Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George

The latest gruesome, yet touching, mystery starring Inspector Thomas Lynley and his friends.

Elizabeth George’s long-awaited 18th installment in the Inspector Thomas Lynley mystery series sees our Tommy back at New Scotland Yard, having returned from wandering the English countryside mourning his murdered wife. His new illicit relationship with a superior officer is interrupted by a mysterious secret assignment–to look into a drowning that has already been ruled accidental. A powerful patriarch (like Lynley, a peer of the realm) requests further investigation into his own family–most obviously, the recovering drug addict prodigal son. But as Lynley, with the assistance of the reliable Deborah and Simon St. James, delves deeper into this family’s history and entanglements, he uncovers myriad lies, betrayals, deceptive identities and plenty of cause for scandal.

Fans of the series will rejoice in rejoining Lynley, the St. Jameses and Sergeant Barbara Havers, who unwillingly undergoes a makeover in this book. George also delivers the fully wrought, sympathetic, very human minor characters her readers have come to expect. Longtime fans may find Deborah’s increasingly obsessive distress over her failure to conceive beginning to wear thin; the subject becomes a full-fledged plot thread here. But George’s strengths–character development, plot twists and shocking tragedy–continue to shine.

While Believing the Lie can stand alone, series readers will find a deeper appreciation of the complex relationships at play. Look out for a serious cliffhanger at the end, which will leave George’s fans panting for the next Lynley episode.

This review originally ran in the January 13, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

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