10 May 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.

I read Elizabeth George's debut novel A GREAT DELIVERANCE, published in 1988, towards the end of 1992. By then of course it had won the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel awards in America and received the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France.

Synopsis (author 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.
I was hooked.
I have continued to read the Lynley series, now up to #17, although I still have the last 2 in the series to catch up with.

The list (from Fantastic Fiction)
Inspector Lynley
1. A Great Deliverance (1988)
2. Payment In Blood (1989)
3. Well-Schooled In Murder (1990)
4. A Suitable Vengeance (1990)
5. For The Sake of Elena (1992)
6. Missing Joseph (1993)
7. Playing For The Ashes (1994)
8. In The Presence Of The Enemy (1996)
9. Deception On His Mind (1997)
10. In Pursuit Of The Proper Sinner (1999)
11. A Traitor To Memory (2001)
12. A Place of Hiding (2003)
13. With No One as Witness (2005)
14. What Came Before He Shot Her (2006)
15. Careless in Red (2008)
16. This Body of Death (2010)
17. Believing the Lie (2012)

Elizabeth George lives on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington, and of course there has been a lot of discussion over the years about the fact that she is an American author writing a very British feeling series. Her popularity as an author has been greatly enhanced by the Lynley television series, although there are marked differences between the books and the tv characters. The fact that she decided to kill off Lynley's wife in #13 caused controversy and distress among her readers.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I too thought A Great Deliverance to be an excellent book. I'm glad you featured it.

Anonymous said...

I can still remember reading this book and really falling in love with the whole series. I looked back and it was in the summer of 1993. I'm a bit behind on reading the series now - probably 4 or 5 books behind. I kind of got tired of it. This is a nice pick.

Irene said...

I've not read this book, but now I MUST. You're not so good for my reading off my shelf challenge.

Todd Mason said...

The links this week and next to the other FF Books will be hosted at my blog, SWEET FREEDOM...


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