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Elizabeth George is "Well-Schooled in Murder"


In Elizabeth George's Well-Schooled in Murder, Lynley and Havers are after the killer of a young teenage boy from a privileged public school in West Sussex, England. When an old school chum pleads for help in finding a missing boy, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers find themselves outside of their jurisdiction as they search first for a child--and then, tragically, for the child's murderer. Their investigation takes deep into a secretive world that harbors more evil than either of them expects.

Well-Schooled in Murder is the third book in the Inspector Lynley series. When the book begins, the aristocratic Lynley and the lower middle class Havers have been working together for over eighteen months. They've grown accustomed to each other and the infighting between them has settled to a dull roar. They function more like a team than they have in either of the previous two books. It is new dynamic, which works most of the time. I'll admit, however, to missing some of the spunkiness Havers has in the earlier books. Her irreverence toward everything that Lynley stands for added to George's earlier works seemed to be lacking in Well-Schooled in Murder.

Published in 1989, the book does contain some anachronisms to date it, but not enough to distract from the overall plot. Although I enjoyed Well-Schooled in Murder, I felt like the book slowed to a turtle's pace somewhere between half and two-thirds of the way through. Lynley and Havers seemed to lose the plot a bit and appear to accuse anyone within a mile of the school. The book eventually winds back around to a satisfactory ending, but there were a few chapters where things seemed to drag.

One word of warning for those who decide to pick up this book. It does contain elements of child abuse, which could be disturbing to some readers. All in all, Well-Schooled in Murder was a good book, but it didn't quite live up to the previous two in the series.

For my review of the first book in the series, A Great Deliverance, click here.


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