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In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner Mass Market Paperback – Oct 31 2000


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (Oct. 31 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553575104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553575101
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.2 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #343,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth George (A Great Deliverance, Well-Schooled in Murder) returns with In Pursuit of a Proper Sinner, her 10th installment in the Lynley-Havers series. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley has his work cut out for him: two mutilated corpses are found in a prehistoric stone circle in Derbyshire. One is the daughter of Lynley's former mentor, Andy Maiden.

What's more, the inspector's partner, Barbara Havers, has been suspended and is facing criminal charges of assault and attempted murder. Was Havers really saving a drowning child or was she disobeying orders? Why, then, did she fire a rifle at the detective chief inspector, and how could Lynley ethically justify it? As he grapples with the ramifications of his partner's radical insubordination, the case in Derbyshire grows in daunting complexity.

Once again, Elizabeth George delivers an intricately woven plot, which efficiently navigates the reader through nearly 600 pages. Along the way, readers will be introduced to a delightful cast of supporting characters from the dowdy Phoebe who finds the first gory cadaver to the stately Andy Maiden: "His face was drawn with exhaustion, and his growth of peppery whiskers fanned out from his moustache and shadowed his cheeks." And, of course, fans will get an eyeful of George's trademark, her vivid descriptions of death: "At her feet, a young man lay curled like a foetus, dressed head-to-toe in nothing but black, with that same colour puckering burnt flesh from eye to jaw on one side of his face." --Rebekah Warren --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Selfish children grow up to betray their parents in bestselling author George's (Deception on His Mind) latest suspense novel, which opens with David King-Ryder, a renowned Andrew Lloyd Webber-like British musical writer/producer, committing suicide on the eve of his successful comeback. How his untimely death ties in with a double homicide in the Derbyshire countryside showcases George's brilliance in concocting an intricate, swiftly paced tale that brings back the popular New Scotland Yard team of detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. Newly married Detective Inspector Lynley takes the case at the request of Andy Maiden, a former colleague who made his name as a notable undercover agent. Maiden's headstrong daughter Nicola is one of the murder victims, and when her choice to forgo a law career to become a professional dominatrix is painstakingly unearthed by the estimable detectives, Maiden, among others, becomes a prime suspect, as do Nicola's blue-blooded boyfriend, Julian Britton, and his jealous cousin, Samantha McCallin. George spices up the investigation with a side plot about Lynley and Havers's relationship, now complicated since Havers is facing demotion and disciplinary suspension for her insubordination during a previous assignment. When the redoubtable Havers links the second murder victim, Terry ColeAa struggling artist who turns out to be a get-rich-quick schemerAto the dead composer King-Ryder, Lynley dismisses his former partner's intuitive leaps and the two sleuths lock horns. George builds plausible motives for all of the suspects while simultaneously revealing the private lives of her admirable detectives with an engaging mix of subtlety and bravado. The multifaceted surprise ending to the taut, suspenseful plot is the juiciest plum in this can't-put-down novel. Agents, Robert Gottlieb, Marcy Posner, Stephanie Cabot of William Morris agency. Major ad/promo; author tour; BDD audio. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 7 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book 10, in the Inspector Lynley's mystery series

Elizabeth George hasn't lost her touch and her work continues to be amazing. She is one of the true masters at spinning webs of intrigue. A swift pace and an engaging protagonist had a stimulating effect on my imagination; it was quite exhilarating trying to guess the next move. This is a mind-absorbing fiction, as powerful and provocative as all the previous ones.

This intricate plot and complex tale has D.I. Thomas Lynley on the scene of a grisly crime, in which a young man and woman have been brutally murdered and their bodies found in the wilds of Calder Moor. The case is also a sensitive one, it happens that one of the victims is, Nicola Maiden, the daughter of a former undercover officer and one of Lynley`s past mentors.

D.C. Winston Nkata is his lead assistant on the case. His usual partner, Barbara Harvers, has been demoted to Detective Constable for an incident the previous summer and ever since, both have suffered from a strained relationship. Although in the dog house for over stepping her boundaries, Barbara is determined, she is a woman of strong character and not the type to sit on the sideline. With this in mind, she clandestinely starts her own investigation, hoping to prove to Lynley that her renegade attitude can bring positive results and be an asset to his team....When Lynley found out what she was up to, my first reaction was can he take the grrr out of the tiger and get her to follow orders....

As they dig deeper into the life of the two victims, a disturbing pattern emerges, suspects are plentiful, nothing is as it seems and everyone appears to be concealing something. The tension grows as each layer of deceit is peeled away, the result created an intense mystery populated with great characters.

I found myself totally engaged till the end, it is a large book but I enjoyed every moment spent with it.
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But that is still a step above 99% of the mystery writers writing today. I don't know why I was a little disappointed in this entry in the long-running series.
One thing that bothered me was the fact that, while Inspector Lynley has always be insufferable with his thinking that he is always right, that attribute is kicked up a notch in the current circumstances. He finds Havers' actions at the end of the last book to be unexcusable and refuses to see her side of the story. While I can see him reacting in that way, it is exaggerated a bit much for my liking; he is an intelligent man, after all, and his actions are those of one with lesser intelligence.
Anyway, the writing is fine as always. I particularly like the parts dealing with Havers - she and Lynley are working on the same case in different parts of England so most of the book goes back & forth between London and the scene of the crime in the Peak District. I am particularly interested in seeing where the relationship between Havers and her neighbor, Azhar, is heading.
I already have the next in the series, A Traitor to Memory, and will be reading it soon.
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Elizabeth George is an American who writes mystery novels set in England, thus encroaching on the sacred soil of Agatha Christie et al. As an American I can't judge how authentic her books may be to an English reader, but I detect in them an American expansiveness --- this one is 709 pages long.
"In Pursuit...." is about two murders on an English moor and the investigation to catch the killer or killers. The merit -- and the mystery -- in the story is which of two Scotland Yard detectives is pursuing the line of investigation that will lead to solving the case. Detective number one is Thomas Lynley -- elegant, privileged, earnest, respected, of noble heritage and the owner of a Bentley automobile which he loves almost as much as he loves his upper-crust wife. Detective number two is Barbara Havers, a dumpy, working-class slob with the personality of a bulldog and an appetite for pop tarts and cigarettes. She uses her t-shirt for a napkin and does not have a Bentley -- or a flourishing social life.
Lynley and Havers have different notions as to the motives and the perpetrators of the murders on the moors and they embark on parallel -- and competitive -- investigations. I didn't really care much about solving the mystery; rather I cared about who won the match between Lynley and Havers. Which one will you root for? A compilation of the answers to that question from English and American readers would be interesting.
George is a good plotter and pacer and a decent writer and this one kept my interest to the end despite its formidable length. George can be spoken of in the same breath as P.D. James, the reigning queen of British whodunits.
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I have read a number of Elizabeth George's books. Many reviewers compare her to Ruth Rendell and P D James and she is certainly their equal in terms of characterization and plotting. Arguably, Lynley can be compared to Dalgleish and Wexford, my favourite, however, is Morse. Her research is thorough and her descriptions of names and places are phenomenal.
The way she weaves her plots are excellent and her pace rivets the reader. Her novels have been criticized for their length, but I don't notice the it with the way she dangles the suspense.
She even spells the English way. This, of course, may only be for the English and Canadian editions. I want to give her 5 stars, so what is holding me back.
She has an annoying habit of using the term "fag" and other slang expressions out of context with the quality of her writing. As an expat Brit I suppose I speak with some authority on this matter. Fag is old country jargon for a cigarette. Although that word does have a pejorative meaning elsewhere, it is still used as a colourful description for a cigarette in Britain and parts of the old empire. Its use is primarily colloquial and in Elizabeth George's books she uses it too often in her narrative. It looks out of place given the overall quality of her writing. She doesn't do it all the time, but it is enough to be annoying.
Other than that, anyone who is considering reading an Elizabeth George book should do so. I am surprised that the BBC hasn't started a series based on her characters yet. If they have, I am not aware of it. I have heard that the A and E network is considering a production.
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