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Payment in Blood [Paperback]

Elizabeth George
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1990
The career of playwright Joy Sinclair comes to an abrupt end on an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands when someone drives and eighteen-inch dirk through her neck. Called upon to investigate the case in a country where they have virtually no authority, aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, grapple for both a motive and a murderer. Emotions run deep in this highly charged drama, for the list of suspects soon includes Britain's foremost actress, its most successful theatrical producer, and the woman Lynley loves. He and Havers must tread carefully through the complicated terrain of human relationships, while they work to solve a case rooted in the darkest corners of the past and the unexplored regions of the human heart.

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From Publishers Weekly

Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, eighth Earl of Asherton, is sent to Scotland to solve the death of playwright Joy Sinclair in what PW termed a "vividly characterized story of murder and espionage with elements of theatrical life, British class consciousness and love gone awry."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The much acclaimed author of A Great Deliverance delivers her challenging second novel--a literate, vastly detailed, and intricately characterized piece which progresses from a frigid Scottish manor house/hotel to a swarming, theatrical London. Scotland Yard's Thomas Lynley (series detective and Earl of Asherton), unexpectedly assigned to a gory stabbing murder, uncovers deeply hidden family secrets and various psychological convolutions among suspects, but allows personal jealously to color his choice of prime suspect. A bit mechanical in places, and slow-moving in others, but steadily absorbing and masterful overall. The upcoming author tour should boost demand --especially from readers of George's first.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Elizabeth George takes the cool Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley and turns his world upside down. For unknown and possibly public relations reasons, Scotland Yard sends Lynley outside of his jurisdiction to Scotland to take over an investigation after a fetching playwright is found murdered in her bed.

But, the guest in the adjoining room is Lynley's much beloved Lady Helen Clyde. To Lynley's chagrin, it turns out that Lady Helen has been sharing her boudoir. Naturally, she must be interrogated. How will Lynley bear up?

Lynley is clearly distraught by dealing with the situation and is soon making big mistakes. How will that affect the investigation? Well, it's not good . . . but fortunately Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is on duty with Lynley.

Although this is a mystery, the book succeeds more as an investigation into the English class system and its weaknesses. With Barbara Havers standing in for every person in her role as skeptical seeker after truth, we see the rotten underpinnings of having a hereditary elite in place. How far has the rot spread? Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out.

The mystery itself takes some tangled turns that will provide much entertainment.

I graded the book down a bit. Some scenes didn't resonate with my impressions of this character from the last book. I thought that Ms. George had Lynley's head spinning a bit more than seems likely from what we learned about him in A Great Deliverance.

The book is a very important one in the series though. Frequent references in future books are made to the events in this one. You will enrich your enjoyment of future books if you read Payment in Blood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good when you get into it Aug. 15 2010
By caseygirl TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I liked this book better than Elizabeth George's first book. Having said that I must say you have to work at following the story for about the first half of the book. There are quite a few characters, some with similar names. I wrote a flow chart to keep track of who was who. The first part is work and is typically "Colonel Mustard in the Bedroom with a knife" sort of thing. Very much like Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None". But after the first half the story gets rolling and it became a real page turner. There was one loose end to me and that was the murder of Gowan. I didn't think that murder really fit into the story and the explanation for it I felt was weak, like it was thrown in part way through the book as a red herring to divert the reader a bit. All in all it was a good story and wound up not being like a Clue Game after all. I really enjoyed it. Would recommend it, just persevere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a Team - Havers and Lynley March 30 2002
Havers and Lynley are the best Detective Team out there as far as I'm concerned. They are so opposite, but they work. It's nice to see that Havers takes charge a bit in this book. This is a fine example of an English "cozy", and I liked the tight plot and the story was good too. Ms. George usually has two or three main storylines going at once, and this book is no exception with two, and she has a talent for fully developing both as she gets through her story. She's an excellent writer, and I really enjoy this series. I can't wait to read another to see how the relationship between Havers and Lynley develops. I hope to see more of the talented Miss Havers in the next books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be prepared to be hooked! March 18 1999
By A Customer
This is only the second Elizabeth George novel I have read, but I plan to read them all as soon as I can. She has a gift for making even the most minor characters appear multi-dimensional and interesting. You never feel that a character exists solely as a plot device. I found myself caring about every character, even the killer! Havers, Lynley, Clyde and St. James are worthy returning characters. Their relationships are complex and undoubtedly have a rich history and a promising future. I can't wait to see what develops between all of them in the next book. Payment in Blood will keep you engrossed (and guessing) until the very end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really good March 13 2002
Even though George paints a somewhat old-fashioned portrait of English life, she is still able to write very very good mysteries.
Her detecive thrillers are clever, intuitive, have nice twists, good, well evoked settings, and are very well written, if somewhat OVER written.
the mystery here is first class as ever. she writes with the style of agatha christie, and comes up with solutions that the dead queen would be proud of. It is only a shame that Lynley is not quite as interesting as Poirot. However, the relationships the main characters 5 characters really are VERY interesting. they add weight, credibility, and realism to the story. they add a more personal and intimate side, and prove an ongoing drama to mix with that of the different crimes which come up in each book.
She is very good at drawing her character, and very good at coming up with agatha christie style plots. her psychology is accurate, and her writing very descriptive.
Definitely worth a read. This second book was very very good. So far, i dont think she written a bad one, and i've read nearly all of them. A good build up A Great Deliverance, and got the series off to a really smashing start.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Murder Mystery Series
A great continuation of the series (book #2). This novel was fairly complicated in terms of plot and I actually had to write down the characters and their inter-relationships as I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Deborah M Rose
3.0 out of 5 stars dragging a bit
This mystery has some highly entertaining moments although the story dragged a bit and my mind wandered a lot. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2007 by Toni Osborne
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as the first, but still a great read.
Unlike the first book in this series, "Payment in Blood", there is actually a mystery about who the culprit is, but I actually didn't find this book as riveting. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars The mysteries of the human heart
This novel is an interesting mixture of a big-country-house mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie and a much deeper study of the way that humans can fundamentally hurt and... Read more
Published on June 3 2002 by Martha E. Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit More Puzzling
The mystery in this book was a bit more complex than that in George's first book in this series: the solution was not as apparent. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2001 by BeachReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Theatre, mystery, and love...what more can you ask for
Payment in Blood is one of my favorite Elizabeth George mysteries -- primarily because it involves the theatre world and as someone who has worked in the theatre, I enjoyed seeing... Read more
Published on July 3 2001 by Brian Devinney
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine addition to the mystery genre
I enjoy the Lynley/Havers series very much and found this book very hard to put down. The central mystery involves the death of a Playwright on a Scottish estate and the cast of... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2000 by Phillip Schoppy
4.0 out of 5 stars Significant improvement over 1st book
And the first novel in this series was pretty dang good. The only thing that gave me fits was that there were so many characters that until one was introduced at length, I... Read more
Published on July 26 2000 by Christina P. Branson
3.0 out of 5 stars Second Installment in Lynley-Havers Series is Solid
The second installment in Elizabeth George's successful Lynley-Havers mystery series is a solid successor to the first book, A Great Deliverance. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2000 by Amazon Customer
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