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A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  28,116 Ratings  ·  1,124 Reviews
To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they'd hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell's raiders.

Now into Keldale's pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas L
Mass Market Paperback, 413 pages
Published June 1989 by Bantam Books (first published 1988)
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Polly Zetterberg Well, I am on my second re-read of this fun book, and it seems that Havers (I love her!) and Lynley have known of each other at Scotland yard, but had…moreWell, I am on my second re-read of this fun book, and it seems that Havers (I love her!) and Lynley have known of each other at Scotland yard, but had not met until this story. They just began working together on this case of murder by decapitation in Yorkshire, and I guess that the setting is about mid to late 80s; no cellphones, cassette tapes for his car; it was copywritten in 1988. No mention of WWII, but there are some sly jokes about rationing STILL being in existence in some restaurants. :)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 05, 2011 Eve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2011
I initially saw the television adaptation of this book on PBS Mystery!. I was moved by the dark, Yorkshire setting and the budding friendship of Lynley and Havers. It had such a gritty conclusion, that I went to the library the next day and checked out the next book in the series. That was almost 9 years ago! After finishing book six in the series last year, I felt it was time to read the book that started it all.

I can't believe I waited so long! Thus far, this my favorite book in the series! F
To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they'd hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell's raiders.

Now into Keldale's pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has be
I've been in a book slump for the longest time. Well, I've been in a slump in general, for the longest time. I'd been having "one of those days" for the past couple of weeks, and this book got me out of it.

I was apprehensive about starting this book after the disappointment that was J.D. Robb, but this did not disappoint. Elizabeth George is an exceptional writer. She pens what seems, from the onset, a cosy mystery, a la Ms. Marple or the likes, but gradually turns out to be something much dark
Mixed feelings on this one.
Lynley and Havers are fascinating characters, complex and marvelously well-drawn (except for one somewhat gratuitious Lynley interlude). I love the way Havers is allowed to express her resentment and how her inbred distrust and dislike of nobility is thwarted by Lynley's compassion and decency.
There are some interesting secondary characters, as well, my favourite being the little girl, Bridie, and her pet duck, Dougal.
However, at times the book is too description-he
Mary Beth
Aug 15, 2014 Mary Beth rated it really liked it
I finished this book last night and I was filled with mixed emotions. After reading this I thought Is it O.K. to murder someone? Even though I could never do this, I now have a different view on this question. The ending was just full of horror. It was almost too much for me to handle. I really did like the book though.
This book starts out with Inspector Lynley of Scotland Yard in a village of Keldale, investigating a murder there with Sergeant Barbara Havers. Sergeant Havers gets demoted from
Richard Derus
Jul 27, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4 solid stars of five

The Publisher Says: To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they'd hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell's raiders.

Now into Keldale's pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Ser
Lewis Weinstein
Mar 14, 2013 Lewis Weinstein rated it really liked it
This is the first of the Lynley-Havers stories, and also the first that I am re-reading. I hope I don't remember too much of the plot (it's been 10 years at least) but my real purpose in re-reading is to study George's writing techniques. Her use of setting, development of character, and plot surprises, among other elements, are superb. For fans of Elizabeth George who are also writers, I recommend Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life.

George unfolds the layers of a
Nov 19, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Goodness Gracious, I love this series. Elizabeth George is, in my opinion, the best mystery writer alive today. The ending hits you like a slap and yet you're left wondering how in the world you never saw it coming. Of course THAT was what was happening! But Elizabeth George is a master manipulator and character constructor. There are few characters in literature I enjoy more than Barbara Havers and Sir Thomas Lynley. The ins and outs of their relationship over the course of this series is enthr ...more
Apr 08, 2008 Jude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Don't let the public television series distract you - they mostly just took the names and killed off most of the players.

For a treat and a journey that only your willingness NOT to read reviews can preserve, begin here at the beginning. The arc of personal story that runs behind the crimes and through the novels is truly wonderful, and her brilliant portrayal of race and class issues builds to the truly startling "With No One As Witness" and the revelatory "What Came Before He Shot Her."

Mar 29, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to dislike this book intensely. I'd not read (or seen) any Inspector Lynley and I was expecting to enjoy this tale of an aristocrat police detective. It's the first in the series and sometimes the first outing is not the best whilst an author is establishing characters but I am really not sure I can bear to try another unless the author has been given a sound talking-to and promised to reform. It has left my teeth feeling as if the enamel has been stripped off.

I can cut the plot
Dec 20, 2012 James rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, crime
I wavered between strongly disliking this book, actively despising the author and reading it in a compulsive how could this get any worse kind of way.

The plot in brief: a lord who for reasons unknown works in scotland yard is paired up with a working class police woman to solve a grisly decapitation in Yorkshire.

I understand some suspension of belief is par for the course when you read a crime thriller and that the depth of character plotting is not a universal strength of the genre. But there
Larry Bassett
Nov 24, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery
This is my first Elizabeth George and is part of my search for women authors with feminist protagonists. In this case it will be the second in command protagonist, not, on the face of it, the most- promising start in finding a strong, independent woman. I am defining feminist as someone who supports and works toward equal rights and opportunities for women. I am interested in the development of the relationship between the two main characters. There is a tension and occasional antagonism between ...more
May 31, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok
In this, the first Inspector Lynley mystery, Elizabeth George unrolls a particularly hideous plot and typically unappealing supporting cast of characters. Even our main characters, Lynley and Havers, are unappealing; Lynley is a serious slut who apparently will bed down with any redhaired woman and who crippled his best friend in a drunk driving accident, and Havers is shapeless yet also barrel-shaped and has tiny pig eyes. Oh, and Lynley is blond. (In my mind he became antiques expert identical ...more
Nikki Nielsen
Mar 30, 2008 Nikki Nielsen rated it really liked it
As exhausted as I am, Elizabeth George has managed to hold my attention into the wee hours of the morning. That, in itself, says something.

I was surprised to learn, after finishing this book, that the author is American. I have read a great deal of British Mysteries, and I have to say she does it well. I learned this about her after reading the book, because I never read the inside cover or back of a book until I have finished. I don't like to start out with pre-conceptions. I like to be surpris
May 13, 2016 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an avid reader of mystery series, why have I never picked up one of Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley books? After all, she's one of the most successful mystery writers now on the scene. I've finally remedied my oversight by reading the first book in the series and the writer's first novel, A Great Deliverance. I won't wait so long to peruse the second book in the series, because this was a terrific read.

Here are a few of the things that I liked about the book:

The setting. Yorkshire, with i
Marie-Jo Fortis
Dec 17, 2012 Marie-Jo Fortis rated it really liked it
Mysteries no longer seem mysterious. At least the ones that have fallen into my hands in the past few years.

What the hell do you mean? will be the retort of the critical friend. A non-mysterious mystery? And then, a glance will follow with this implication, criticism now tinted with concern: Marie-Jo must have hit her head on a real hard surface. Main be it’s time for brain surgery.

Before I am being taken to the hospital, however, let me explain. I believe that what has been placed on the fo
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2013

Da tempo bramavo Elizabeth George (..intendo i suoi libri) e fra una pesantezza letteraria e l'altra l'occasione per staccare la spina e tentare la sua via era lì pronta, in uno scaffale perfettamente raggiungibile della mia biblioteca di paese. Prima esperienza, primo libro della serie dell'ispettore Lynley. E meno male che non è l'ultimo, perché io già mi sono prenotata il secondo sperando che non manchi all'appello nello stesso scaffale.

A lettura finita devo fare i miei più sentiti compl
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it
Elizabeth George tells a wonderful tale; crafted as carefully as an elaborate quilt. She deserves the accolades she’s received, including the Anthony & Agatha Best First Novel in the USA for A Great Deliverance.
I’ve read all of her novels and recommend this for all lovers of crime fiction and good writing. If she weren’t boxed into a genre, her novels would be considered for more than the usual crime prizes.
Toni Osborne
Feb 04, 2009 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing
This is a plot thick book with plenty of fascinating characters. It is a good idea to read this novel first to get a solid background of the characters. If you love rich and complex characters you will be delighted. This novel is beautifully written, has a lot of suspense and is utterly absorbing. The author leaves a message that goes far beyond a murder mystery.
Jamie Collins
Jun 09, 2010 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable murder mystery, very well written with detailed, rather intense characterizations. The drama was perhaps a little over-the-top, and the Dark Secret behind the murder was a bit obvious.

The mystery shared the stage equally with the personal stories of the detectives, the aristocratic Inspector Lynley and the working-class Sergeant Havers. I like this in a series mystery novel, because in the long run I'm more interested in the recurring characters than in the murder-of-the-we
Jun 19, 2012 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
When I started my mystery genre binge, I decided to do a little research to find out what British mystery series (I did want to start a series) rated highest amongst critics and readers. Inevitably, Elizabeth George's Inspector Lyndley series ranked amongst the highest. So I started with this novel, the first in the series, and was most assuredly not disappointed. Both Inspector Lyndley and his partner, Barbara Havers, are wonderfully complex characters, each with their own baggage and their own ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, audiobooks
This is the first in the Inspector Lynley mystery series by Elizabeth George and it introduces Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the 8th Earl of Asherton and Barbara Havers, a blue collar Sergeant. The mystery alone makes this an interesting book to read, but what raises this above all the other good mysteries is the character development of Lynley and Havers. As an Earl, Lynley doesn't need to work, and even more so, doesn't need to work for Scotland Yard tracking down seedy criminals. Hav ...more
Jan 25, 2015 J. rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This is something that happens in both directions: the well-loved book is made into a film and the book's audience deserts; or the film series that originates in the books isn't really validated by reading the book.

After watching the Inspector Lynley series on Pbs for I don't know how many years, it occurred to me to pick up on the books. Enough time had passed that the intricacies of plot and resolution would probably be interesting enough to encounter once again, on the printed page.

Well, ne
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Era stato proprio un gran maleducato. Le aveva starnutito fragorosamente in faccia, inondandola di schizzi, dopo aver resistito allo stimolo per almeno tre quarti d'ora.

Solo la George può iniziare così un romanzo e non temere di perdere audience.. Mitica!!
Per chi ama il genere thriller (ma anche per chi vorrebbe approciarvisi, per chi ha curiosità, per chi vuol cambiare aria..) questo libro è davvero imperdibile. La George scrive divinamente e vi catturerà! Per me era una rilettura, ma l'ho iniz
Jill Treftz
Jun 02, 2009 Jill Treftz rated it liked it
My biggest issue with this book is, I think, largely a function of its setting. It was written in the late 1980s and is set in England in the earlier 1980s. Thus, the mystery behind the murder, which seemed very difficult for the characters to grasp, was evident to me from very early on. Maybe I'm jaded from too much television (SPOILER: too much Law & Order: SVU, in particular), but I knew from chapter 3 or so precisely what the motive was. And I was right--dead on, in fact.

The class issues
Oct 06, 2015 Suzy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how much I disliked this book. I remember really liking the Masterpiece Mystery television program, not wanting to miss an episode!

In the book, the characters, major and minor, seemed over-exaggerated, the crime seemed obvious to this reader, but it took Lynley and Havers 400+ pages to figure it out - it seemed to go on and on! I see that this is the slimmest volume of the 19 Inspector Lynley books. The page count seems to jump from the 400s to over 700 at about book 7, with b
Feb 10, 2015 Lobo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mivel a krimi koronázatlan királynője angol volt, a szigetországban egész nagy múltja van a bűnügyi regényeknek és sok neves írónőt foglalkoztat a téma. Nálunk kicsit kevesebben jelengettek meg, talán mert jobban el lehet adni a pergősebb, keményebb, feszesebb amerikai tempót, amit főleg férfiak diktálnak. Holott Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Patricia Highsmith és Elizabeth George eléggé jelentős életművel rendelkeznek, amelyből itthon szinte csak a töredékét ismerjük. De most a legutóbbi jelent meg ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in Elizabeth George’s Lynley-Havers series and it is the first of her book that I’ve read. The book opens up with a priest making his way to Scotland Yard to present details of a gruesome murder in his village. Roberta is found sitting in her family’s barn with an axe and the body of her dead dog and her decapitated father. Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers are dispatched to Keldale to investigate the murder.

George’s writing wonderfully captured the intr
Kris - My Novelesque Life
While working at the bookstore I noticed the author Elizabeth George in our mystery section. As we were not allowed to really do anything but tidy I would rebel by reading the synopsis on book jackets. I became intrigued by the main characters - Inspector Lynley and Sargent Havers. Thomas Lynley is part of the upper class of society, wealthy and very handsome. Barbara Havers is from the working class side of London, living at home with her elderly and ill parents, and is an outsider in general. ...more
Jul 24, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books-read
I have been a fan of the Thomas Lynley books, and before I read the newest one, I decided to return to the beginning of the series. I assumed I'd read all of them. If I ever read this first book in the series, I have absolutely no recollection of it. Aside from introducing two of the most interesting (and flawed) characters, Thomas Lynley, and Barbara Havers, the story was gripping. Thomas Lynley is sent to a small village to investigate the gruesome murder of a farmer. Barbara Havers, a failed ...more
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Looking for other similar authors 8 31 Nov 02, 2015 07:13PM  
Abridged audioboook - why? 4 29 Sep 21, 2013 02:35PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Great Deliverance 1 1 Aug 19, 2013 01:48PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Great Deliverance 1 2 Jan 22, 2012 05:44AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels, featuring her character Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

She was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to the S
More about Elizabeth George...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, #4)
  • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)
  • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, #6)
  • Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, #7)
  • In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, #8)
  • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)
  • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, #10)
  • A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)

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“He had never thought of himself as much of a praying man, but as he sat in the car in the growing darkness and the minutes passed, he knew what it was to pray. It was to will goodness out of evil, hope out of despair, life out of death. It was to will dreams into existence and spectres into reality. It was to will an end to anguish and a beginning to joy.” 31 likes
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