Book review: A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Permalink

She’s back. Well…. almost.

When I reviewed Elizabeth George’s last novel, Just One Evil Act I commented that it was a big improvement on the recent books in her Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers series.

I’d been a fan for ages but things went downhill markedly after the death of one of the main characters. Since then our two leads seemed like shadows of their former selves and I was almost tempted to give up on them completely. Almost.

Just One Evil Act, released in 2013 saw a return to the form I remembered and George’s well and truly built on that in her latest novel, Banquet of Consequences.

The blurb

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.

A banquet of consequences

My thoughts

Not only are Tommy and Barbara more like the Lynley and Havers of my memories but the whodunit at hand is fabulous.

Interestingly, we probably spend as much (if not more) time with the cast of this latest mystery as we do with our friends from Scotland Yard. But that’s fine. In fact it’s great. I’m not sure if that’s what had been missing from her recent work, but George manages to keep us engrossed in the unfolding plot while providing the usual snippets into Tommy and Barbara’s personal lives.

Havers isn’t as prickly as she’s been of late. I never minded the huge chip she carried on her shoulder, but she’d kinda become belligerent and unlikeable so it’s nice to see her back to just being her usual awkward self. And Tommy’s a tad less pathetic than he’s been in recent times.

Old favourite Simon St John appears just briefly and his wife / Lynley’s butler etc not at all. I found the exchange between Lynley and his long-time best friend rather stilted, but thankfully it was one of just a few reminders that the Elizabeth George (or Lord Lynley) of old is yet to completely appear in all of her (their) glory.

But it’s the plot itself which is the winner here. The troubles facing the Goldacre family take us back over three years and we get a glimpse of events over that time before the incident which involves Scotland Yard.

We’re offered a range of characters facing a myriad of issues. Marriages are breaking up, affairs are being had, revenge is being exacted and people are breaking down.

So… a rollicking good time then. And there are quite a few twists and turns along the way.

All in all a great return to form by George and I have my fingers crossed it continues.

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George, published by Hodder & Stoughton (in the UK) on 1 October 2015 will also be published by Hachette Australia and available from 27 October 2015.

I received copies of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

  • Stormi D Johnson
    October 27, 2015

    I have been wanting to start this series, I love the BBC show that they had based on this series. I actually have book one I just need to read it. 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2015

      I REALLY enjoyed the early books in the series Stormi but the characters kinda fell away a few years ago for me. Almost as if they were being written by someone different.

      I have to admit I never really took to the TV series as the actor who plays Lynley is SO not what I imagined… (Hate it when that happens!)

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    October 27, 2015

    This one’s on my list for when it’s released. Looking more forward to it now 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2015

      Good to hear Jodi. I hope you enjoy it.

  • hugzillablog
    October 27, 2015

    Ooooh, I am a total sucker for whodunits because I am DREADFUL at working them out! In almost all cases I am still totally clueless by the time they get to the big reveal. This sounds great!

    • Debbish
      October 27, 2015

      I tend to think I’m pretty good at them so like it when I DON’T guess whodunnit. Or at least why!

  • Jan Fawke
    October 30, 2015

    I too loved the Inspector Lynley mysteries, until the author killed off Helen. I thought that was THE most gratuitous act of violence,and couldn’t finish the book. I’m delighted at the thought that this latest is worth reading. I thought the early Elizabeth George books were superior reads.

    • Debbish
      October 30, 2015

      I didn’t ‘love’ Helen. I found her a little smug or something, but after George killed her off Lynley had this weird affair which REALLY made no sense and the characters were a bit all over the place. I think they seem to be coming back together again.

  • Sue
    October 30, 2015

    I also loved this series, I didn’t know there was a new book, so I’m looking forward to reading it. I have watched some of the BBC series with my husband, and it took us a few tries before we got into it. The characters just looked so different to what I imagined, and that made it really difficult to watch. We did start to enjoy it though, but I still love the books a lot more.

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2015

      I couldn’t get into the TV series for the same reason Sue, but perhaps I needed to be a bit more patient!

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