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A Suitable Vengeance

(Inspector Lynley #4)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  14,012 ratings  ·  536 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 ha ...more
Paperback, 449 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Bantam (first published 1991)
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C. What a peculiar reaction to change! Nancy Atherton did the same with her second novel, sheer originality that fills us in on a back story that is refe…moreWhat a peculiar reaction to change! Nancy Atherton did the same with her second novel, sheer originality that fills us in on a back story that is referred to and develops into the future. Some folks didn't appreciate that gift and daring either; to break a mundane mystery formula. "A Suitable Vengeance" is a story for fans; not merely an episode of solving crimes.

It takes a few novels to acquaint and fall in love with the characters. Now that we have, we are rewarded with a look at how relationship issues between Helen, Thomas and his family, Deborah's, and Simon's came to be. We carry on with their series and understand them infinitely better. And it happens that the mysteries of this novel are excellent.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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 that'…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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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Aug 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Wow, there's only one interesting mystery about this book and it is: WHERE HAS MY REVIEW GONE?

2 days ago it was here on GR, black and white, and now it's just gone without a trace.


Question is, could the Lynley and Havers duo solve the crime?

Possibly, but only after 400 pages of

- mind numbing navel-gazing and self-absorption
- all kinds of relationship-angst that could credit at least 4 YA novels
- immature behaviour in their relationships to other, very unappealing and uninteresting people.
Nov 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Seriously you guys. I hard shrugged this book throughout. Why George decided to throw out a book that shows events that took place before the first book in the series baffles me. Also there's just a look at Havers and that's it. I cannot read a whole book following Lynley and St. James again. My head was done in. Also the casual way that everyone reacted when a character was almost raped just made my jaw drop. Also the plot line following who murdered several people and why was beyond convoluted ...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
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Randi Annie Framnes
When journalist Mick Cambrey is found dead, castrated, local opinion is that he got what was coming to him. Inspector Lynley of Scotland Yard investigates the murder in his hometown Howenstow where he knows everybody from his childhood. As the investigation proceeds another murder occurs.

A Suitable Vengance is the fourth book by Elizabeth George about Inspector Lynley and I listened to an audio edition of it published by Bantam Audio Publishing of 1991. I jumped right into A Suitable Vengance an
Toni Osborne
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have appreciated Elizabeth George’s talent, skill, and creativity from the beginning and collect her softcovers and hardcovers with pleasure. Crime mysteries are not the type I favour. But we acquaint her characters so well as family, who go to work in professional capacities and who all have good hearts; that I enjoy this perspective. I am so much a fan of the Thomas Lynley series, I loved this personal story filling in events six years prior. Some readers complained about the shift in direct ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Confusion sets in quickly as nowhere on the book cover, or any dates in the text indicate that this the fourth book in the 'Inspector Lynley' series, is set way back before the first book 'A Great Deliverance'. Having figured that out despair quickly set in.

The triangle of Lynley, St James and Deborah is so tedious and downright uninteresting, it seems the height of desperation to spend almost 300 pages waffling on and on about them. Previous books have of course referred to their tangled pasts,
Jill Hutchinson
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
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
Azita Rassi
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The more I read Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley books, the better I like her works. Looking forward to the next volume.
May 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like to read about vicars and codpieces.
So, ahem, maybe quinine isn't such a great cure-all? If you read the paperback version (Bantam Trade 2007) skip the author's "Acknowledgements" printed up front, before the novel begins. It contains the solution to a couple of the book's subplots. AND, what SHOULD have been up front (that this is a prequel to George's first Lynley novel) isn't. But these issues are rather minor.
CAST - 1 star: In the first 3 volumes, it's clear Detective Havers doesn't like Ly
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, serial-mystery
In Elizabeth George's A Suitable Vengeance, the 4th installment in the Inspector Lynley Mystery series, this novel deals with hard-core topics that went straight to the jugular. It all started when Lynley announced his engagement to Deborah Cotter and brought her home. At the time of the merry celebration, his brother Peter storms into the festivities with his girlfriend. He haven't seen him in years. Meanwhile, Nancy Chambrey discovers her husband Mick's dead body in his office and calls for he ...more
Lise Petrauskas
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Oh geez, I wish I’d known this was a prequel before I sprung for it on audible. George just plods along in this book, apparently confident that we readers want to hear the super detailed emotional ups and downs of these upper class folk, which was super boring because the whole thing was a foregone conclusion! Definitely not her best effort. Without Barbara Havers, the whole crowd seems shallow and overly similar, a fact which is driven home by George’s relentless attempts to prove that her char ...more
Kathy Davie
Mar 29, 2011 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
Sep 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
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? ...more
A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George. (Inspector Lynley, #4)

There is so much in this one book that to review it by bringing just some of the highlights to the surface will take some doing. Let me begin by saying anything falling simply as one would expect into place does not exist within these pages. Relationships-the building up and tearing down of lives does.

Deborah Cotter has returned from three years abroad in the States. Her engagement to Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley will be formal
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
This was the 4th book by Elizabeth George I have read.

The murder mystery was interesting but it was somewhat overwhelmed by the romantic plots sourced in the tensions between the main characters Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (the 8th Earl of Asherton), his best friend Simon St.James (a forensic scientist) and the woman they both love (Deborah Cotter, a professional photographer).

In addition to the relationships between Deborah, Simon and Tommy there is also tension between Tommy and his bro
Rosario (
A Suitable Vengeance is next in the series in order of publication, but it actually takes place some years before the rest of the series. Lynley is back at the family estate to introduce his fiancé to his mother, and in the midst of much drama, a journalist gets killed.

I tried and tried, but really could not get into it. The first sections are almost entirely about supposed adults moping around like emo teenagers, and it was extremely annoying. These people clearly do not want to be happy (Simon
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
The lovely and talented photographer, Deborah Cotter, has come back to England from her years studying in the U.S. Simon St. James, a forensic scientist, has been in love with her since she was 17. No less ardently in love with Deborah is Inspector Tommy Lynley, who is about to announce his engagement to her at his family home in Cornwall. Awkwardly enough, everyone has been invited to the estate for the announcement, including Simon St. James. It is a diffident and civil love triangle, but a lo ...more
Meg Hannah
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
(3.5) While this blast-from-the-past book was a good way to deepen understanding about how the messy love triangle between Lynley, St. James, and Deborah occurred that is alluded to in the first book, it didn't include enough of Havers to keep the dynamic I love going strong. We need her to balance out the upper-crust story of Lynley et al.

Still, it was interesting to get background on Lynley and his brother Peter and his mother, and the mystery was decent, so I'm giving it a solid 3.5 stars.

Kathy Monfort
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a series that never disappoints. Tightly plotted, great character development and written for "grownup people". Examines motivations and the series has a nice overall arc. looking forward to the next book. Yes, this winter I have chosen 3 series and I am plowing through them as fast as I can get them downloaded from the library (with an ancillary cadre of stand-alones). I am so lucky to be literate! ...more
Kathy Davie
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chronologically, A Suitable Vengeance is first in the Inspector Lynley detective mystery series set in modern-day London, and fourth publication-wise.

In 1992, A Suitable Vengeance was nominated for the Dilys Award.
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.

My Take
A Suitable Vengeance is, chronologically, first in the series as it tells the tale of Deborah's return from school in A
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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 our p ...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

Other books in the series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 20 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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