Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart. Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, has brought to Howenstow, his family home, the young woman he has asked to be his bride. But the savage murder of a local journalist is the catalyst for a lethal series of events that shatters the calm of a picturesque Cornwall village and embroils Lynley and St. James in a case far outside their jurisdiction--and a little too close to home. When a second death follows closely on the heels of the first, Lynley finds he can't help taking the investigation personally--because the evidence points to a killer within his own family.
At the heart of George's ( Payment in Blood ) darkly vibrant modern English mystery lie love, requited and not; and injuries of the kind that only intimates--parents, siblings, lovers, close friends--or perhaps one's own treacherous ego can inflict. Thomas Lynley, eighth earl of Asherton and a detective inspector of New Scotland Yard, brings his fiancee Deborah Cotton to Cornwall to meet his widowed mother. Accompanying them are Lynley's best friend, forensic scientist Simon St. James; St. James's sister Sidney; her boyfriend Justin Brooke; Lady Helen Clyde, St. James's partner and former lover; and Deborah's father, St. James's valet. Unexpected events of the weekend include a violent fight between Sidney and Justin, the appearance of Lynley's cocaine-addicted brother, the brutal murder of the village newspaper editor, and Justin's death on the cliffs. Lynley and St. James attempt to trace motives and alibis among guests and villagers while each is deeply enmeshed in personal pain: Lynley's over his estrangement from his mother since his father's death many years before, and St. James's over his unspoken--and, he believes, unspeakable--love for Deborah. The resolution of the accumulating murders involves different kinds of illegal drugs and centers around the activities of a young London woman whose true identity surprises everyone. Even more intricate than George's deftly handled plot, however, are the paths etched by her anguished, memorable characters, as they struggle with the secrets of their hearts.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 31, 1992
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