A Cambridge student is killed violently while out running one morning and Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. Caught up in university politics, local affairs, and the unravelling of more than one marriage, Lynley and Havers have to negotiate their way very carefully to find a solution.
Having just read George's latest This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16)
, this book, published in 1992, feels much simpler in tone and structure, a testament to the way the author has developed. Set before Lynley's marriage to the irritating and unbelievable Helen (who is called Lady Helen everytime she appears - even though her sister is always just Penelope, or Pen), the relationship between him and Havers seems far more down to earth and jokey, with none of the almost awed respect of the later books.
But George is already expanding the genre to discuss social issues in an unforced and natural way: here she touches on ideas of social `normality' in the context of being deaf or gay; and also focuses on marriage, gendered expectations, and the fissures between people.
I have to admit that I found the murderer and the motive utterly unconvincing (hence the dropping of one star) - but that doesn't spoil the enjoyment of a rich, detailed and compelling story.