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Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley #3)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,941 Ratings  ·  368 Reviews
When thirteen-year-old Matthew Whately goes missing from Bredgar Chambers, a prestigious public school in the heart of West Sussex, aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley receives a call for help from the lad's housemaster, who also happens to be an old school chum. Thus, the inspector, his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, and forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Bantam (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Jan 30, 2012 Mary Gilligan-Nolan rated it really liked it
This is a series I can't believe I resisted reading for so long. My sister recommended Elizabeth George many years ago and I could not get past the first few pages. I can't understand why now, I love her and want to read everything she has written. This is a story about a murder at a posh boarding school, a thirteen year old boy is murdered and his body is dumped in a graveyard, some distance from the school. It turns out, it is Simon St. James' wife, Deborah, who finds the body, as she is there ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Oh my. I'm still catching my breath. I think I stopped breathing about 7 times in the days it took me to finish 'Well-schooled in Murder'. That's about how often I thought the killer was going to be unmasked, only to discover, along with Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers of New Scotland Yard CID, that we all were wrong again. Oh, the crimes and criminals and secrets were being exposed as fast and furious as a hail storm - but not the murderer of a 13-year-ol ...more
Richard Derus
Jul 25, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Book Report: Inspector Thomas Lynley is called to a snobby uppercrust English school by his Old Etonian pal, now a schoolmaster in the place, to investigate the disappearance of scholarship boy Matthew Whately. All too soon comes the moment when the disappearance becomes a murder investigation thanks to the discovery of little Mattie's body in the churchyard containing Thomas Gray's tomb, by none other than Lynley's formerly beloved Deborah who is now wife to Lynley's cr
Kate Nothem
Apr 25, 2012 Kate Nothem rated it really liked it
Elizabeth George delivers a good mystery once again! I love how each of the books has built on the central characters, in this one I felt especially close to BOTH Sergeant Havers and Lynley as they were dealing with equally distressing events in their personal lives. I learned a lot more about Deborah and St. James and also sympathized with them. As for the mystery, it was a great 'whodunit'. I thought for sure I knew who the murderer would be and I was thrilled to be wrong! The twists that came ...more
Nov 08, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well and densely plotted, but the cameos of the lower classes, as usual, grate. And how believable is it that (non-fundamentalist) marriages come to the brink of destruction because someone fails to disclose a teenage abortion they had? Really, in 1991? Elizabeth George can't seem to resist these anachronisms, and Deborah and Simon St. James never add anything interesting to the plots.
Jul 19, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
There are just not that many people who can write this type of mystery, so I treasure the ones who do. Plots and characters and dark secrets. I've already forgotten who the murderer was, but who cares?
Elizabeth George may write this book, but the first five sentences of J. D. Robb’s “Reunion in Death” describe the alpha and the omega of this work more succinctly than anything I can manufacture:

“Murder was work. Death was a serious chore for the killer, the victim, for the survivors. And for those who stood for the dead. Some went about the job devotedly, others carelessly. And for some, murder was a labor of love.”

And as you read this book, it all comes down to how one defines murder and how
Feb 14, 2014 Nolan rated it it was amazing
This is one of the somewhat earlier books in the Inspector Tommy Lynley
series, and it's excellent on a variety of levels. Not only will the main
plot keep you reading and wondering, but the subplots are interesting,
too. In fact, I often complain a little about the length of these
Elizabeth George books, but not so this one.

Lynley has been called to a boarding school rich in tradition. A
13-year-old boy has been murdered, and his tortured body has been
unceremoniously dumped in a churchyard. It's up
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 02, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery Lovers
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Jungle Kitty
In terms of pure mystery story this is top-notch and as I've found up to date with Elizabeth George, well-crafted and a pleasure to read. The resolution wasn't Christie gasp-worthy, but not only did this keep me guessing to the end, the solution when it came clicked like a key in the lock. In that regard, I'd say this novel is stronger than the first two Lynley mysteries, even if not as moving as the first.

I also enjoyed a glimpse into the workings of an English upper-crust school along the lin
Kathy Davie
Mar 22, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Third in the Inspector Lynley mystery series set in modern-day London, the title is particularly apt as the old school tie rears its ugly head---there must be a middle ground! The very promising future of Matthew Whately was trashed…for such stupid reasons. The bullying, the code of silence, the contradiction of the school motto and it all comes down to…basics. Lynley is especially tormented about school loyalties: he owes Corntel. How can he expect these children to make the right decisions whe ...more
Mar 07, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I was actually really impressed with this book. The murder mystery itself wasn't necessarily very novel or unique (and near the end it gave in to one of the old hack tricks -- where each character in turn is accused of being the murderer, only to spill a clue which leads to the accusation of the next character), and it was also a little unpleasant at times (not only did it deal with a rather graphic and unpleasant crime, but all of the characters had pretty miserable incidents in their lives -- ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: serial-mystery, 2014
If you love a real good mystery set in England, you'll love the third installment of the Inspector Lynley series. When a student is gone missing from a school, it's up to New Scotland Yard to send out their very best. And when Matthew Whateley turns up dead, then it's become a serious matter between them all. For Havers, who have some family issues to contend with at home, it's up to her and Lynley to talk to everyone involved with Matthew's life at home and in school. The closer they get to kno ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
I rated this as "really liked it" for the quality of the writing, not for the gruesome topic of child torture and murder. George has a deft hand with detail, sometimes too much, but the images make her work come alive. She has interesting plot twists in this one. The relationship between Inspector Lynley, so well portrayed on Tv, and Sergeant Havers is, for me, a rich addition to the story, as we perceive how their different backgrounds influence their actions and interactions. The inspector is ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Went back to a book in the Lynley series that I missed (should go back and re-read them in order, but that applies to a number of series...). This is the third book and probably one of the best. Lynley and Havers are very much the odd couple, learning to know and work with each other, and a lot of development goes on with these and the other main characters. The story is of a boy, pupil at a well-renowned school, found brutally murdered. The stories of the people around him and the investigation ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Mundi rated it really liked it
As a Detective Lynley and Sergeant Havers fan, this is one of the more interesting and well-woven plots. Twists and shimmies, and unexpected dead-ends, and every time you think you have guessed 'who', the road rounds another bend and what you thought was motive is once again redirected.
Always engaging, and always memorable, sometimes hauntingly so, the entire Lynley series is worth checking out if you enjoy your detective novels.
Joan Colby
Jan 05, 2016 Joan Colby rated it really liked it
. While I have seen the Inspector Lynley series on TV over time, I had never read the books that inspired them until now. This one is quite spellbinding in both back story of Lynley and his sergeant Havers as well as a complicated plot. I’ll definitely read more of Elizabeth George’s oeuvre.
Cathy Brennan
Aug 03, 2014 Cathy Brennan rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth George never disappoints! If you like a good mystery with characters you can care about and lots of twists and turns to work through you can't go wrong!
This is the third book in the Inspector Lynley/Barbara Havers series. When the naked body of a schoolboy is found in a graveyard near a top prep school, Inspector Thomas Lynley is contacted by an old school chum from his days at Eton, who is now the master at the school. The boy was an outsider, from a working class background, and foul play is suspected. Lynley and Sergeant Havers head an investigation into the murder and encounter nothing but silence as the boy 19s band together as part of the ...more
Alex Roma
Jan 17, 2016 Alex Roma rated it really liked it
This is the second Inspector Lynley novel that I've read (I don't read them in any particular order--the first one I read was book 10) and geeze, she really doesn't mind taking her cases to that dark place. I'm not complaining, it's sort of bold of her to do so. In this case, a thirteen year old boy named Matthew Whateley goes missing from a prestigious independent school, Bredgar Chambers and his body turns up shortly thereafter, naked and covered in burns, in the distant Stoke Pogues. Question ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Katie rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
As a mystery, this book was fine. A little slow to start, but by the end, I was definitely caught up in the mystery. Right up until the end, George keeps you guessing as to who the murder suspect was - and why they did it. I haven't read any of the Lynley novels before - not sure what back story I missed by starting with book 3 (books 1 and 2 weren't available at the library), but it didn't seem to really affect the meat of the story.

That said, I had a lot of problems with the overarching tones
Mar 04, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I really enjoyed 'what came before he shot her' and so snatched this one up when I saw it on the bookshelf here at the Albright. George is even better than I remember! I want to start from the beginning of the Lynley series....

What I like the most about George, having read the third and the fourteenth in the series, is her flexibility and versatility as an author. While I cannot speak to the veracity of her portrait of class and the British aristocracy, she captures the 'code' of the elite board
Jan 03, 2016 Devika rated it really liked it
My first introduction to Elizabeth George and her Inspector Lynley was a good one.

What I liked:

The tangled web of the plotline: It's been a while since I read such an intricate crime story, with the detective having to follow up and eliminate so many solid leads. The story took a while to develop and get me hooked, but it was worth it.

The back stories of even the most minor characters: I love how she fleshed out each character, from the parents of the murdered child to the family of Sergeant Hav
Feb 19, 2014 Becky rated it it was amazing
Ok. So the title is a little hokey, but don't let that keep you from picking up the third installment of George's Inspector Lynley series. This is my favorite so far in the series--especially after not enjoying the second installment as much as the first.

The main mystery plot in itself is thrilling with lots of twists and turns. It kept me guessing until the end, and I was gratified when my suspicion was confirmed instead of feeling annoyed that I'd figured it out like I have with other authors/
Aug 07, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it
A student at an exclusive school is missing and one of the housemasters asks his old Eton schoolmate, Thomas Lynley for his help. Lynley is inclined to step away from the investigation until the missing boy's body is found tortured and murdered near a small church miles away from the school. This is an excellent examination of how honor codes and loyalty to friends and institutions can go badly wrong. On the personal front, Lynley is in agony over Helen's decision to leave England in order to ha ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it
This mystery had a lot of twists and turns. I didn't really figure out the murderer till just before the end. However, there were so many suspects and all seemed equally likely to have done it. Therefore, I do not feel bad for not figuring it out sooner.
The book gives a view into British private boarding schools. Always nice to see how the other half educates their young.
Jul 21, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This one marks the point where the Lynley series has started to become addictive. George can write a really solid mystery and the "why" of her crimes tends to be just as interesting as the "who." The continuing interpersonal drama of the main characters can get a tad soapy, but is still pretty compelling on the whole.
Feb 26, 2015 Barb rated it it was amazing
It contains the phrase “and bob’s-your-uncle” which makes it one of the best books ever!
Leora Williams
Jul 22, 2015 Leora Williams rated it it was amazing
Great "whodunit". Complicated with lots of characters with possible motive.
Jun 09, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Great writing, intriguing plot and well-developed characters.
Dec 15, 2014 Megargee rated it really liked it
The third in George's Lynley/Havers, this dark and densely plotted novel takes place at a coed English boarding school where a young boy thought to have run away is found dead in a church yard miles away by none other than Deborah St. James. At the request of Inspector Lynley's Eton classmate, now a master at the school, Lynley and Havers investigate. In the process they discover a number of deep undercurrents among faculty, staff and students and even the students' parents involving sadism, pe ...more
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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)
  • A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1)
  • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)
  • 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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“People, give up on all sorts of things, Havers. But they rarely if ever give up on love.” 2 likes
“Crumbs and salt sequined the front of her pullover.” 0 likes
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