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This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16) Hardcover – 15 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (15 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340922990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340922996
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 23.9 x 4.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 328,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Elizabeth George has long been one of the most prolific of crime writers, and this American practitioner (who chooses to set her fiction in Great Britain, a country of which she is inordinately fond) has managed to finesse her already considerable sales by cracking the lucrative television market. Her uppercrust copper, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, is a firm TV favourite (as incarnated by the actor Nathaniel Parker in the long-running Inspector Lynley Mysteries). But as her new novel, This Body of Death, comprehensively proves, Elizabeth George aficionados need to pick up one of her books to get the real flavour of her achievement. The latest book is something of an epic in terms of George’s oeuvre, weighing in at nearly 600 pages, but George manages to justify the book's considerable length.

Thomas Lynley is on compassionate leave after the savage murder of his wife, and his replacement at the Met is Isabelle Ardery. A body has been discovered in an Islington Cemetery, and it is up to Isabelle to crack the case. She is particularly keen to do so, discerning that results in this area would be very good for her career. But the Met has been going through a very bad patch, and a series of well-publicised disasters have left the force in very bad odour. The media is studying the Met with forensic attention, and Isabelle cannot afford to fail. She realises that she needs Lynley's team (fiercely loyal to their boss, notably the highly capable Barbara Havers), and -- most of all -- she needs the still-grieving Thomas Lynley himself. But can he be persuaded to break off from his compassionate leave?

As usual, George demonstrates a consummate grasp of the kind of plotting so necessary for a novel such as this -- a fact that will come as absolutely no surprise to her army of admirers. And it is a canny trick in This Body of Death to keep Lynley offstage for a while, so that when he is brought back into the fray, his appearance is all the more welcome. That's not to say that Isabelle Ardrey is not characterised quite as vividly, and holds the stage almost as compellingly as George’s trademark copper. The author hates her fiction being described as ‘cosy’; sorry, Ms George, but it is -- though when it is as authoritatively delivered as it is here, such labels become irrelevant. --Barry Forshaw


An intelligent book, clipped and precise, every word chosen with care . . . a cool, clever book that needs concentration and a sharp brain to unravel . . . Along the way to solving the crime we meet some finely drawn characters who emerge as real people with faults and frailties. Ms George is the connoisseur's crime writer. Like fine wine, her words need to be savoured . . . Lynley is a policeman with a gentle touch and it is good to have him back on such brilliant form. (Sunday Express)

The author writes brilliantly and has an incredible ability to set a scene and create characters you want to know more about. (Sun)

Terrific as always - and how great to have Lynley back on the force. (Time Out)

Hurrah, another Inspector Lynley . . . This is crime writing at its finest. George's books are long, solid and wonderfully crafted; she is a modern Dorothy L Sayers. (Saga)

Dark, unrelenting and powerful (Kirkus Reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jane Baker VINE VOICE on 17 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
After the murder of Helen I almost parted company with Elizabeth George. However I gave Careless in Red a chance which it richly deserved. Now I'm unsure whether I'll continue my love affair with George's books. Her earlier novels were by far the best and whilst she writes with assurance and her prose is beautiful parts of the plot are unneccessarily convoluted and could be condensed without harm to the storyline. Reading the sub-story made me feel uncomfortable with such close parallels to the Bulger story and the police chase after the paranoid schizophrenic was too close to the Jean Charles de Menenes incident. George is taking chances here it seems to me. And an ACC drinking on the job - acting ACC, but even so, I certainly hope not! Was this all a bit over-imaginative? Pushing the boundaries a bit too far. And Lynley acting out of character even given the madness of his grief with the alchoholic Isabelle robbed me of some of my sympathy for him. George's style is evolving, as this must for an author,but it's into something less wholesome than the novels which brought her to prominence.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By FromTheSouthernTip on 15 Feb 2011
Format: Hardcover
What is with with these successful churn-em-out authors? Do they eventually think they are above editing? Do their fans stick to them no-matter-what? Do they believe that more is more and fail to see that it is less? Elizabeth George lost her touch long ago. It has been many years since I manage to wade past the first few chapters, though, bless me, I always make the effort. I really gave this one a good try, but I have to say-what is good is not original, and what is original is not good. The story is a direct lift of the tragedy of James Bulgar, and the subsequent resurfacing of John Venables in the news.She sets the scene well at the start of the novel by moving between seemingly unrelated stories. The social worker's reports are always the most fascinating. But does this story have to be spun out quite so mercilessly? Does George think we have nothing else to do but wade through her verbosity?I gave up at about page 200, and just picked up on the social worker reports to the end to find out what ensued. I did, and it took all of 10 minutes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Allegra on 31 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
This was the first - or maybe second - book by Elizabeth George I had ever read. I doubt whether I shall be reading any more. The book is intricately plotted, too intricately for my liking in fact: I find that all the apparently unrelated plot lines being slowly and painfully drawn together add up to a tiresome read. Ms George's research on the New Forest was, I must admit, extremely well done. I spent my teenage years in New Milton (mentioned once in the book), and know that all of the geographical references and other area-specific aspects are very accurate. But, and this is a big but, two aspects of the novel were a complete turn-off for me. First, like many other reviewers, I found the thinly disguised use of the James Bulger tragedy extremely distasteful. I need say no more about that; others have said it all. Second, I find some aspects of Ms George's style - so highly rated in some quarters, apparently - irritating to the point of tempting me to hurl the book into outer darkness (except that my Kindle would have had to go with it). If an author is going to set her novels in a country other than her own - but one where basically the same language is spoken - she should make sure a 'native speaker' carries out meticulous editing. This would have avoided the most irritating mistake: the constant use of 'likely' as an adverb rather than an adjective (even in the mouth of the upper-crust Lynley!). In the UK, despite our steady drift towards the mid-Atlantic, we do NOT say things like "Mary will likely be coming back this evening". We say "probably", Ms George, and PLEASE don't forget it. Also, we do not describe upholstered furniture as "overstuffed", as Americans do; it sounds very odd to an English ear.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Francesca on 29 Dec 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a great lover of Elizabeth George. I have all the Lynley books, I also have the all the DVDs. But I found this book a little odd. After two or three chapters i felt as though someone else was writing the book,and worse, like some other reviewers I felt uneasy at the the similaritiy to the Bulger case.
As the book progressed more things made me feel that it was not Ms George writing >> An ACC drunk on the job AND Lynly aware of this AND overlooking it ?!? Even a grieving Lynley would not do that.
And a superior trying to make over Havers. Oh please!!!
The last straw was Lynley hopping into bed with this obnoxious drunk so soon after Helen's daeth.
It is as though the writer did not know her characters.

i hope Ms George's next book is back on track or I shall be off.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 18 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are of course a number of different types of detective novel out there in the market - the classic whodunnit (where characterisation is not terribly important) the police procedural, the chiller, the fully characterised novel with detection at the fringes - and so on - and with shades in between.
Elizabeth George started life as a great exponent of the cleverly plotted whodunnit, but in her early books her characters, though engaging, seemed to me maybe a little lacking in nuance. Over the years however she has become more and more accomplished as a writer of fully formed characters. I suspect (while I will never forgive her for this piece of plotting, which seemed to me cruel in the extreme) that her killing off of Lynley's wife Helen a few years ago was a necessary staging post on the road to the books she writes now, which are superbly plotted and full of well drawn characters, about whom one cares. By now, for example, I am quite as fond of Lynley's team as I have ever been of Adam Dalgleish's satellites. And in this novel she produces a number of characters to people the mystery who seem very real, and sympathetic, and whose story one really wants to know. But this has not led to any weakening of her powers in the plotting department - far from it. As a detective novel loving friend once said to me "With her books you actually have to think to work out who is the murderer" - and I could not agree more!
So this time out we are just a few months down the road from her last Lynley novel - he has not long returned from Cornwall and the Yard is still trying to fill the Superintendant's position that Lynley won't take. They bring in Isabelle Ardery (who provides a lovely illustration of the stresses and strains of trying to get to the top in a very macho job).
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