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The Wages of Desire

(Inspector Lamb #2)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In the late summer of 1941, as the war in Europe drags on, long-buried secrets begin to surface in the Hampshire village of Winstead, when the body of a young woman – a former conscientious objector - is found shot to death in the church cemetery. The woman’s only connection to Winstead seems to be that she lately had joined a group of conscripted workers who are building ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Pegasus Books (first published July 4th 2016)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Judy Lesley
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Pegasus Books, W. W. Norton & Co.

If you decide to read this book, take my advice and don't ever let yourself begin to think you have all the ducks in a row and you can solve the case on your own. No such thing because this author will have his plot take twists and turns from beginning to end. I enjoyed that. Of course it didn't hurt at all that I was reading what I like to think of as a "classic" historical British mystery. This one takes p
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
The discovery of a woman shot to death in the local cemetery is only the first of numerous mysteries confronting Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb (and the reader) in this delightful World War 2 novel.

This is the second in Kelly's Inspector Lamb series and it makes me want to read the first all the more.

The murdered woman is a conscripted worker helping to build a prisoner-of-war camp on an abandoned farm near the village. Lamb recalls a tragic event that occurred on that farm more than 20 y
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

Second book in the Inspector Lamb series.

The War is still going, but things aren't quite as bad as they were in the first book. Lamb's daughter is accompanying him around, wanting to become a policewoman, and starting a romance with one of Lamb's underlings.

Meanwhile, the remains of a child are found in the foundation of an old farmhouse.

Not bad, but got a bit tedious in the middle.
Jill Meyer
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not all deaths in wartime happen on the battlefield or in a bombed city. Sometimes people are murdered in quiet country villages in places like Hampshire. Those deaths are investigated by policemen who sometimes wonder why they're not off in battle. But they're serving their country by keeping the peace at home. Such a policeman is Thomas Lamb, in "The Wages of Desire", who is faced with murders both recent and not-so-recent in 1942 in the village of Winstead. Lamb, who served in the trenches in ...more
Patricia Gulley
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this a page turner. Good mystery with 3 cases running side by side. Interesting info about female conscription in Britian during the war.
Author has a thing for W names. Winchester, Winstead, Wolseley, Wallace, Wheatley, Wimberly, Webley, Winston-Sheed, Willhemina, Walton, White, Willis.
May 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't think this was a particularly well-written book. Too many people, English villages, weapons and automobiles begin with W and are hard to keep straight: Wheatley, Webley, Winston-Sheed, Wolseley, Walton, White, Wallace, Winchester, Winstead, Warwickshire, Wimberly, Wilhemina.

The plot was enough to keep me reading, but I constantly had to refer to my list of people, places and things. I began to see, as I approached the end of the book, a parallel to Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache whos
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The Wages of Desire: An Inspector Lamb Novel by Stephen Kelly is set in a small English village during the early years of the war.

Although this might fall into the cozy category, it is a much more complex version. The characters have depth and individuality, and the plot is a knotty tangle of threads that reach back into the past.

Secrets abound in the bucolic English countryside; the title is significant in more than one way.

I haven't read the first in this series, but I liked Inspector Lamb an
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this WWII set mystery. Lots of parallel plots going on but I had to concentrate to keep some of the characters straight. However one thing really bugged me. Everyone was 'on the phone', police widow, church cleaner, farmer etc. This really irked me as domestic phones were a luxury, especially in the country. There was also no concern expressed about party lines or operators overhearing. The DI explained why he wanted a search warrant to a magistrate over the phone, and discussed the sp ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
A complex plot and interesting characters should have made this a good read; however, way too many anachronisms and inaccuracies kept it from having a genuine period atmosphere. Most annoying was that distances were repeatedly given in meters except for one refreshing ten and one-half inches. England definitely was not metric in 1942.

I am very fond of the Charles Todd novels, and this was nowhere near that quality.
Jim Mullin
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent well researched historical mystery set in one of my favorite periods, England during WW2. I highly recommend
Anne, Unfinished Woman
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Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm confused by this book. It's a pretty good story up until about the last quarter of the book when it suddenly changes from a cozy/police procedural, into a wannabe hard-boiled, tough-guy, crime rampage. The tone changes so much that it makes me wonder if another author took over for the final portion of the book, or if Stephen Kelly just suddenly decided to turn up the grit factor!
It also suffered from poor copy-editing all the way through, from calling characters by the wrong names, to redu
Alice Rood
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
As an Anglophile, I usually love mysteries which take place in England. Recently, I've taken to reading WW II-era mysteries, such as James R. Benn's Billy Boyle series, and Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series, and enjoyed them immensely. I took a chance on Mr. Kelly, and read both The Language of the Dead, and The Wages of Desire. If you're looking for a mystery fix, and anything will do, then this series will. I found The Wages of Desire to be choppy with competing story lines that - by a l ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't put my finger on what I specifically like about the Lamb series but so far it has not disappointed. The story moves along and the endings are always satisfying. While in Kelly's first Lamb book WWII wasn't really an important backdrop to the story, in this book it is necessary to explain motive. Additionally, we get to know a little more about some of the ancillary characters which makes them obviously more interesting and you as a reader more invested. Looking forward to book #3.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I stumbled on this series when I was looking for a read to take on vacation. I had already read the first in the series and enjoyed it so I went for the next one. I liked the character development in the second book and the mystery kept me guessing. If I had to find a negative I would say there are too many characters, but, they all had a part in the mystery/deaths. I will be on the lookout for the third in the series.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Read about this series somewhere and sounded good . . . I liked the WWII time setting, and this story had plenty of unexpected twists and turns. This is the second book. I'll probably go back and read the first one. Reserving judgment but I found this one diverting if a little preposterous.
Michael Dunn
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
advertised as a WWII mystery, but the war played a minor part in the story. The main plot could have been fashioned without it.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
1942 small village police investigation. Good investigation.
Mary G.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
These little villages and hamlets of England sem to harbor so much murder. Even a war can't [revent the secrecy and manipulations of the citizenry.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Lots of pieces that do come together in the end. But not much WWII.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I like Inspector Lamb and hope to see more of this series.
Tonya Mathis
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked it. I need to look for more books in this series.
Oct 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked Inspector Lamb in this series and the mystery isn't bad. It really slowed down in the middle and I had to force myself to finish.
Margaret1358 Joyce
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a well-paced thriller, if a tad on the obsessive side with regard to lots of police procedural detail but not enough flair. Still, the WWII setting and characterization are interesting with an authentic feel, and the portrayal of complex social ties in the small English village is marvelously drawn.
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The body count keeps going and going…

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

Possible SPOILERS but I try very hard to reveal nothing that cannot be read in the first several pages of the book. But you have been WARNED…

Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb is back in the second book of this series! With WWII raging and almost all available people conscripted into the army, the police departmen
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the bit of history and the relationship between father and daughter was charming. Good read.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
#2 in the Inspector Lamb series set in rural Hampshire in 1942. Murdered woman found in the churchyard in Winstead, and Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb is called to investigate. His daughter has just been appointed to be his driver since Lamb fell off a ladder trying to clean his house gutters and cannot use a clutch.

I decided to give this second outing 4 stars because the story was somewhat tighter and despite a wide swath of villains and non-villains, it pulled together satisfactorily. T
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I've always loved reading good mystery novels, especially those from the English masters -- Conan Doyle, Dame Agatha, Colin Dexter, Peter Robinson and others. I'm also a huge fan of the Norwegian crime novelist, Karin Fossum. Before turning to writing fiction with a vengeance, though, I was, for nearly thirty years, a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist. My work has appeared in the Baltimore ...more

Other books in the series

Inspector Lamb (3 books)
  • The Language of the Dead (Inspector Lamb, #1)
  • Hushed in Death (Inspector Lamb #3)

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