30 August 2012

Forgotten Book: A GREAT DELIVERANCE, Elizabeth George

For many of my contributions this year to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books I am focussing on the books I read 20 years ago in 1992. By then my reading diet was almost exclusively crime fiction.

So my recent posts for this meme have largely been about authors that I "discovered" in that year.

A GREAT DELIVERANCE, published in 1988, is the first in Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series.

From the author's website

A baby's cry echoes on lonely nights through Keldale Valley in Yorkshire. Three hundred years ago, when Cromwell's raiders swept through a village in this valley, not a living creature was to be found on its fog-shrouded streets. The entire population had taken refuge in Keldale Abbey. But then, as the legend goes, an infant began to cry-and the villages knew they had escaped Cromwell's ravages only to be betrayed by a babe. So they smothered the child to silence it.

To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys.

Now, into this pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes New Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley. Accompanied by Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a particularly savage murder which has stunned the peaceful countryside.

Fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found, clad in her best silk dress, seated in the great stone barn beside her father's decapitated corpse. Her first and only words were: "I did it. I'm not sorry." She has refused to speak since. The priest who found young Roberta insists the girl is innocent. The villagers, who have known the girl all of her life, concur. The local police, however, maintain that she's guilty of the brutal slaying of one of the region's most respected citizens.

As Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale's dark labyrinth of scandals, they uncover a series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley-and in their own lives as well.

In A Great Deliverance Elizabeth George probes the delicate motivations of the heart against a backdrop of buried scandals, unresolved antagonisms and dizzying ambiguities. It was her debut novel, the winner of the Agatha and Anthony Awards for best first novel as well as France's Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere. It was nominated for both a Macavity and an Edgar. It has been optioned for television by the BBC.

There's another fascinating reference to it at Mystery Page Turners.

I have enjoyed the series, particularly the mixture of historical threads with current themes, but also the character development that has threaded the books together.

My review of the most recent in the series, #17, BELIEVING THE LIE.


Clarissa Draper said...

This was my favourite book of hers. From there, it seemed to go downhill. I'm still interested in reading what comes out from her in the future though.

Clothes In Books said...

I know a lot of people like Elizabeth George, but I get so distracted by her Americanisms... I've given up reading her because of the endless mistakes about life in the UK. I am astonished that such a huge-selling author doesn't have anyone to check or edit that aspect of her books!


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