Thursday, 2 March 2017

A Suitable Vengence - Elizabeth George
A vivid, layered, atmospheric tale.

The book jacket does justice to the plot. The waves hitting the cliffs is quite reflective of Cornwall. In fact that is how I visualised it as well when I was reading the story.

George is a favourite and I have read nearly all of her novels and even re-read some in a attempte to study the technique. I still remember how my first novel of her : In the Presence of the Enemy. Her deft handling of plot and the characters were very impressive. The story stayed with me until much later and then I started hunting down her works and devouring them all.

This is one of the earlier novels in the Lynley-Havers series. The duo have not become work partners yet. The other characters St James, Deborah and Lady Helen are very much present. It is interesting to see how they are at an interesting stage and how the dynamics of the relationship shifts and evolves to form new liasons.


Lynley and Deborah are in Cornwall with their close friends, St James and Lady Helen to celebrate Lynley's engagement with Deborah. However, where these characters get together, there has to be a murder nearby and that is what happens. A journalist is killed and since he happens to be the husband of the daughter of their employee, Lynley feels compelled to step in with his team and investigate.

Soon another murder is reported. This time it strikes closer home and brings Lynley's personal issues to fore: a troubled relationship with his Mother and a stormy relationship with his brother

Lynley must deal with them before it embroils them all further more in a tangled mess that bears a painful connection to the murder.

What works:
  • The characters are like old friends. I know I have said this before but then that is how it feels . It was interesting to see how the dynamics of the relationship is formed here and later shifts.
  • The plot. It is like picking up a thread buried in the sand and then lifting it up and following the trail. The narrative is so fluid and smooth, with no jerky movements or past/ present shifts in time.
What doesn't:
  • The trouble with George is that she can be too detailed. It takes the zing out of the story, slacking the pace. There are some middle bits which are a bit sagging, putting demands on the reader to stick with it.
Overall, a good read. Perhaps not as good as some of the others. But the characters are there and the twists are interesting. 

Thumbs up.

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