Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

 review by Maryom

"Inspector Lynley investigates the London end of an ever more darkly disturbing case, with Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata looking behind the peaceful façade of country life to discover a twisted world of desire and deceit.
The suicide of William Goldacre is devastating to those left behind. But what was the cause of his tragedy and how far might the consequences reach? Is there a link between the young man's leap from a Dorset cliff and a horrific poisoning in Cambridge?
Following various career-threatening misdemeanours, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is desperate to redeem herself. So when a past encounter with bestselling feminist writer Clare Abbott and her pushy personal assistant Caroline Goldacre gives her a connection to the Cambridge murder, Barbara begs DI Thomas Lynley to let her pursue the crime."

 First off, I'd better admit this is the first DI Lynley novel I've read. I've seen him - and side-kick Havers - on TV though, so I felt confident enough to jump into the series this far through and be able to pick the personal story line up without any worries. And it felt just like catching up with old friends - apart from a little oddness about hair-colouring (TV's Lynley is dark-haired, the books' version fair), Lynley and Havers are as seen on TV; he's upper class, debonair, slightly restrained in everything he does; she's scruffy, over-enthusiastic and likely to be led astray by that enthusiasm.
The story doesn't start with a dead body but about three years before, when William Goldacre finds himself driven to suicide - so the reader gets to know a lot about the characters who will eventually find themselves being questioned about murder. His family are certainly an odd bunch of people, all with seemingly twisted relationships, and dominated by the mother, Caroline, who through a combination of flattery and lies manipulates her husband, ex-husband, two sons and daughter-in-law into doing actually what she wants; only William's girlfriend seems able to resist her. This same mix has managed to gain Caroline a foothold in Clare Abbott's life - moving up from cleaner, to PA - where she tries to exercise the same control. Clare isn't so easily won over though.... I don't know if this is typical of Elizabeth George's story development but it certainly worked well here. I liked getting to know the characters well and get a feel for what might lie behind the mysterious death of Clare Abbott and, at times, would have liked to point Havers in the right direction rather than have her flounder about missing things that seemed apparent to me! That aspect aside, I really enjoyed it.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Genre - adult fiction, crime

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