I really don’t know what to say except this was a very well thought out mystery. Lynley and Havers shine in this one. The why behind the murder made me sad and what made me even more sad is that you see what other ugliness was going on at Bredgar Chambers. The only reason why I didn’t favorite this one is that the Deborah and St. James sub-plot was beyond aggravating.
“Well-Schooled in Murder” takes 2 months after the last book in the series. Lynley is still heart-broken that his proposal to Helen caused her to not only say no, but flee England to go traveling. I honestly don’t blame her. Lynley has thrown himself into work which is causing Havers no end of exhaustion too. Havers is dealing with the health of her father getting worse and her mother becoming more unstable and unable to do anything without her there. When an old school friend of Lynley’s asks for his help when a student goes missing, Lynely agrees because of their connection and also because he doesn’t want to go home. He and Havers quickly realize though that the missing student (Matthew Whately) has been found and it appears he was tortured and then murdered before being dumped naked. Lynley and Havers zero in on the school though the Headmaster doesn’t believe anyone there has anything to do with it.
Lynley is really good in this one. And I like he acknowledges his mistakes from the last case and is conscious he may be making apologizes for his former friend. However, he is quite good in reading people and situations. I like that he and Havers follow the case where it takes them and they both besides using the forensics that are available find out what they know just by talking to people and realizing what happened to Matthew. The biggest issue is finding out who did it though and I definitely got tripped up like 5 times. I would think one person did it and then quickly change my mind. We get a reveal and then several reveals and I maybe gasped. I didn’t see the ending coming at all which I loved.
The sub-plot with St. James and Deborah was beyond tone-deaf. I get this was written in 1989 so there are some allowances for that, but to not spoil for others, it was typical Soap Opera mess that I didn’t appreciate. Deborah was acting like an idiot.
The characters we meet in this one are quite memorable. We have Whately’s mother and father who are heartbroken over his death. A former military man who played chess with Matthew. Matthew’s best friend/playmate who it sounds like may make future appearances if another character has a say in it. Also we have Lynley’s old school friend, Corntel who I shuddered about. I think Lynley made a mistake there and I wonder if that is going to come back to haunt him.
The writing was very good and think the flow was pitch perfect.
The setting of the school instead of showing a place of higher learning showed a place of cruelty and secrets.
The ending was very good though it leaves things up in the air with Lynley’s future with Helen.