Elizabeth George's latest book featuring Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley is everything a novel should be: gripping, layered, and thoroughly enjoyable.
In The Punishment She Deserves, the powers-that-be in New Scotland Yard are pressured by a member of Parliament into reviewing the death of a man while he was in police custody. The events occur in a small college town. The dead man was a local deacon who had been accused of child molestation. Local authorities reviewing the death concluded that it was suicide. The deacon's father does not believe the accusation or that his son killed himself. His threat of a lawsuit and pressure on his local member of Parliament result in Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and her boss, Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, being sent out into the field to determine if the suicide conclusion was reached properly.
Havers is suspicious. Chief Superintendent Ardery is not, although Ardery's attention to the investigation is distracted by the twin issues of deepening alcoholism and a legal battle with her ex-husband over their children. Ardery's problems are just one of multiple threads running through this richly textured book: family dysfunction, more abuse of drugs, and other messy pieces of life are all part of the absorbing story. Elizabeth George gives us a great deal, and it is all wonderfully written. She expertly takes us along with Havers, who is soon joined by Lynley, in getting to the bottom of it all.
The Punishment She Deserves draws you into its atmosphere and keeps you there. This is a terrific read and highly recommended.