Oh, yes, this is why I love Elizabeth George's work! While I've enjoyed all of her books, except for "What Came Before Her" which deviated greatly from her other books, the last few haven't been quite on the mark as her earlier work - almost, but not quite. But as many others have said, Ms. George is back on track with this one. She's a fabulous writer of British mysteries and I'm always amazed that she isn't in fact British.
Barbara Havers is my favorite character in the Lynley series and this book centered mostly on her and her efforts to remain efficient without going off the deep end as she tends to do. She's such a likable character and I held my breath every time she came close to stepping over the line as she tried so hard to redeem herself with her boss and avoid a much dreaded transfer. I felt that at times the animosity that her boss, Isabelle Ardery, has for Barbara was too extreme and unprofessional, almost to the point of being ridiculous. I think that was one negative aspect that I had about the book and I found Isabelle to be very annoying. But the wonderful humorous parts as a co-worker tries to remake Barbara and Barbara's hilarious responses to those attempts more than make up for that small annoyance.
As far as Lynley and his love life, that isn't what draws me to this series. Sure, I care about him and don't want to see him hurt. But it's Barbara's character that keeps me reading.
I don't want to go too much into the mystery as I know I don't like knowing too much about a plot before reading a mystery. I will say that I thought the mystery was very well plotted, with enough red herrings to keep you guessing. Ms George doesn't write cozy mysteries and this one is a disturbing story about a very dysfunctional family. What I like about the Lynley series is that Ms. George doesn't hold back clues and you learn each of the clues as the police learn them and can try to puzzle things out with them. This one had a lot of suspects and I jumped from one to the other and was still surprised at the end.
As much as I recommend this book, I do recommend that anyone starting off with this series start at the very first book, "A Great Deliverance", so you can build a connection with these characters. I really do feel as though I know these people personally as they have been part of my life for a very long time. And I do hope that they will continue to be a part of my life for a long time to come. This is a character driven series and the only way to really get involved with these characters is to start at the beginning.
This book was given to me by the publisher through First to Read and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.