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A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley #4)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  10,434 Ratings  ·  328 Reviews
A Suitable Vengeance
Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by Bantam (first published 1991)
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Rick Corretjer I saw you asked this question almost 8 months ago and may have found the answer. Volume #4, A Suitable Vengeance, is a pre-quel to Volume #1 and…moreI saw you asked this question almost 8 months ago and may have found the answer. Volume #4, A Suitable Vengeance, is a pre-quel to Volume #1 and that's why the relationships are out of order. Hope this helps.(less)

Community Reviews

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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 09, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
I do like Elizabeth George's style, and her way with a mystery, but this novel epitomizes everything in her Lynley series I find the most irritating. This particular book is set before the first in the series, A Great Deliverance. Which means it's Lynley without Havers. Havers only has a very brief appearance here, more a cameo, late in the book, two appearances less than a page each and a couple of mentions.

That leaves us with Thomas Lynley, Lord Asherton, up to his family manor Howenstow in C
Elizabeth George creates a strange universe where an assault and attempted rape (boyfriend on girlfriend) is viewed by a bevy of bystanders (all acquaintances or relatives of the pair) who bring it to a stop, but then some aristocratic code of silence (they are "all too self-servingly well-bred") prevents them from ever mentioning it, or bringing it to the attention of law enforcement - even though it happens on property owned by a Scotland Yard inspector - or attempting to file charges. In this ...more
A Suitable Vengeance is the fourth book in Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series, but chronologically it occurs years before the first three. In it we see the main characters much younger and gain far more insight into the tangled relationships of Lynley, Deborah, and St. James. Given how much those relationships make me want to shake each one of the players hard, this was my least favorite so far. The mystery itself was interesting, but bizarre in a way that did not redeem the book. I did ...more
Toni Osborne
The story is very complex, one that explains the background of several characters of this Inspector Lynley mystery series .After reading the 3 first books I had trouble with the sequences of events regarding the characters things seem to be out of synch. I was trying to remember what happened to them previously and I found it conflicted with the way they are presented now. The plot in my view is a bit flat, it starts out interesting enough but it drags on and on. The characters are self -absorbe ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Phil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When you're reading a whodunnit and the crime doesn't appear until after page 100, you should take the hint that maybe it isn't the right book for you.

I've read a few other Elizabeth George books and knew that Lynley was a bit of a simp and his friend St. James wasn't really much better, but this book exaggerated those annoying qualities to such a degree that portions were nearly unreadable. The mystery, once it got going, was adequate. Unfortunately the Harlequin-style writing buried the fun un
Technically, this fourth entry in the Inspector Lynley series is a prequel, taking place about a year before the events of the first novel, “A Great Deliverance.” Realistically though, this book is placed exactly where it needs to be in the series. After the bombshell that Deborah Cotter St. James laid on her husband, Simon, at the end of the previous book, Elizabeth George takes us back just far enough to get a real understanding of the original dynamics that led every character to that last po ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Oct 10, 2015 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
If the reader could get past the guilt complexes of the main characters, there is probably a good mystery here.....but 3/4 of the narrative deals with the guilt of unrequited love, guilt over minor incidents from the past, guilt over adultery, guilt over physical infirmities and just plain guilt over anything you choose. It made me feel guilty reading about it.

This is a prequel to the DI Thomas Linley/Simon St. James series that attempts to explain the relationships of the main characters. There
Meg Hannah
Aug 06, 2009 Meg Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie Collins
This was a decent murder mystery, but mostly it's a soap opera starring Lynley and his friends and family, set on his family estate in Cornwall. This book is a prequel, covering events that occurred several years before the first book in this series, so you already know how all of the drama is going to be resolved.

Havers only appears briefly, in a couple of unflattering scenes.

I find that I like Lady Helen more and more, and that I rather dislike Deborah.

I can't say there was anything extraordi
Jun 26, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. More of a relationship story, with murder and crime mixed in. I have read her books with The two dectectives, Havers and McPherson but they only had small parts in this one. Thomas Lindly of CID, falls in love with a woman who grew up in his best friends household, it is when he takes her home to mom, for an engagement party weekend and his brother shows up, things start to happen.....
aPriL does feral sometimes

The game is afoot! Wait, wrong movie. In fact, everything is awry in this 4th book in the Lynley/Havers mystery series. Why is Lord Asherton, Thomas Lynley, Eighth Earl and Detective Inspector of CID, not at center stage as the lead protagonist in this story? He’s a bit offstage, instead of being the one who is in the game for most of the book. Instead, it appears to be mostly forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James who is following up on clues. Where is Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers? Sh
Feb 10, 2015 Megargee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although Suitable Vengeance is the fourth Inspector Thomas Lynley novel published, it concerns events that occurred before A Great Deliverance, the first of the series published. In reviewing that book, I noted that there was more than enough material in the various characters' back stories to support a prequel, and here it is.
Suitable Vengeance focuses on the complex relationships among Lynley, Eighth Earl of Ashemore, his long time friend, the crippled forensic scientist Simon St. James, an
Kathy Davie
Mar 29, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Fourth (publication-wise) in the Inspector Lynley mystery series set in modern-day London, A Suitable Vengeance is so incredibly well titled as vengeance abounds throughout the story. Tommy’s anger with his mother, Deb’s anger with Simon, Peter’s anger with Tommy, Justin and Mick’s actions, Sidney’s emotions, Mark’s activities…it’s endless.

The Chronology of the Series
A Suitable Vengeance is, chronologically, first in the series as it tells the tale of Deborah’s return from school in America with
Aug 21, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This fourth entry into the Thomas Lynley series is actually a "prequel." The first book in the series, A Great Deliverance, starts with the wedding of Deborah Cotter and Simon St. James. This story explains a great deal of the back story. Thomas Lynley and Deborah Cotter are newly engaged. Lynley takes his fiance home to Cornwall to meet his mother from whom he is estranged. His brother Peter, a cocaine addict, and his girl friend are also in residence, and St. James and Helen Clyde also attend ...more
Mar 02, 2012 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally we find out what is behind the Thomas Linley's sadness, Deborah and Simon's odd reactions to Tommy. This prequel to the series also discusses Tommy's Father,Mother,brother and his mother's lover. The sad history of his family affects Tommy and makes him the kind of detective that has empathy and insight--the kind that can solve mysteries that others can't. The murder mystery in this book revolves around Tommy's brother Peter, Simon's sister Sidney and each brothers desire to protect thei ...more
Apr 10, 2008 Jaime rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 14, 2012 Jeni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a little of an adjustment to go back in time to before the Lynley/Havers duo came to be, and untangling the different relationships to back to the "beginning" was a little complicated. I mean, do most people have this much drama & unspoken feelings between the same 4-6 people? And knowing how things end up later on kind of took the suspense out of "will she end up with the right guy?" But other than that, I thought this book was on par with the others in the series. And now, back to o ...more
Donna Mcnab
Aug 10, 2014 Donna Mcnab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The murder of Mick Cambrey certainly does appear to be a "suitable vengeance" when he is found in his home dead from head wounds, but also castrated. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, aka the 8th Earl of Asherton, just happens to be visiting his estate close to the murder site. Although he isn't part of the investigation, he becomes involved due to the actions of his brother, Peter. There is a lot of angst in this book, as in most of Elizabeth George's books, but her back stories are always so ...more
Sep 21, 2009 Solarpowered rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a snooze-fest. The characters that were so interesting in the first three books are made out to be weak and self-absorbed. Havers is such an interesting character and she hardly makes an appearance in this book. As for the mystery - it was really drawn out and dull. When I read her first three novels I found I could not put them down. I actually have to force myself to pick this one up. I'm not sure I want to continue on to the fifth. Is it worth it?
This book gives the background of the relationships among Lynley, St. James, Deborah and Lady Helen. The mystery is almost secondary and I had some trouble believing that the secrets causing people to be murdered could go unnoticed in a small village. I missed Sargent Havers in this story, but Lynley and St. James also make a good team.

Unabridged. Read by Donada Peters.

4* - A Great Deliverance (1988)
3* - Payment in Blood (1989)
4* - Well-Schooled in Murder (1990)
3* - A Suitable Vengeance (1991)
Jan 06, 2017 Mari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very intriguing writing style and a mystery novelist worth checking out more.

That said, it's more the promise of what could be, rather than what IS in this novel, that would keep me going. I think most of the reviews for this one summarize what I felt, and it's interesting that the book series is chronologically out of order so I sort of happened on "the right one" in terms of, I would have been super annoyed to know from the beginning who ends up with who considering how angsty it all is.

I wo
Georgia Roybal
Dec 26, 2016 Georgia Roybal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always Elizabeth George has written an engaging and interesting mystery that is hard to put down once you have started reading it. This one takes place at an engagement party in an upper class English home and involves two detectives. Some of their family members are implicated in a murder that seems to be related to a drug smuggling operation. The book has some harrowing scenes about the effects of drug abuse on families. Once again, George keeps you guessing until the end; in this case, how ...more
Linda Earl
Oct 27, 2016 Linda Earl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing book

If you're an Inspector Lynley fan, you will not be able to put this book down. Elizabeth George is quite the story teller. And, if you're unfamiliar with her mysteries, this book is a very good place to start!
Gina Boyd
Poor Tommy.

But I can't love one of these stories without Havers, and this one is sort of a prequel, so Havers barely shows up.
Nov 06, 2016 Momruns5 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Nice to read the backstory of these characters.
Jan 13, 2017 Aleshanee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimi
Rezi kommt noch ...
Jan 07, 2017 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery, a bit long-winded, but I liked it.
Even though this is book 4 of the Inspector Lynley series, it is actually a prequel taking place before the first novel. In addition to a decent mystery, readers will get some answers about the relationships that have been presented and evolving in the series. At novel's opening, Lynley is engage to Deborah who has just returned from 3 years in the U.S. studying photography. She hasn't spoken to Simon during these 3 years and their relationship is strained--largely because what started out as a ...more
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2-3-4 Challenge B...: * A Suitable Vengeance 21 10 Oct 22, 2016 12:35AM  
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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)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • 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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“She thought about how it was so simple with animals. They gave their hearts without question or fear. They had no expectations. They were so easy to love. If people could only be like that, no one would ever be hurt, she thought. No one would ever need to learn how to forgive.” 12 likes
“He might well have gone on to bow with a flourish had not the precarious position of his codpiece precluded any sudden movement.” 0 likes
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