cover image A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel

A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel

Elizabeth George. Viking, $28.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-525-95433-0

A threatened transfer to the north of England subdues Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers of London’s Metropolitan Police in bestseller George’s uneven 19th Lynley novel (after 2013’s Just One Evil Act). Barbara’s investigation of the murder of feminist writer Clare Abbott leads her to the writer’s personal assistant, Caroline Goldacre, a middle-aged busybody who verbally abused and threatened Clare. The author sensitively depicts Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley, Barbara’s partner, as he puts his own job on the line to help her. Barbara’s secretary’s efforts to send her on dates provide some comic relief. Unfortunately, the novel becomes bogged down exploring Caroline’s extensive family problems—divorce, adultery, child abuse, marital squabbles—to the point where readers may begin to worry they have stumbled by mistake into a sprawling family saga. Both the detectives and the mystery recede into the background in an entry that may try the patience of even the most dedicated series fans. Six-city author tour. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)