For someone who doesn’t read a large amount of crime fiction, I have an indelible love of crime drama. Scary whodunits, the close-knit teams and sometimes a little tumultuous romance too. It’s grim, and when it’s done well it’s gritty. And, should it be American, it’s plain hilarious.
I’m open to most, but my favourites are Murder, She Wrote; Morse; Lewis; Wallander; Above Suspicion; Midsomer Murders; Diagnosis Murder; Poirot; Miss Marple; Broadchurch; Jonathan Creek and….. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
I was (still am) fairly obsessed with The Inspector Lynley Mysteries when I was young/a teen, Barbara Havers was and is my hero. Which brings me to Elizabeth George, author of the titular hero. TV Tommy Lynley is dark haired, fair and down the line. Book Lynley, well, not so much.
Which brings me to Elizabeth George, author of the titular hero. TV Tommy Lynley is dark haired, fair and down the line. Book Lynley, well, not so much.
‘Now into Keldale’s pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a savage murder that has stunned the peaceful countryside. For fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father’s headless corpse. Her first and last words were “I did it. And I’m not sorry.”
Yet as Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale’s dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a shattering series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley—and in their own lives as well.’ GoodReads.
In A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George, Tommy Lynley is a blonde haired Lothario who has slept his way around the met. He’s brilliant, just as his TV counterpart is too, but he’s naughty. I can see why they cleaned up some of his backstory.
The differences from novel to TV are enough that I don’t dislike either and am able to see each as a separate entity from the other. This could be because I watched the TV show first, but I hope it’s because Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small make Lynley and Havers their own.
Havers, Lynley’s antagonist, is a sharp, disgruntled WPC. Adamant she has been discriminated by the force and determined that Lynley is somehow part of the problem, allowed to saunter around the Met with all his privileges on show. She’s not beautiful, she’s smart, although the attitude to beauty is slightly off and I felt somehow appearance mattered.
Havers is essentially to the novel as she is the readers entry point, the character we identify with. Well, she is for me anyway. She’s from a working class family with a difficult home life, she is an everybody. The rich and privileged are few, without Havers Lynley would be difficult to like.
Havers has a chip on her shoulder, but by the end of the novel you feel as though she and Lynley are at the beginnings of a profitable partnership.
Trigger warning, the book deals with the very serious topic of child abuse and some scenes are traumatic.