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A Suitable Vengeance
Elizabeth George
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A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley #4)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,306 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart. Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, has brought to Howenstow, his family home, the young woman he has ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 653 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Magna Large Print Books (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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
A Suitable Vengeance is the fourth of the Lynley-Havers series by Elizabeth George, however, it deals with events that happened prior to the very first book of the series, A Great Deliverance. It has plenty of background for Lynley fans and also reveals a great deal of the Lynley family history. Unfortunately DS Havers plays only a cameo role which is a shame because she would have brought a touch of reality to a highly melodramatic tale. Previous books have hinted at some sort of a triangle bet ...more
un tranquillo weekend de paura (attenzione svelo una trama!!)
Non lo faccio mai, ma questa volta mi sembra di fare un servizio sociale: vi racconto cosa succede così potere rispamiarvi di leggerlo e potete passare agli altri della George (se vi piacciono i suoi gialli che non sono malaccio) senza questa menata che anticipa le storie dei protagonisti in un insieme di drammi, insensatezze, bachi nel racconto,personaggi intelligentissimi che diventano scemi per necessità della storia,ipocrisie masch
I enjoyed reading A Suitable Vengeance. It is the first book that I've read by Elizabeth George and upon doing a little research, I find that it actually provides some backstory to her first book in the series. I read this for my Mystery Discussion Group and am anxious to take part in that discussion next week. Deborah Cotter is returning to England after 3 years of attending college in America. She announces her engagement to Tommy Lynley, much to the consternation of Simon St. James who has be ...more
Still not sure quite what to make of these. I didn't realise that this was a prequel, and it's a while since I read the previous book, so I was totally confused by the relationships (having a memory of a marriage from a previous novel which doesn't fit this story). I find Deborah, and her two suitors, irritating, which is a pity as you are obviously meant to throw yourself into the tale of unrequited/possibly-to-be-requited love one way or the other), and I really don't warm to the idea of such ...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?
Sep 01, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book is the 4th in the author's Inspector Lynley series, a fan-site had recommended I read it before all the others. I have read her later novels, but this takes me back to the beginning, bringing the history of Lynley and his friend Simon St. James and their very complex-relationship into focus. So, I am happy to have read this for background I could only have guessed at. This story has the Inspector returning to his childhood home to introduce his fiancé to his mother. What follo ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
"A Suitable Vengeance" takes an interesting approach to this series, in that it's a flashback going back to some of the early relationship-defining experiences of the main characters. After the stronger "Well-Schooled in Murder," it's a bit disappointing though. While the mystery is again strong with some really nice twists, the soap-style drama gets to be a little much this time. I like the fact that Lynley and his crew are being developed as characters, but we're falling into the same trap tha ...more
Laura Stevens
Aug 31, 2015 Laura Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, the fourth book in Eliz. George's Inspector Lynley series is terrific. A murder in Cornwall that an innocent man confesses to, another death and another murder all rack up points in proving this to be one of the best crime stories in the series(so far). But this time lynley's family may be involved in the crime and that makes all the difference. Does Lynley cover for his relative, or does he uphold the law. And is Simon St. James' family involved too. Where does his alliegence lie? The one ...more
Nancy (essayist)
Jul 04, 2014 Nancy (essayist) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
Elizabeth George finally allows us to see Inspector Lynley at his ancestral home in "A Suitable Vengeance." But while we do learn more in this book about Lynley's family history, the story really centers on the inspector's best friend, Simon St. James. That was fine with me, as Simon is an even more compelling to me than Lynley himself. This book also breaks the narrative timeline, going back to explore Lynley's life before he was partnered with Barbra Havers. (I'd have to say that I didn't real ...more
Neill Smith
Aug 09, 2015 Neill Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Deborah Cotter, daughter of St. James' houseman and one time love of St. James, returned from her three year photographic expedition to the United States, it was Lynley who picked her up at the airport. Unknown to many, Lynley had been regularly visiting her in the States and they were about to announce an impending marriage much to St. James' chagrin. But the trip to Lynley's family estate of which he was the eighth earl was complicated by addictions, murder, drug trafficking, and age old ...more
ML Barnes
May 08, 2014 ML Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book in George’s long-running Inspector Lynley series. Inspector Lynley is the eighth earl of Asherton and an inspector with Scotland Yard. I most enjoy these stories because of the intricate plotting. The author always has several plates spinning and in A Suitable Vengeance, we are provided with in-depth views of the complex relationships between and among the Inspector, his lover, co-workers, family and friends. Added to that, just try to follow the investigation of the murd ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart. (Amazon review) Wasn't her best, & some of the writing not so good - ie tommy & simon are best friends but tommy always calls simon "st james" but he in turn always calls lynly by his first name. - weird. you really don ...more
Tim Kimber
Entertaining whodunit, skillfully crafted with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing to the conclusion.

Meanwhile, tensions rise in a love-triangle of old friends, and the protagonist's family threatens to be torn apart by a gruesome murder in the village.

My only gripe is Inspector Lynley himself, who's just not interesting enough to carry the book. Thankfully, the other characters are, especially Simon St James, the crippled forensic scientist in love with Lynley's betrothed.

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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.” 9 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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