The Punishment She Deserves

The Punishment She Deserves

by Elizabeth George

Overview: Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England.

The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens--Ian Druitt, the local deacon --is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?

When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian's death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can't shake the feeling that she's missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow--mainly elderly retirees and college students--and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.

A masterful work of suspense, The Punishment She Deserves sets Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Inspector Thomas Lynley against one of their most intricate cases. Fans of the longtime series will love the many characters from Elizabeth George's previous novels who join Lynley and Havers, and readers new to the series will quickly see why she is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of our time. Both a page-turner and a deeply complex story about the lies we tell, the lies we believe, and the redemption we need, this novel will be remembered as one of George's best.

Deanna Boe (05/2118): Scotland Yard has been given the assignment to go check on an apparent suicide in Ludlow. A well thought of deacon, Ian Druitt, appears to have committed suicide after being taken into police custody. Druitt had been accused of being a child molester. This not only comes as a shock to the community but his Father who refuses to believe not only the accusations but also the fact that he killed himself. He has connections with higher ups and uses them and this is the reason Barbara Havers, along with Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, have been sent to Ludlow to verify that the investigation into the death of Druitt was conducted fairly.

We learned in the previous novels that Isabelle Ardery is an alcoholic who has been given one more chance to clean up her act. She is also to keep tabs on Havers to make sure she doesn’t screw up in some way. (Havers, as we all know, is a very colorful character with a unique personality and way of speaking.) Naturally Havers feels all is not right with the conclusion of the death report, whereas Ardery is simply anxious to discover all was done correctly and get back to London. Once they have returned to London Havers was able to convince Lynley that the “suicide” needed more investigation.

There is lots of underage drinking, underage sex, and convoluted family problems in the storyline that can be somewhat off putting at times and confusing. You never really know until the end just where the title of book originates. But, saying all of this, I really do like Elizabeth George’s writing, imagination, and her deep research into all of her writings. If you are a fan of hers I don’t feel you will be disappointed.
Rating: ****+

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