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on May 3, 2016
Elizabeth George writes wonderful mysteries. Originally I felt it was because she is English/British but discovered she is an American. The English write better books and produce better television than we ever could on this continent. Payment in Blood holds your attention and her storyline isn't the same or similar to the first Inspector Lynley book. Currently I have started book six in the Inspector Lynley series. They keep you wondering and are very entertaining. I don't pretend to be a book critic, however maybe there could be fewer characters in her stories, but that isn't really a complaint. I read for pleasure only and to be entertained and she does both of that for me.
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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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on August 15, 2010
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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on 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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on March 18, 1999
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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on 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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on February 27, 2000
The second installment in Elizabeth George's successful Lynley-Havers mystery series is a solid successor to the first book, A Great Deliverance. In this story, the melding of the cozy, police procedural, and hard-boiled genres that was balanced so well in the first book leans a little more to the cozy side of things, with a trip to Scotland to investigate a murder on an ancient Scottish estate (turned up-scale bed and breakfast), which evolves into a classic locked-room mystery with a cast of illustrious and spoiled suspects. The emphasis is a bit more on Lynley than Havers in this story, which is expected since he promotes more of the cozy feel, while Havers promotes more of the hard-boiled feel. However, Havers fans should not despair -- her dark side is still there, althouth a bit tempered. All in all, this mystery advances the ongoing tale of these two seemingly ill-matched yet complementary partners, by exploring Lynley's "dark side", fleshing him out a bit more than in the first book.
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on October 29, 2000
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 suspects that were involved. The story moves from the estate to various other locations which keeps the reader interested.
There were some problems that I had with the story. There were too many characters and sub-plots involved that took away from the main mystery- including the romantic turmoil of Lynley and some past crimes. There was also a conspiracy plot thrown which only took away from the main mystery.
I did like the character development and I did feel for Lynley and Havers at various times during the novel. This is still a good mystery to add to your collection and I will continue to follow this series.
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on October 25, 2001
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. Unfortunately, there were so many secondary characters that it was hard to keep them straight. It was obvious that these characters were there to act as "red herrings".
I also thought that the coincidence of Lady Helen being on the scene of a murder, and intimately involved, was a bit of a stretch, but was able to accept it with just a grain of salt.
George did a fairly good job of giving us more insight into the main characters (Lynley, Havers, Helen, and Deborah) and fleshed out their backgrounds quite well.
I thought that the last third of the book was far too dragged out...I found myself skimming a lot.
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on February 24, 2000
This is the second of the George books I've read (and the second she wrote), and I was slightly -- but only slightly -- disappointed. She's a terrific writer with a knack for ingenious plotting, and I would recommend her to anyone who is a serious reader of the genre. That said, I did guess the culprit, and I was a touch put off by the romance novel elements (Will Lynley find true love and happiness etc.). Still, even if Lynley's love life continues to be a significant aspect of the series (and I hope it won't be as much), that won't keep me from reading on. I'm hooked. Check George out; you won't be sorry.
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