Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team doesn't trust the leadership of their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, but Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer's hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden--and possibly attractive--vulnerability.Read more...
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Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team doesn't trust the leadership of their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, but Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer's hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden--and possibly attractive--vulnerability.
While Lynley works in London, his former colleagues Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata follow the murder trail south to the New Forest, a beautiful and strange place where outsiders are not entirely welcome. What they don't know is that more than one dark secret lurks among the trees, and that their investigation will lead them to an outcome that is both tragic and shocking.
A multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of a story skillfully structured to keep readers guessing until the very end, This Body of Death is a magnificent achievement from a writer at the peak of her powers.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-06-28
- Reviewer: Staff
British stage actor John Lee proves an excellent match for George's long and very convoluted new crime novel. A richly detailed murder mystery with more subplots than a soap opera, the story follows a trio of New Scotland Yarders--series favorites Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley, Sgt. Barbara Havers, and a newcomer, their boss, temporary department chief Isabelle Ardery--as they investigate the slaying of a young woman in a London cemetery. Plus, George adds chapters referring to the actual 1993 torture and murder of toddler James Bulger to the mix. Lee possesses the concentration necessary to keep everything straight and maintain at least a fair amount of tension for 26 hours; his is less a narration than a bravura vocal performance. Using dead-on accents, he becomes each of the characters, be they British swells like Lynley and his friends, working-class like Havers, East Indian, Irish, African, young, old, male, female, straight, gay, and everything in between. He even manages to make the token American sound authentic. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 1). (May)
Anglophiles take angles on murder
It always comes as a surprise that Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George, two best-selling perpetrators of masterful mysteries set in England and centered on detectives from New Scotland Yard, are American—their crime novels are so faultlessly British in mood and character. This season, each has a new novel: The Black Cat is Ms. Grimes’ 22nd Richard Jury mystery, while This Body of Death is Ms. George’s 16th Inspector Lynley novel. Both are now excellent audiobooks and both are read by John Lee, who, for a change, is really British. Lee does a wonderful range of English accents and, more importantly, easily establishes each character’s age, gender and temperament with subtle changes in timbre and inflection. I listened to these mysteries sequentially (summer listening at its diversionary best) and was taken more by the differences in style than the similarities, given that they share recurring casts of well-drawn characters, intricately layered plots, many murders and London-based investigators.
The Black Cat is a compelling whodunit in which wildly expensive, strippy-strappy designer shoes, à la Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, catch Chief Superintendent Richard Jury’s fancy and help him catch the killer. And it’s full of Grimes’ signature playful touches, like the very clever dog who understands English and aids in the investigation, and the arch, aristocratic foibles of Jury’s quasi-comical sidekick, Melrose Plant.
In This Body of Death, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, still at loose ends and grieving for his murdered wife, is coaxed back to the Yard when a young woman from Hampshire is found gruesomely stabbed to death in a London cemetery. The coaxer is Isabelle Ardery, the new acting superintendent, whose tough-cookie, take-no-prisoners persona seems to appeal to Lynley, but has the rest of her staff in a mutinous uproar. Internal Yard politics roil, while the killer remains elusive and the tangle of suspects, clues and motives, punctuated with the details of a savage crime committed years ago by three 12-year-old boys, intrigues, entertains and causes goosebumps even in the hot summer sun.
AUDIO OF THE MONTH
October, 1940: The Germans are advancing through the Balkans. The Greeks have just pushed Mussolini’s army back into Albania, but they know they’ll be next, that patriots will fade into the mountains to fight, as they have so valiantly before. And in Salonika, the ancient port city of Greek Macedonia, Costa Zannis, a senior police official with a tough exterior, tough moral core and tender heart, is ready to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. Zannis, who has the appeal of a Casablanca Bogart—and a dash of Jason Bourne’s derring-do—stars in Spies of the Balkans, Alan Furst’s latest. There’s a noirish tinge to Furst’s forays into WWII-era espionage that carries the same allure and fascination as a classic black and white movie, with intrigue galore, believable good guys and bad guys, atmospheric settings, accurate military details, nail-biting tension and passionate romance. As the Nazi incursion intensifies, Zannis works his wiles in Budapest, Berlin, Paris, Zagreb and in his own backyard, and Daniel Gerroll’s narration keeps perfect pace all the way.