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A Great Deliverance

(Inspector Lynley #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  40,865 ratings  ·  1,866 reviews
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 L
Mass Market Paperback, 413 pages
Published June 1989 by Bantam Books (first published May 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 deve…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)
Rich A Great Deliverance is set in the 1980's. Neither Lynley or Havers are old enough to have been born in the WWII time period.…moreA Great Deliverance is set in the 1980's. Neither Lynley or Havers are old enough to have been born in the WWII time period.(less)

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Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
For me, the author's Inspector Lynley series checks all the boxes why I give "modern" detective fiction a wide berth.

1) useless, mind-numbingly boring navel-gazing of the detectives for 290 pages out of 400 - CHECK
2) (as a consequence of 1) story moving at a drunken snail's pace - CHECK
3) (as a consequence of 1 & 2) there's hardly any info about the ongoing investigation - CHECK
4) (as a consequence of 1 & 3) almost non-existent police procedurals - CHECK

Personally, I also could not find any trac
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
Richard Derus
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mary Beth
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
First the superficial. I'm having a hard time getting over how annoying a couple of the characters were. The horribly caricatured American tourist was too much - I ended up skipping any passage with him. And felt he was completely unnecessary to the plot. It's difficult to enjoy a book when you have such antipathy to ridiculous characters.

I did like Lynley, but his partner... I'm sure that she will get better as the series progresses, but did she really have to shriek and shrill so much? And sh
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Anuradha by: Aarnima
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
Sep 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
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
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."

May 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I usually dock a star if an animal is killed because that is always needless. The reasoning in this police case was especially preposterous. No would disagree that a million other distractions could have been devised for a human murder; not by committing an animal's. That was the most disturbing fiction, in a very domestically disturbing novel. However this mystery, its characters, their compassion, and personal histories are so stunningly well-written that five stars are amply earned.... as is ...more
Wow. Just wow. So going to say first off that this book starts off slow. I found myself getting bored with Inspector Lynley and with Havers. Lynley felt too distance and Havers started driving me mad with her self-sabotage. But the more we get into the case that has them in their grips the more I wanted to keep reading. It took me getting to almost 40 percent though before I became seriously engrossed in this one. The characters we are introduced too had me wanting to know more (Lady Helen, Debo ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
I had the terrible misfortune of reading this book this weekend, and I fervently wish that I could unread it so I could have two days of my life back. You, too, could read it, if you want the nonstop sex of a Law & Order: SVU, the shocking ickyness of a V.C. Andrews, and the fascinating character development of a basket of sock puppets.

This aggravating novel stars:
- Man Too Rich and Sexy For His Own Good (Who Can't Have the Woman of His Dreams :( boohoo)
- Stubborn Woman With No Sex Appeal and Th
Jeff Dickison
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To me, this book has one of the most astonishing conclusions that I have ever read. The first 90% of the book is a fairly good English murder/mystery, but not amazing literature. The last 10% grabs you by the throat and just shakes you. Oustanding, fantastic, unbelievable, and in a debut novel. I did not see any of this foreshadowed in the story, although in retrospect all the clues are there. Wow! Highly recommended to anyone who can handle adult literature.
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
This was my second read of this novel, my first time having been over 20 years ago, in the mid 1990’s. For some reason I did not find it a particularly engaging read at that time, but have been reading good reviews of more recent additions to the series. So I had been thinking I might start the series again and see if I enjoyed it more now. And then a “challenge” in the group A Book for All Seasons was presented, to re-read a book one had read at least one year ago, and not particularly liked, a ...more
A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George.

A book like this comes along perhaps once in a lifetime. Each character so intense with emotional depth adding to the story that creates an atmosphere impossible to abandon. I was unable to turn away from the characters and the story they brought to life with the turning of each page. I must thank another reader/reviewer for recommending this author.

Inspector Lynley has been assigned CID Barbara Havers to accompany him on this case. Pairing these two perso
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as well as the entire series over a period of 30 years and loved each and every one of them. I was really great to revisit with my ‘old friends”. The supposed killer…Roberta Teys, a silent, obese adolescent…gives Lizzie Borden a run for her money here even though she did the job in less than 40 whacks. She says she did it and “I’m not sorry”. So end of mystery right? No way! We are only getting started. I have always loved the character of Inspector Lynley while finding Barbara ...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
Nikki Nielsen
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Marie-Jo Fortis
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Play Book Tag: A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George - 3 stars 2 8 Jan 18, 2021 11:35AM  
Looking for other similar authors 10 68 Mar 01, 2019 02:20PM  
Mystery Madness: 10/18 Whodunits Pick: A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George 1 9 May 23, 2018 07:04AM  
Abridged audioboook - why? 4 32 Sep 21, 2013 02:35PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Great Deliverance 1 3 Aug 19, 2013 01:48PM  

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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)
  • 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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