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Well-Schooled in Murder [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth George
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1991
When thirteen-year-old Matthew Whately goes missing from Bredgar Chambers, a prestigious public school in the heart of West Sussex, aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley receives a call for help from the lad's housemaster, who also happens to be an old school chum. Thus, the inspector, his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, and forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James find themselves once again outside their jurisdiction and deeply involved in the search for a child—and then, tragically, for a child killer. Questioning prefects, teachers, and pupils closest to the dead boy, Lynley and Havers sense that something extraordinarily evil is going on behind Bredgar Chambers's cloistered walls. But as they begin to unlock the secrets of this closed society, the investigation into Matthew's death leads them perilously close to their own emotional wounds—and blinds them to the signs of another murder in the making....

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Thomas Lynley (the earl turned policeman) and Sergeant Havers focus their prodigious talents on uncovering the murderer of a young boy from an exclusive independent school near London. While author George necessarily centers the plot on solving the case, she adroitly plumbs the emotional and psychological depths of fully fleshed characters coping with various forms of personal stress in addition to the murder. As in her previous work ( A Great Deliverance ; Payment in Blood , LJ 7/1/89), George offers refined, feeling prose, an abiding sense of humanity, and a pervasive undercurrent of mystery. A necessary purchase, exceedingly fair and full of grace. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"George is a master...an outstanding practitioner of the modern English mystery."—Chicago Tribune

"A spectacular new voice in mystery writing."—Los Angeles Times

"A compelling whodunit...a reader's delight."—Daily News, New York

"Like P.D. James, George knows the import of the smallest human gesture; Well-Schooled in Murder puts the younger author clearly in the running with the genre master."—People

"Ms. George may wind up creating one of the most popular and entertaining series in mystery fiction today."—The Sun, Baltimore

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Code of Silence Destroys Lives! Dec 6 2008
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well-Schooled in Murder is a fascinating and critical look at social class, the traditions of English public schools and the problems with having a "stiff upper lip." What is more remarkable is that those themes are developed in the context of an unusually complex and rewarding murder mystery. This book barely misses becoming a classic in detective fiction and will greatly reward fans of Elizabeth George's series about Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers and those who do not know the novels.

This is the third book in the series. You can read this book as a stand-alone, but it will work better for you if you first read A Great Deliverance and Payment in Blood.

As the story opens, Lynley is still reeling from having destroyed his relationship with Lady Helen. She's gone off to Greece and sends him occasional noncommittal post cards. Lynley is burying himself in his work. That's making life hard on Barbara Havers whose parents are not doing well.

John Corntel, an old school chum from Eton, approaches Lynley for unofficial assistance in locating a missing student who was under the chum's care. The situation soon changes when the student is found in an unlikely place dead, nude and having been tortured. Lynley takes on the case to avoid having free time to mourn his lost love. A delayed autopsy means that Lynley has to develop a sense of means, motive and opportunity without knowing the facts. The various "suspects" and "witnesses" do their best to mislead him, adhering to a code of silence that protects their most delicate secrets as well.

As the case evolves, it's not a pretty picture that is revealed behind the "privileged" walls of Bredgar Chambers.

There's little to complain about with this book and much to praise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish it Oct. 23 2010
By caseygirl TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perhaps I shouldn't be writing this review because I did not finish this book. I found the subject matter extremely disturbing, although, typical Elizabeth George, incredibly written. She really is a master of literature and in just a few sentences an entire in depth picture is drawn. I do love her writing. However, getting back to this book. It is about the abduction and murder and torture of a young boy. I couldn't continue reading. I do not mean to discourage others, just to warn of the content. Had I done my due diligence and read the comments of others I would have skipped this one completely. If you think you can handle the content, then go for it because Elizabeth George is an incredible writer!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading Nov. 21 2007
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an amazing crime fiction, very complex and chilling, highly critical of social class. The subject matter is very disturbing. She explores social problems, class snobbery, and abuse of students, strained relationships, pedophilia and homosexuality. This novel is well worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Schooled In Murder A Well-Done Mystery! June 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I purchased this book in paperback three years ago, given my passion for a good murder mystery and all things English. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN FROM THE MOMENT I BEGAN READING IT!!!! This story combines the elements of a brilliant whodunit with a look inside life at an English boarding school, and is a recipe for a well-done mystery!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Schooled In Murder Passes With Flying Colors June 17 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the moment the reader begins the book on page one until the last word at the other end, he or she is treated to another delicious course of the author's consistently well-done writing! Indeed, as a well-written page turner, Well-Schooled In Murder earns an A-plus for meeting and exceeding the expectations of fans of Elizabeth George's work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, but it bothered me June 3 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had an odd reaction to this book. I am not usually horrified by reading novels about violent events, and there are other books that I have read and reviewed and have not been adversely affected by when other people have had concerns--Martha Grimes' The Lamorna Wink comes to mind.
Interestingly enough, Well Schooled In Murder upset me very much. I am not sure what the main issue is for me here, but the murder of the child Matthew, and the graphic depiction of his parents, first happy and full of joy in their world, and then plunged into horrifying grief, really bothered me. I almost stopped reading several times, and then decided that I neede to persevere. I'm glad I did, I guess, and I will certainly continue with Elizabeth George's series, which I have really loved so far, but this was hard for me.
I also found the estrangement of Deborah and Simon Alcourt St. James difficult and painful. As I think about it now, Simon's comment to Deborah's question of "how do we get back?" is important. He says "we go on," and maybe that is the answer to most of the pain in this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Jolly Good Feb. 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Very interesting book. This is the first I read of this author. Althought I was very disappointed with the last book she wrote, the ones before are all well worth the read. Good mysteries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intricately Woven Plot, Gripping Detail Dec 21 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Well-Schooled in Murder" was the first book in the Inspector Lynley series that I had read, having been attracted initially by the murder's setting in a British school, rather than by the author's name, with which I was unfamiliar.
Although I found the subject matter extremely disturbing, i.e. the torture and murder of a young male student, the level of detail Elizabeth George gives to the physical setting and the fleshing out of her characters, made me feel as though I were an internal observer of the events themselves, rather than simply a reader on the outside.
Despite this, I felt the primary characters and array of suspects lacked warmth; I didn't experience any particular empathy for them and, consequently, focused my attention more on the brilliantly-conceived plot, which kept me eagerly turning the pages as each layer of the story was revealed.
"Well-Schooled in Murder" is well-crafted and an excellent addition to the Inspector Lynley series and has spurred my interest in reading other books in this British mystery series.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Questioning Lynley's competence (minor spoilers)
I have read six of George's Lynley series (A Great Deliverance, Payment in Blood, Well-Schooled in Murder, Deception on His Mind, In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, and A Traitor to... Read more
Published on May 30 2002 by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth George is a Master Storyteller!
This is an awesome book. Each time I read another of her books I never cease to marvel at how well done they are. Read more
Published on May 7 2002 by S. Schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but sometimes hard to follow.
As seems to the norm with books written by this author, there are lots of narrative paragraphs that go off on tangents. Read more
Published on March 11 2002 by "bibliofiend"
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Elizabeth George and perhaps my favorite
In college I took a class in detective fiction and this was one of the six books that we had to read -- it proved to be my favorite. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Brian Devinney
3.0 out of 5 stars One More Time!
In my effort to give Elizabeth George a fair chance, I read this book, the third in the series of the Lynley/Havers books. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2001 by BeachReader
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe it helps to understand the system better
I shan't offer an outline of the story, since there are enough reviews to do that. The book is excellent with a well plotted, thoughtful story of murder at an English public... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2001 by F. G. Hamer
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