"This Body of Death", by Elizabeth George

This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel - Elizabeth George

Book 16, in the Inspector Lynley series

This is another long-winded story, a multilayered puzzle that is skillfully structured to include many engaging details. This book is a marvellous read and once started very difficult to put down. The hard cover edition is just shy of 700 pages and is typed in a small font, daunting at first glance but never overpowering. I always enjoyed the way Ms. George’s puts her thoughts in writing, they go a long way in creating the atmosphere needed in a good mystery.

This is another police story with terrific plotting. The suspense gradually builds and shifts into high gear with the discovery of Jemima Hasting’s brutal murder in a London Cemetery. Acting Superintendent Isabelle Ardery summons Detective Inspector Lynley back to London to help her spearhead the investigation. New to the team she quickly learns this is no ordinary group, they are faithful to Lynley, have developed their own style over the years and have a hard time readjusting to a new leader…..

In a parallel thread in a form of a social worker’s report we learn the story of a former child killer. It has many similarities with the kidnapping and murder of a young boy in England many years ago. At first I wondered where all this was leading but eventually everything tied in to the main threat at the end.

The usual characters reappear: Havers and Nkata, the unflappable Dorothy and the Assistant Commissioner, more or less the whole team even Havers lovely neighbors have a role in this mystery. Many pages are added to the suspense by Ms. George’s detailed coverage of the day to day life of her cast. Adding a new player to her roster was a sly move by Ms. George the not so likable Isabelle Ardery enters like a pit-bull changing the dynamics and the direction of everything in this series. The move was a refreshing game changer and it will be interesting to see how this will play out in the future. 

This novel is vintage George at her best.