The Punishment She Deserves

The Punishment She Deserves

Book - 2018
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Inspector Thomas Lynley of Scotland Yard and detective sergeant Barbara Havers are approached by a member of Parliament with a request to investigate the supposed suicide of a constituent's son.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525954347
0525954341
Branch Call Number: Mystery Geo
Characteristics: 692 pages ; 25 cm

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Mar 20, 2018


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t
talk2terih
May 27, 2018

Don't make the mistake of thinking this is just another British crime procedural. It is that, of course, but there us so much more here. The "She" in the title is, in reality, many she's - mothers, daughters, grandmothers, friends, wives, nuclear and extended families. All of them are in trouble or at risk or simply dysfunctional in some part of their life roles, and in the end, punishments are meted out to those who deserve them, while second chances are granted to others.

This is indeed a lengthy book, but I found that it moved along rapidly and kept my interest throughout. It was difficult to put down.

Definitely recommended.

j
jeffreyochsner
May 27, 2018

This is the 20th book in the series about Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers of New Scotland Yard. If you have not read any of these books, please start with A Great Deliverance and read them in order.

The book immediately prior to this one was stomach-turning (I am sorry I read it). But I am glad I gave this latest book a try in spite of how awful the previous book was. While this book definitely has some grim parts, I think it is one of the best since the early part of this series.

Why do I think that? Because Barbara Havers is one of my favorite characters in all the books I have ever read. She comes from an extremely disadvantaged background; she is smart, but socially inept. She does not care at all about her appearance. She loves her work, and she is very good at it. She does not always follow orders, which has gotten her into trouble more than once.

Her partner in solving crimes is Thomas Lynley, who is from a wealthy, titled family. Lynley and Havers could not be more different on the surface, and yet they work together amazingly well. There are other interesting characters who weave in and out of these books, but Havers and Lynley are the most important, and why everyone keeps reading these books.

The plot of this book is fascinating and complex, and I did not foresee how it would all come out. The crime was tragic, but was also part of a larger tragedy, and it affected many more people than those directly involved.

I kept the title of the book in mind the whole time I was reading. To which character did it refer? By the end, I decided which character it meant to reference, though it could have referred to any and every female character in the whole book.

As usual, there are dysfunctional families and psychologically damaged people in this book. Some characters truly believe they are being punished for some action they took; others are not that self-aware, but the reader sees them being punished (or punishing themselves). All of Elizabeth George’s books have a psychological overlay.

In this book, we also see a character battling alcoholism, and we see the battle from the perspective of the alcoholic. I have never known an alcoholic well, so I can not speak to its accuracy, but it felt real to me.

But my favorite character is Barbara Havers, and in this book, she is front and center! I root for her in every book, and in this book, she soars!

t
tjdickey
May 23, 2018

Here is classic Elizabeth George. It's a good old-fashioned British police procedural, but as always, so much more. The characters, new and long-standing, are extremely well-developed, and the crime(s) emerge from a deeply flawed and human web of relationships - substance abuse and addiction, toxic families, sexual assault.

p
pitkerro
May 06, 2018

Agreed that it is long but well worth it. Personally, I think this is the author at her best. Rather than finding the female characters unsympathetic I found the whole book a really clever riff on the law of unintended consequences - and as such, very true to life. Enjoy.

m
midori_hon
Apr 22, 2018

I'd have enjoyed 100-200 fewer pages of this story, so many toxic parents it was hard to keep track. the random, casual sex and drug use by the various college kids made the narrative tawdry rather than contemporary.
I'm concurrently reading martha grimes' the knowledge and enjoying it so much more.

g
gloryb
Apr 20, 2018

I loved every page of this 700 page hardcover book even though, upon reflection, most of the women are negatively portrayed. I enjoyed all of the Britishisms that George uses so well with good effect. She has a major plot and then includes the backstory of each of the supporting characters. Her writing style is exemplary. The novel is set in Ludlow where the policing cutbacks have made it possible for the events that George describes to have happened -with literary license, of course. The novel is more than just a police procedural though as George is quite adept at describing family relationships gone awry. This one is all about controlling mothers in all walks of life and the effects that has on families. All of her subplots are woven competently into the main plot. These provide the rationale for all of the characters' actions fuelling the main plot. My least favorite parts were those about Isabelle Ardery, but these descriptions of her are necessary for the reader to believe what George has in mind for her.

p
PineSisken
Apr 20, 2018

Superb! Another must-read for devoted fans of Elizabeth George and her main characters: Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. If you're not a devoted fan yet, what are you waiting for? Get cracking!

m
mpye
Apr 16, 2018

Thoroughly recommended. Bought this book before boarding a 13-hour flight and read half of it before arriving at my destination! The remainder did not take long to finish as I was completely hooked. I do not agree with some of the other reviewers that the book is too long. This is a master storyteller at her best, writing about real people from all walks of life in various sub plots. She describes the very human weaknesses of these people as she enticingly unravels a complex mystery for us.

a
Adele_Jaunty
Apr 04, 2018

While the initial part of the book seemed a touch slow, as the characters and plot developed it got more and more intriguing. Half-way through the book, I was completely hooked and, indeed, did not want the book to end. I simply loved the book and the writing is superb.

d
dorothy1
Apr 03, 2018

I liked this book. I found the first half dragged (some descriptions seemed unnecessary or repetitive), but by the second half I couldn't put it down. It was good to read about Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers again.

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dorothy_esau
Apr 02, 2018

dorothy_esau thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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