In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner

Elizabeth A. George, Author Bantam Books $25.95 (608p) ISBN 978-0-553-10235-2
Selfish children grow up to betray their parents in bestselling author George's (Deception on His Mind) latest suspense novel, which opens with David King-Ryder, a renowned Andrew Lloyd Webber-like British musical writer/producer, committing suicide on the eve of his successful comeback. How his untimely death ties in with a double homicide in the Derbyshire countryside showcases George's brilliance in concocting an intricate, swiftly paced tale that brings back the popular New Scotland Yard team of detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. Newly married Detective Inspector Lynley takes the case at the request of Andy Maiden, a former colleague who made his name as a notable undercover agent. Maiden's headstrong daughter Nicola is one of the murder victims, and when her choice to forgo a law career to become a professional dominatrix is painstakingly unearthed by the estimable detectives, Maiden, among others, becomes a prime suspect, as do Nicola's blue-blooded boyfriend, Julian Britton, and his jealous cousin, Samantha McCallin. George spices up the investigation with a side plot about Lynley and Havers's relationship, now complicated since Havers is facing demotion and disciplinary suspension for her insubordination during a previous assignment. When the redoubtable Havers links the second murder victim, Terry Cole--a struggling artist who turns out to be a get-rich-quick schemer--to the dead composer King-Ryder, Lynley dismisses his former partner's intuitive leaps and the two sleuths lock horns. George builds plausible motives for all of the suspects while simultaneously revealing the private lives of her admirable detectives with an engaging mix of subtlety and bravado. The multifaceted surprise ending to the taut, suspenseful plot is the juiciest plum in this can't-put-down novel. Agents, Robert Gottlieb, Marcy Posner, Stephanie Cabot of William Morris agency. Major ad/promo; author tour; BDD audio. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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