Long before they were televised, I was a staunch follower of the Lynley mysteries, though, in my mind, they were the Simon St. James mysteries as his character stood out in the early novels in the series. I read them as they came out, in order. However, I must say that when I read #4 in the series, “A suitable vengeance“, I wished I had read it first because the story is actually a prequel which reveals some early history of the main characters. If life ever provides me with enough time to re-read this fabulous series, I would read that one first.
Re-reading would be quite a commitment as most of the books are quite lengthy (I calculated the average length of books in the series to be around 628 pages) AND there are 20 titles in this series! Anyone who has not yet started reading this series has many enjoyable hours of reading ahead of them.
The 20 novels in the Lynley mystery series are:
NOTE: A Suitable Vengeance is a prequel novel in the Inspector Lynley series and should be read before A Great Deliverance when reading the novels in chronological order.
- A great deliverance
- Payment in blood
- Well-schooled in murder
- A suitable vengeance (#1 in chronological order)
- For the sake of Elena
- Missing Joseph
- Playing for the ashes
- In the presence of the enemy
- Deception on his mind
- In pursuit of the proper sinner
- A traitor to memory
- A place of hiding
- With no one as witness
- What came before he shot her
- Careless in red
- This body of death
- Believing the lie
- Just one evil act
- A banquet of consequences
- The punishment she deserves
The series protagonists are: Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (also known as The 8th Earl of Asherton) and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers who work for Scotland Yard. Also featured prominently in the novels are Lynley’s girlfriend, Lady Helen Clyde, and his childhood friend, Simon St. James, who now works as a forensic pathologist, and Deborah St. James, Simon’s wife.
From Wikipedia: “Lynley, the handsome and urbane Eighth Earl of Asherton, has a gilded existence as a member of the nobility, whereas the working class, unattractive and socially inept Havers finds life a struggle.”
This is one of those series where the backstory is just as important, if not more so, than the mystery. You become connected to the characters and invested in how their personal lives pan out.
With characterization that will keep you enthralled, the Lynley mystery series is truly a “series to savour“.
Elizabeth George was born (February 26, 1949) in Warren, Ohio. She was a student of English, having received a teaching certificate from the University of California, Riverside. While teaching English in the public school system, she completed a master’s degree in counseling and psychology. She has always been fascinated with the dark side of human nature and her novels reflect this. She received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Cal State University Fullerton in 2004 and was awarded an honorary Masters in Fine Arts from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts in 2010. She also established the Elizabeth George Foundation in 1997. Her work is translated into more than 30 different languages and have won myriad literary awards. Almost all of them have had a place on bestseller lists at one time or another.