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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
1.0 out of 5 stars ''Missing Joseph''misses the point ENTIRELY! May 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I checked this book out from my local library recently, and I have had a giant question mark hanging over my head, signifying my confusion as to where, exactly, the plot of this book is going. I have enjoyed the rest of her work, but this is the first Elizabeth George mystery which actually disappointed me, because it read more like a Jackie Collins novel than anything else!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Complex Relationships in an Uncomplicated Plot Sept. 7 2011
By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Deborah St. James's chance meeting with Vicar Robin Sage in London inspires her to visit him, two months later, in Winslough, Lancashire. Her plan is scrapped when Deborah learns that Sage died from an accidental poisoning a month earlier. The more she and her husband, Simon, learn about his death and the goings on in Winslough, the more they wonder if Sage's death really was an accident. Simon asks his friend, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley to launch an enquiry, but will the people of Winslough cooperate?

Missing Joseph is a compelling study in relationships. Not only are Simon and Thomas experiencing some strain with their significant others, but certain Winslough residents are also suffering through the ups and downs of love. Lynley has to understand these relationships before he can get to the bottom of what really happened to Sage. Needless to say, it isn't easy, which is partly what is so fascinating about this book. The plot is not complicated and the suspect list isn't overly long, however, it takes 567 pages to tell the story because the relationships within this story are definitely complex. Author Elizabeth George beautifully describes feel the anguish of her characters, and throws the whole concept of justice and happy endings into question. It's a great book that works well as a stand alone in this highly acclaimed series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another complex, convoluted winner Aug. 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Moving up, we get to Patrician Cornwell and her excellent, sometimes great works which are darker and slightly more complex. Finally at the top there is Elizabeth George, the Titaness of Mystery, whose books reed of erudition, superb crafting, intelligence and studies of the human nature second to none.
The eerie opening, so fitting yet foreboding, leads into a complex tale of murder and mayhem. The same cast is back again though my favorite character, Havers, is not a major figure this time around. Despite the incredible writing it is the final synthesis of the various plots that makes the whole affair worthwhile. In other words, her literary abilites are highlighted by her technical abilities.
What can I say except run to your local bookstore and snatch this up?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and engrossing May 9 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 help the reader sink into the story, which has many layers and is closely tied to a physical sense to place.
This is fundamentally a novel about love and parenthood. The Deborah and Simon story blends very successfully with the murder investigation here, and this is also a fairly deep study of the dynamics of sex and love. It wil stay with you for a long time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A dark, compelling mystery Dec 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Missing Joseph is the first Elizabeth George book that I've read. I do plan to read others, particularly in the Lynley/Havers series. It is more densely written than the typical mystery, with a dark mood and complex characterization. I found Lynley, an earl who works as a New Scotland Yard detective, to be the most intriguing character. There were several intricately woven plotlines, but they were not difficult to follow. However, I did find it a little difficult to keep up with the characters and their relationships, having not read the previous books in the series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars could be a lot better Oct. 29 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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Most recent customer reviews
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 Definitely Powerfully Absorbing and Compelling mystery!
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
~ * ~ This is definitely one of Elizabeth George's best novels. It features the winning combination of Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2002 by "lynkfri13"
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Story!
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. Read more
Published on July 19 2002 by S. Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues her winning (if unrealistic) formula
Elizabeth George has some of the best prose in the business. It's elegant and evocative. But it's so long winded! Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002 by RachelWalker
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. 21 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 12 2001 by Jeffrey Davenport
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