Book Review: Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance

Posted March 18, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance

A Great Deliverance


Elizabeth George

It is part of the , series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by Bantam on June 1989 and has 413 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Payment in Blood, Well-Schooled in Murder, A Suitable Vengeance, For the Sake of Elena, Missing Joseph, Deception on His Mind, In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, A Traitor to Memory, A Place of Hiding, Playing for the Ashes

Chronologically, A Great Deliverance is second in the Inspector Lynley detective mystery series set in modern-day London and first publication-wise.

In 1990, A Great Deliverance won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for Romans étrangers; in 1989, it won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. In 1988, it won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

My Take

Set in modern-day London, it kept me riveted from the first. Here we are introduced to how Barbara Havers’ partnership with Thomas Lynley begins at Scotland Yard with all her negatives laid out for our viewing. I have never come across a more obstreperous, bitchy woman while Lynley’s qualities are immediately laid out for us as his negatives are slowly unfolded throughout the story.

It’s a tentative partnership, Havers has not worked out as a partner for anyone yet and is doomed to walk the streets unless this last-chance pairing with Lynley works out. Luckily for Havers, their case takes place outside of London in rural Yorkshire where her behavior is more easily hidden.

It’s an odd case in which the daughter is found sitting next to the bodies of her headless father and a much-loved dog, yet no one in the village will believe that she could have killed him. Lynley and Havers find it a hard slog discovering clues and yet, what they discover in the end is so truly horrifying. One can only wonder how often the scenario plays out throughout the world.

Incredibly strong characters throughout the story: the reasons for Roberta’s state; the relationships between William, Olivia, and Bridie; the background for the animosity between Parrish and Ezra; how Stepha fits into all this; why the priest is so important; Lady Helen Clyde’s purpose; and, the purpose behind Tessa’s shrine.

Lovely work with the dialogue, although I am curious as to where George will go with Havers’ anger.