A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
|A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The first of the Lynley and Havers books is excellent on character development, has a good story, but is weak as a mystery. It's still worth reading though.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: November 2003|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
Ian Rankin's first book in his best-selling Rebus series was slow to sell, for a very good reason. It wasn't actually that good. It was workmanlike and only sold subsequently because it was the first in the series. A Great Deliverance is actually quite a good book. I opened it with some trepidation. The fact that an American was writing about an earl who had become a policeman didn't inspire a lot of confidence, but I was more than pleasantly surprised.
After the beheading of a farmer, the local police are satisfied that they have the murderer. His daughter, Roberta Teys, was found next to the body and she's confessed her guilt but a priest persuades Scotland Yard that there's some doubt. Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers extracts Inspector Thomas Lynley (otherwise known as the eighth earl of Asherton) from a wedding and they start their investigations.
The book was first published in 1988 but it's only small points like the sending of Havers rather than a quick call on the mobile which makes the book seem dated some twenty years later. The character development is excellent. I thought that the 'posh cop' would be too over the top for me, but he's believable and the contrast between him and Havers, whose clothes sense matches her background, is well handled. Once again, it could have been farce, but it wasn't. The book was worth reading for the characters alone.
Which is just as well, because the mystery element is on the light side. It's a good story – but most people will have worked out what happened long before the end. It's definitely worth reading though because it sets the scene for the books which follow and some of those, such as With No One As Witness are really rather good.
For those who do enjoy the 'pop cop' stories we can recommend the work of P D James and particularly The Lighthouse.
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