We caught up with Elizabeth George at Books, Inc. in Alameda while she was on book tour for the new Inspector Lynley book, A Banquet of Consequences. I must admit that I enjoy her novels so much, that I have tracked this author down during every book tour for the last fifteen years. Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers are two of my favorite characters in fiction today and I love the ability to get lost in their world.
Lynley and Havers return in A Banquet of Consequences, but before they do we get a window into a crazy dysfunctional family with grown up sons being manipulated by their hyper-overbearing mother, Caroline Goldacre. When you read this book you'll be glad Caroline is one the page, and not in your house. She manipulates and ruins not only her adult sons romantic relationships but her own second marriage in such creative and monstrous ways. When one of the sons commits suicide, family blame abounds. Soon Caroline's boss, a famous writer, is poisoned by what surely looks like Caroline's hand, but did she really do it?
Enter in Barbara Havers who has been desperately trying to behave on the orders of her boss, Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, since the end of George's last book, Just One Evil Act. Barbara's ditched her famous tacky T-Shirts with obnoxious sayings for skirts and jumpers - without stains or rips. She's styling her hair. She's doing all of her police work strictly by the book, so that Ardery does carry out a threat to banish her to another precinct in the middle of nowhere England.
The problem is that a Barbara that follows all the rules, isn't so good at her job, and Lynley stands up for her to be able to run the investigation of the famous writer's death. Ardery is waiting for Barbara to screw up, and we all know she can't help herself for long. Barbara and Nkata head out to the small village where the suicide and the murder took place while Lynley stays in London pursuing the investigation and his budding romance with a beautiful zoo keeper. This is where the novel returns to the classic Havers and Lynley investigation that I love.
This hardback is longer than most, but I truly enjoyed all 587 pages of immersion. If you like Elizabeth George's earlier work, you'll love this book. If you have never read her Lynley books, start at the beginning with A Great Deliverance. If you liked the PBS series, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, I'd recommend that you start with A Great Deliverance as well. If you like mysteries set in London, even if you don't, you'll enjoy A Banquet of Consequences.
A Banquet of Consequences was published by Viking. They provided a review copy in exchange for a fair review.