is award-winning author Elizabeth George's greatest achievement.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In George's deftly plotted, highly atmospheric bestseller, forensic analyst Simon St. James investigates the death of an English vicar.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A totally satisfying mystery experience."—Denver Post

"[George] proves that the classiest crime writers are true novelists."—The New York Times

"Layered, intricate...deftly plotted, highly atmospheric."—Publishers Weekly

"Perhaps Ms. George's most satisfying puzzle yet...this rich, intricate novel is a perfect choice for anyone in the market for first-rate summer fiction."—The Sun, Baltimore

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars could be a lot better Oct. 28 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Missing Joseph," like Elizabeth George's previous Lynley mysteries, has both strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, her novels are engrossing, the plots are densely written, well thought out and very contemporary. On the other hand, her cast of characters which appear in each book, (Lynley & Havers - the professionals from Scotland Yard - assisted by "amateurs" St. James & Lady Helen) are neither particularly appealing nor very believable. "Missing Joseph" is less melodramatic than some of the earlier novels, but there is still an overwrought feel to it, part of which is due to the introspective nature of nearly all of the characters and their over-complicated relationships. There is also a depressing atmosphere in each of George's novels, as if a writer has to be depressing in order to be serious. Ruth Rendell, who I think Elizabeth George has studied very closely, is a much better writer, but even gloomier. Finally, there is also an almost gratuitously trashy element in each of Ms. George's novels - her sexual scenes are written in a very tacky way and she inserts occasional obscenities in the most surprising and inappropriate places. Some scenes read like they were lifted from a bad romance novel. Her word choices also sometimes border on the absurd ("turgent" is a good example from early on in "Missing Joseph"). Why force the reader to the dictionary, especially when you need an unabridged edition (which most people don't own) for a definition? There are too many other irritating mannerisms in Elizabeth George's writing to point out here (e.g. too often her British settings and language do not sound genuine, as if she is overdoing it). Despite these complaints, if you like excess handwringing, which I admit I occasionally do, then a Elizabeth George novel is a good place to find it.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
~ * ~ This is definitely one of Elizabeth George's best novels. It features the winning combination of Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers. Happily for fans of the series, Lynley's forensic scientist friend Simon, and his wife Deborah have prominent roles in the story. They are working through a very difficult time in their marriage.
~ * ~Deborah meets an interesting clergyman, and decides they should stop and visit him on a small trip they are taking, but they find he had just died of (? accidental) poisoning. ~
~ * ~, Elizabeth George strength in characterization is evident here: she fills her story with complex characters, each of whom have weaknesses that we can sympathize with. The conflicts between the characters are so well plotted; we are drawn into the story completely.
~ * ~ As always, the ending is surprising. Elizabeth George 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.
~ * ~
However, "Missing Joseph" is definitely a powerfully absorbing and suspenseful read, and a great sample of the Lynley/Havers team and their friends. Definitely a 5 star ***** read, I recommend it highly for mystery lovers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Story! July 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have been working my way through Elizabeth George's Havers and Lynley series, and I seem to enjoy each book more than the last. This book is a masterpiece. It's the finest piece of fiction that you can find, and it has a mystery too! Ms. George's plots have the trademark of seeming to be apparently simple at the beginning, and as the reader delves into the story, she peels away layer after layer of personal history of her main characters, and the ones that just appear in this particular installment. This unravelling continues until the end when the mystery is solved and all the characters inner torments are revealed. Her writing is hypnotic, unforgettable, and totally addicting. This book is no different, but somehow I felt it was even deeper than some of the previous ones I've read. For one thing Ms. George examines Human sexuality in more detail than she has in other books. The emotion in this one seems rawer and more real too. In this book we don't see as much of Havers as we usually do, and that's a loss, since she's so great, but Lynley is totally awesome here, so it makes up for it somewhat. Elizabeth George is a true artist and is fast becoming a real favourite of mine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Continues her winning (if unrealistic) formula Feb. 26 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elizabeth George has some of the best prose in the business. It's elegant and evocative. But it's so long winded! A lot of it's unnecessary, when she could have got the same effect using far fewer words, and much shorter sentences.
However, i still really really enjoyed this book. As a long-time devotee of Agatha Chrisite, i have yet to find anyone who comes close to being a modern day model of her. George's novel are of the right style, the right topic, the right mood, and always feature the right sort of mystery. I have no doubt that if Christie was still writing today, these are the sort of books she would be writing.
George is able to craft great mysteries, with great well drawn plots, and always manages to create a cast of colourful and realistic characters. That is why i like her books so much, i think. Her intricate and puzzling plots, and how well she draws her characters. You may not like them all, but they are still interesting and colourful, human and well developed. She concentrates not just on the mystery, but on the lives of the characters as the mystery goes on around them. Which is what i admire, because while a mystery effects lives, it does not stop them.
Here she goes back to A Great Deliverance country with a "whydunnit" rather than a "whodunnit". We know from the start who killed him. There is a little room for doubt, but not serious doubt. The mystery is more focused on why the killer did what they did.
With her resolutions and solutions, George is a master. Always has good motives and an unexpected and clever answer to the mystery.
She falls down on one point. Always.
Her depections of English life.
Her books are similar to Christie, and a bit too similar.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex Relationships in an Uncomplicated Plot
Deborah St. James's chance meeting with Vicar Robin Sage in London inspires her to visit him, two months later, in Winslough, Lancashire. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2011 by Debra Purdy Kong
4.0 out of 5 stars One Intricate Mystery
Inspector Lynley, book 6

This is one captivating and intricate mystery, with it, Ms George has given us a brilliantly plotted story that reaches emotional levels deeper... Read more
Published on May 23 2009 by Toni Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Attraction, Lust and Motherhood, with No Apple Pie!
Missing Joseph is a powerful story about what it means to be a human being, a parent, a lover, a friend, a daughter and someone who misuses others. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2008 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Another complex, convoluted winner
I classify mystery writers into three categories. First there is Sue Grafton and her alphabet series, always a casual, enjoyable read without a lot of thinking. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by Avid Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and engrossing
This is an excellent, deeply atmospheric novel. The supporting characters are developed in a great deal of detail and they are given the chance to reveal themselves slowly and to... Read more
Published on May 9 2003 by Martha E. Nelson
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark, compelling mystery
Missing Joseph is the first Elizabeth George book that I've read. I do plan to read others, particularly in the Lynley/Havers series. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2002 by A reader
4.0 out of 5 stars By George...a new series to savor
This was my first George novel. I found the story intriguing, and it certainly kept me turning pages, but I have to concur, "Get on with it! Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2001 by evelyn johnston
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly unbelievable
I found that the characters in this mystery about murder, kidnapping and confused identity never seemed realistic. Read more
Published on June 8 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars George's Strongest Mystery So Far
The negative reviews of this book perplex me. I have read all of the Lynley-Havers novels in chronological order up through "Playing for the Ashes". Read more
Published on May 11 2001 by Amazon Customer
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