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Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley #1)

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  32,532 Ratings  ·  1,395 Reviews
Fat, unlovely Roberta Teys is found beside her father's headless corpse, wearing her best dress and with an axe in her lap. Her first words are: 'I did it and I am not sorry' and she refuses to say more. Inspector Thomas Lynley and DS Barbara Havers are sent by Scotland Yard to solve this particularly gruesome murder.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 1988)
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StefanieFreigericht No. I actually started with "Playing for the Ashes". But some parts are to be understood better if you follow the correct order as the characters…moreNo. I actually started with "Playing for the Ashes". But some parts are to be understood better if you follow the correct order as the characters develop.(less)
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Phrynne
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
This is a series I have been meaning to start for ages and I am so glad I have got around to it at last! This book is great! It has everything I like in a mystery.
1. A really attractive, talented, charismatic main character who knows exactly what he is doing. And so far he does not appear to be an alcoholic or have any other unappealing trait as most MCs in crime books do these days. (although as this book was written in 1988 nearly everyone smokes all the time)
2. Due also to the date it was wri
...more
Christine
This is a novel that had been sitting on my tbr list for some time. Though the idea of picking it up really peaked my interest, I think the fact that a number of books in the series are quite long put me off. Since I’m retired, I finally figured if I was ever going to read long books, now’s the time.

This is a terrific British tale, surprisingly written by an American author. Elizabeth George is a wonderful writer. Her prose is reminiscent of old-time British writing, though not as stilted. Ever
...more
Margitte
OFFICIAL BLURB
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
...more
Eve
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lewis Weinstein
UPDATE 2/1/17 ...

I found "A Great Deliverance" as outstanding on second read as I did the first time around. My 5***** rating remains unchanged.

George's ability to present an evolving and developing character is outstanding for any genre, but even more so for a mystery story, where character is often far subordinate to plot. This is especially true of the characters who continue in George's series but also for the the main one-off's. We don't ever get it all at once, but in pieces, each one add
...more
Icewineanne
A 61 yr old farmer lies in his barn, brutally murdered, his head chopped off......the head lying a few yards from the body, where it had rolled after being severed. His grossly obese daughter sits beside his headless body, seated on a stool, holding the bloody axe that killed him and says “I did it. I’m not sorry.” Or did she......?

Two unlikely detectives from New Scotland Yard are paired together to solve the case. Inspector 'Lord Asherton’ Lynley is a wealthy upper class handsome man, while Se
...more
Richard Derus
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Nicole
Mixed feelings on this one.
Lynley and Havers are fascinating characters, complex and marvelously well-drawn (except for one somewhat gratuitous 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-hea
...more
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
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
...more
Anuradha
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
...more
Jennifer
Mar 29, 2012 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
...more
James
Sep 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lisa
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jude
Apr 08, 2008 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."

George
...more
Larry Bassett
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
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
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - I picked up this mystery because Elizabeth George is one of the authors that had escaped me over the years. Too many authors and not enough time.

I knew next to nothing about this series and didn't know what to expect for characters, locale or time frame. What I got was a murder mystery with wonderfully complex, well-drawn, yet flawed main characters in Lynley and Havers. I enjoyed the contrast between aristocratic Lynley paired with chip-on-her-shoulder, working class Havers. They e
...more
Marie-Jo Fortis
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Aleshanee
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimi
4.5 Sterne für den zweiten Band der Lynley Reihe!

Weiter gehts mit dem re-read der Inspektor Lynley Reihe :)
Der erste Band war ja noch ein bisschen verhalten und viel mit persönlichen Konflikten gespickt - jetzt im zweiten stand der Mordfall schon sehr viel mehr im Vordergrund.

Natürlich ist auch Thomas Lynleys Beziehung zu seiner Ex-Verlobten und seinen Freunden immer präsent, aber endlich tritt auch Barbara Havers auf den Plan. Sie wurde im Dienst zurückgestuft, weil sie mit keinem der anderen
...more
Panda Incognito
Surely a great next step in my exploration of the mystery genre would be to read a book by the great Elizabeth George, right? Nope.

This was the most atrocious book I have ever read. The novel started off badly enough, with no central character's journey to follow and a series of disjointed, head-hopping scenes. About halfway through, the story started to pull together, but we'd still take lurching jaunts off into the utterly boring and irrelevant backstory and activities of minor characters who
...more
Nikki Nielsen
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lobstergirl
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
Anastasia
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2013
3.5/5

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
...more
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dorothy
May 09, 2016 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
...more
Koen Kop
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
" The woman stared. She was exactly the type who always reduced him to blithering idiocy. At least six feet tall, dressed in that wonderfully insouciant mismatch of clothing so characteristic of the British upper classes, she was ageless, timeless, (...)" (page 1)

" She'd swept into the carriage in Doncaster, (...) and for the remainder of the trip she had alternated between imbibing the railway's foul-smelling and tepid coffee and staring at him with a disapproval that shouted Church of England
...more
Donna
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intense.....

I'm late in discovering Elizabeth George - this book out almost 30 years ago.

Really great character development, good pace to the book, and increasing intensity that drove me to the pretty awful ending to the story.

I will definitely read more in the series.
Jamie Collins
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
...more
Michele
Jun 02, 2012 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
Suzy
Aug 16, 2014 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
...more
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Mystery Madness: 10/18 Whodunits Pick: A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George 1 2 May 23, 2018 07:04AM  
Looking for other similar authors 8 43 Nov 02, 2015 07:13PM  
Abridged audioboook - why? 4 29 Sep 21, 2013 02:35PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Great Deliverance 1 2 Aug 19, 2013 01:48PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Great Deliverance 1 2 Jan 22, 2012 05:44AM  
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2,907 followers
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
More about Elizabeth George

Other books in the series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 20 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.” 32 likes
“buying gunk for her hair.” 0 likes
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