Book Review: Elizabeth George’s A Suitable Vengeance

Posted March 29, 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 Suitable Vengeance

A Suitable Vengeance


Elizabeth George

It is part of the , series and is a detective mystery, mystery that was published by Bantam on May 1, 2007 and has 449 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include A Great Deliverance, Payment in Blood, Well-Schooled in Murder, 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 Suitable Vengeance is first in the Inspector Lynley detective mystery series set in modern-day London, and fourth publication-wise.

In 1992, A Suitable Vengeance was nominated for the Dilys Award.

Tommy’s anger with his mother, Deb’s anger with Simon, Peter’s anger with Tommy, Justin and Mick’s actions, Sidney’s emotions, Mark’s activities…it’s endless.

My Take

A Suitable Vengeance is, chronologically, first in the series as it tells the tale of Deborah’s return from school in America with her engagement to Tommy during her visit with Tommy’s family in Cornwall. ALL of which takes place well before A Great Deliverance, 2, in which Barbara Havers is collecting Tommy for a case from Simon and Deborah’s wedding.

I guess I’m expecting the world especially with how masterfully George pulls all these red herrings into a simple cohesive solution. George is amazing in her attention to detail, the situations she creates, and the tension she builds (even though I have a pretty good idea of how things will end as I’m already three stories into the future when I read this story).

So, that said, lordy, what a convoluted, swirling tide of clues is this. And this is where I get frustrated with how George has Tommy behaving. He is a Detective Inspector with Scotland Yard, and he is screwing up all over the place not behaving like the policeman he is. He does nothing to secure the initial crime scene. He withholds evidence. He searches for evidence on his own. Why not hire on some divers to search the sea for the case instead of having a couple of the lads diving with masks and snorkels??

The Story

It’s Simon’s desperate and undeclared love for Deborah set against her and Tommy’s involvement, which leads us to the family weekend at Tommy’s estate in Cornwall, Howenstow — Tommy has proposed and Deborah is to meet the family.

And what a weekend to remember. The local Lothario is murdered with a particularly nasty cut with more murders following, and all the suspects are connected to Howenstow. Tommy may be Scotland Yard, but we’re not on his patch.

The Cover and Title

The cover is rather painterly with a very suitable subject — the rocks off the Cornish coast which play such a role in opening the case.

A Suitable Vengeance is so incredibly well titled as vengeance abounds throughout the story.


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