More mayhem most British from practiced mysterian George (A Blanket of Consequences, 2015, etc.): the 20th Inspector Lynley novel.
The “she” of the title is a floating pronoun: It could refer to a victim or to DS Barbara Havers, who has been sent up to A.E. Housman country from New Scotland Yard to investigate a murder most foul. Or is it a suicide most foul? In any event, the unfortunate demise while in police custody of Ian Druitt, a respected deacon of the Church of England lately suspected of pedophilia, turns out to be grounded in plenty of motive, whether deserved or a smoke screen for another crime. Enter Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, a woman hardened by a horrid divorce and too-liberal application of alcohol to her many problems, for when it turns out that Druitt is well-connected and an MP has come calling for favors, Assistant Commissioner Sir David Hillier, a Yard honcho with a nose for sniffing out political and personal opportunity, sends not Inspector Lynley but Ardery to help Havers with the case, thus putting another “she” in line for punishment. George is an ascended master of the artfully tangled plot, elaborate without being overly busy; everyone who enters into the picture plays a part. Lynley is rather far afield at first, as Havers takes the lead—and given that Lynley was first introduced in 1988, 30 years ago, he’s coming up on retirement age anyway. But once Ardery turns out to be trouble, enticing Havers to chug down “some kind of vodka in a glass the size of my mum’s Easter bonnet” and neglecting some key evidence in the ugly case, Lynley is back on the scene, and not a minute too soon. George, though American, is at home in the all mod cons world of suburban England, and she weaves many topics into her pages, from alcoholism and binge drinking to immigration, rave culture, nationalism, town versus gown, and police politics. Oh, and there’s no shortage of suspects, either.
Long but rewarding: trademark George, with elements of the classic procedural nicely joined to today’s headlines. Fans won’t be disappointed.