I really don’t have much to say except this one was so ridiculously good! I loved everything about the case that Lynley and Havers are called into look at. First, because it actually showed that Lynley had flaws. Two, because it showed Lynley that he was blind to something that was in his face for a long time. Third, because in the end the cases that Lynley and Havers got set on were not connected the way that they and even I as a reader understood at first. This book reminded me of the best of Christie.
“Payment in Blood” is the second Inspector Lynley book. Lynley is called up to investigate when a playwright, Joy Sinclair is found murdered in the Scottish Highlands. And to make matters even more interesting, Joy Sinclair is found in a room that was locked. Lynley at first is puzzled why New Scotland Yard is even involved and why he is being called in when he’s off. However, it quickly is shown that the people involved are fellow aristocrats and perhaps Lynley is needed to smooth over things. When Lynley arrives and finds one of his best friends Lady Helen there it ends up throwing in a wrench in the investigation and their relationship. In the end, Lynley and Havers working together and separately have to find out who murdered Joy Sinclair and why.
I thought the cast of characters in this one was great. We have Lynley, Havers, Lady Helen, St. James, St. James’s wife, and a few others we know about from the first book.
There is a new wrinkle in the case because Lady Helen is obviously involved with someone new which is coloring Lynley’s perception of the case. And Lynley is being moved around without realizing it too which causes Havers to be focused on making sure that whatever happens he is protected when the case is over. I actually liked how Havers and Lynley have seemed to truly become partners over the 15 months that they have been working together. Though Lynley thinks that Havers has a chip on her shoulder against anyone who is a peer like him, I think it’s mostly that Havers doesn’t want to see a case be dropped because the rich are able to grease the right hands. I do wish that we had more of her POV in this one instead of dealing with Lynley acting like a brat towards Lady Helen.
The new characters were fascinating to me though. We had Lord and Lady Stinhurst, their daughter Elizabeth, Lord Stinhurst’s sister, Joy Sinclair’s sister, the sister’s husband (a famous actor who is also a louse), the director of the play and Lady Helen’s lover, and a famous actress and her husband. I am curious though what happens to a few of the female characters that George focused in on this one. It doesn’t seem as if she will follow-up or refer to people like Christie did. If so though, it would be nice.
I thought the writing was good though as I said in the first book I reviewed, the plot moves slow. This is the main reason why though I gave it 5 stars I didn’t mark it as a favorite. It felt like we were just hearing about minute details through more than half the book before things started to click together. Also some things felt a bit out there when you see how George ties things up.
The setting of the book takes mainly in the old Scottish home that is about to be turned into a hotel. I wish that George had pulled a Christie and included a drawing of the rooms and where all parties were. I had it mapped out in my head though and was trying to work through who could have done it.
The other reason why I didn’t favorite this one is because I honestly didn’t like the ending. Lynley was wrong and I felt badly for Lady Helen. I hope that this gets discussed in the next book.