The Inspector Lynley mystery series, written by Elizabeth George, is set in the United Kingdom. It follows Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley’s investigations.
Lynley isn’t the average Scotland Yard agent. He is the 8th Earl of Asherton and was educated privately at Eton College and Oxford University. He is the opposite of his partner, Detective Barbara Havers, who comes from a working-class family. They collaborate to capture criminals, although it means working outside of their authority.
The first book called A Great Deliverance was published in 1988. Lynley and Havers are first presented when he gets the task of Roberta Teys, who killed her father.
Lynley and Havers have many personality clashes including gender and status throughout the series. Havers is described as a short-tempered person who is difficult to work with. Her bad attitude causes her to be dismissed from the series. Lynley, her superior, is someone she despises. Havers has the responsibility of looking after her parents, which is a draining job.
They make earth-shattering findings as they travel through the English countryside.
The large following of the series is a testament to Elizabeth George’s incredible narrating abilities.
Inspector Lynley Books in order
- A Great Deliverance (2010)
- Payment in Blood (2007)
- Well-Schooled in Murder (2007)
- A Suitable Vengeance (2007)
- For the Sake of Elena (2008)
- Missing Joseph (2008)
- Playing for the Ashes (2008)
- In the Presence of the Enemy (2008)
- Deception on His Mind (2009)
- In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (2009)
- A Traitor to Memory (2009)
- A Place of Hiding (2003)
- With No One As Witness (2009)
- What Came Before He Shot Her (2009)
- Careless in Red (2009)
- This Body of Death (2010)
- Believing the Lie (2012)
- Just One Evil Act (2013)
- A Banquet of Consequences (2015)
- The Punishment She Deserves (2018)
- Something to Hide (2022)
- Chief Inspector Armand Gamache by Louise Penny follows the inspector who digs beneath the surface of village life. He finds deep secrets and faces his own ghosts.
- Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James Series by Deborah Crombie follows two detectives. They solve crimes in London, England.
See also: Richard Jury Books in Order.
Most recommended books of the series
- Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3) (4.13 Goodreads score)
- In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, #8) (4.12 Goodreads score)
- In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, #10) (4.11 Goodreads score)
- Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9) (4.06 Goodreads score)
- With No One as Witness (Inspector Lynley, #13) (4.06 Goodreads score)
In 1988, A Great Deliverance won the Agatha Award for Best Novel and got an Edgar Award nomination. It also took home the Anthony Award for Best Novel in 1989.
Latest releases in the series
The latest release in the Inspector Lynley series is called Something to Hide. The book was published on January 11th, 2022.
Movies based on the books
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a television series based on many of the Lynley novels. Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small. From March 2001 to June 2008, the show was broadcasted on BBC.
A Great Deliverance (2010)
To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale’s lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they’d hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell’s raiders.Now into Keldale’s pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a savage murder that has stunned the peaceful countryside. For fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father’s headless corpse. Her first and last words were “I did it. And I’m not sorry.”Yet as Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale’s dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a shattering series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley—and in their own lives as well.
Payment in Blood (2007)
The career of playwright Joy Sinclair comes to an abrupt end on an isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands when someone drives and eighteen-inch dirk through her neck. Called upon to investigate the case in a country where they have virtually no authority, aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, grapple for both a motive and a murderer. Emotions run deep in this highly charged drama, for the list of suspects soon includes Britain’s foremost actress, its most successful theatrical producer, and the woman Lynley loves. He and Havers must tread carefully through the complicated terrain of human relationships, while they work to solve a case rooted in the darkest corners of the past and the unexplored regions of the human heart.
Well-Schooled in Murder (2007)
When thirteen-year-old Matthew Whately goes missing from Bredgar Chambers, a prestigious public school in the heart of West Sussex, aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley receives a call for help from the lad’s housemaster, who also happens to be an old school chum. Thus, the inspector, his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, and forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James find themselves once again outside their jurisdiction and deeply involved in the search for a child—and then, tragically, for a child killer. Questioning prefects, teachers, and pupils closest to the dead boy, Lynley and Havers sense that something extraordinarily evil is going on behind Bredgar Chambers’s cloistered walls. But as they begin to unlock the secrets of this closed society, the investigation into Matthew’s death leads them perilously close to their own emotional wounds—and blinds them to the signs of another murder in the making. . . .
A Suitable Vengeance (2007)
Award-winning author Elizabeth George gives us an early glimpse into the lives of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, and Lady Helen Clyde in a superlative mystery that is also a fascinating inquiry into the crimes of the heart. Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, has brought to Howenstow, his family home, the young woman he has asked to be his bride. But the savage murder of a local journalist is the catalyst for a lethal series of events that shatters the calm of a picturesque Cornwall village and embroils Lynley and St. James in a case far outside their jurisdiction—and a little too close to home. When a second death follows closely on the heels of the first, Lynley finds he can’t help taking the investigation personally—because the evidence points to a killer within his own family.
For the Sake of Elena (2008)
Elena Weaver was a surprise to anyone meeting her for the first time. In her clingy dresses and dangling earrings she exuded a sexuality at odds with the innocence projected by the unicorn posters on her walls. While her embittered mother fretted about her welfare from her home in London, in Cambridge—where Elena was a student at St. Stephen’s College—her father and his second wife each had their own very different image of the girl. As for Elena, she lived a life of casual and intense physical and emotional relationships, with scores to settle and goals to achieve—until someone, lying in wait along the route she ran every morning, bludgeoned her to death.Unwilling to turn the killing over to the local police, the university calls in New Scotland Yard. Thus, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, enter the rarefied world of Cambridge University, where academic gowns often hide murderous intentions.For both officers, the true identity of Elena Weaver proves elusive. Each relationship the girl left behind casts new light both on Elena and on those people who appeared to know her best—from an unsavory Swedish-born Shakespearean professor to the brooding head of the Deaf Students Union.What’s more, Elena’s father, a Cambridge professor under consideration for a prestigious post, is a man with his own dark secrets. While his past sins make him neurotically dedicated to Elena and blind to her blacker side, present demons drive him toward betrayal.
Missing Joseph (2008)
Deborah and Simon St. James have taken a holiday in the winter landscape of Lancastershire, hoping to heal the growing rift in their marriage. But in the barren countryside awaits bleak news: The vicar of Wimslough, the man they had come to see, is dead—a victim of accidental poisoning. Unsatisfied with the inquest ruling and unsettled by the close association between the investigating constable and the woman who served the deadly meal, Simon calls in his old friend Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley. Together they uncover dark, complex relationships in this rural village, relationships that bring men and women together with a passion, with grief, or with the intention to kill. Peeling away layer after layer of personal history to reveal the torment of a fugitive spirit, Missing Joseph is award-winning author Elizabeth George’s greatest achievement.
Playing for the Ashes (2008)
“The story begins with my father, actually, and the fact that I’m the one who’s answerable for his death. It was not my first crime, as you will see, but it is the one my mother couldn’t forgive.”Acclaimed author Elizabeth George reveals the even darker truth behind this startling confession in Playing for the Ashes, a rich tale of passion, murder, and love in which Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers once again find themselves embroiled in a case where nothing—and no one—is really what it seems. Intense, suspenseful, and brilliantly written, Playing for the Ashes is “a treasure” (Cosmopolitan).
In the Presence of the Enemy (2008)
Hailed as the “king of sleaze,” tabloid editor Dennis Luxford is used to ferreting out the sins and scandals of people in exposed positions. But when he opens an innocuous-looking letter addressed to him at The Source, he discovers that someone else excels at ferreting out secrets as well.Ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen has been abducted, and if Luxford does not admit publicly to having fathered her, she will die. But Charlotte’s existence is Luxford’s most fiercely guarded secret, and acknowledging her as his child will throw more than one life and career into chaos. Luxford knows that the story of Charlotte’s paternity could make him a laughingstock and reveal to his beautiful wife and son the lie he’s lived for a decade. Yet it’s not only Luxford’s reputation that’s on the line: it’s also the reputation—and career—of Charlotte Bowen’s mother. For she is Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, one of the most high-profile Junior Ministers and quite possibly the next Margaret Thatcher.Knowing that her political future hangs in the balance, Eve Bowen refuses to let Luxford damage her career by printing the story or calling the police. So the editor turns to forensic scientist Simon St. James for help. It’s a case that fills St. James with disquiet, however, for none of the players in the drama seem to react the way one would expect.Then tragedy occurs and New Scotland Yard becomes involved. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley soon discovers that the case sends tentacles from London into the countryside, and he must simultaneously outfox death as he probes Charlotte Bowen’s mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, his partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, working part of the investigation on her own and hoping to make the coup of her career, may be drawing closer to a grim solution—and to danger—than anyone knows.
Deception on His Mind (2009)
Balford-le-Nez is a dying seaside town on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town’s small but growing Asian community is found murdered near its beach, the sleepy town ignites. Intrigued by the involvement of her London neighbor—Taymullah Azhar—in what appears to be a growing racial conflagration, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers arranges to have herself assigned to the investigation. Setting out on her own, this is one case Havers will have to solve without her longtime partner, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley— and it’s one of the toughest she’s ever encountered. For Havers must probe not only the mind of a murderer and her emotional response to a case unsettlingly close to her own heart, but also the terrible price people pay for deceiving others . . . and themselves.
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (2009)
Calder Moor is a wild and deadly place: many have been trapped in the myriad limestone caves, lost in collapsed copper mines, injured on perilous gritstone ridges. But this time, when two bodies are discovered in the shadow of the ancient circle of stones known as Nine Sisters Henge, it is clearly not a case for Mountain Rescue. The corpses are those of a young man and woman. Each met death in a different fashion. Each died violently.To Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, brought in to investigate by special request, this grisly crime promises to be one of the toughest assignments of his career. For the unfortunate Nicola Maiden was the daughter of a former officer in an elite undercover unit, a man Lynley once regarded as a mentor. Now, as Lynley struggles to find out if Nicola’s killer was an enemy of her father’s or one she earned herself, a disgraced Barbara Havers, determined to redeem herself in the eyes of her longtime partner, crisscrosses London seeking information on the second murder victim.Yet the more dark secrets Lynley and Havers uncover, the more they learn that neither the victims nor the suspects are who they appear to be. And once again they come up against the icy realization that human relationships are often murderous…and that the blood that binds can also kill.
A Traitor to Memory (2009)
When Eugenie Davies is killed by a driver on a quiet London street, her death is clearly no accident. Someone struck her with a car and then deliberately ran over her body before driving off, leaving nothing behind but questions.What brought Eugenie Davies to London on a rainy autumn night? Why was she carrying the name of the man who found her body? Who among the many acquaintances in her complicated and tragic life could have wanted her dead? And could her murder have some connection to a twenty-eight-year-old musical wunderkind, a virtuoso violinist who several months earlier suddenly and inexplicably lost the ability to play a single note?For Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, whose own domestic life is about to change radically, these questions are only the first in an investigation that leads him to walk a fine line between personal loyalty and professional honor.Assigned to the case by his superior, Superintendent Malcolm Webberly, Lynley learns that Webberly’s first murder investigation as a DI over twenty years ago involved Eugenie Davies and a sensational criminal trial. Yet what is truly damaging is what Webberly already knows and no doubt wants Lynley to keep concealed.Now the pressure is on Lynley to find Eugenie Davies’ killer. For not only is he putting his own career into jeopardy, but he is also attempting to safeguard the careers of his longtime partners Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata. Together, they must untangle the dark secrets and darker passions of a family whose history conceals the truth behind a horrific crime.
A Place of Hiding (2003)
An isolated beach on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel is the scene of the murder of Guy Brouard, one of Guernsey’s wealthiest inhabitants and its main benefactor. Forced as a child to flee the Nazis in Paris, Brouard was engaged in his latest project when he died: a museum in honor of those who resisted the German occupation of the island during World War II.It is from this period of time that his murderer may well have come. But there are others on Guernsey with reason to want Guy Brouard dead: his wives, his business associates, his current mistress, the underprivileged teenagers he mentored—any of whom might have harbored a secret motive for murder. As family and friends gather for the reading of the will, Deborah and Simon St. James find that seemingly everyone on the history-haunted island has something to hide. And behind all the lies and alibis, a killer is lurking. In order to bring this person to justice, the St. James must delve into Guernsey’s dark history—both past and present—and into the troubled psyche of someone who may have exacted retribution for the most unspeakable crime of all.
With No One As Witness (2009)
Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley faces the greatest challenge of his career.When an adolescent boy’s nude body is found draped over a tomb in a graveyard, the police recognize the work of a serial killer who’s been murdering boys in London. This is the killer’s fourth victim but the first to be white.Hoping to avoid charges of institutionalized prejudice in their failure to pursue the earlier crimes to their conclusion, New Scotland Yard takes the case and hands it over to Lynley and his colleagues Detective Constable Barbara Havers and Detective Sergeant Winston Nkata. The killer is a psychopath who does not intend to be stopped. But a devastating tragedy within their ranks causes the police to fumble in their pursuit, which may bring more fatal consequences.
What Came Before He Shot Her (2009)
The brutal, inexplicable death of Inspector Thomas Lynley’s wife, Helen, has left Scotland Yard shocked and searching for answers. Even more horrifying is that the trigger was apparently pulled by a twelve-year-old boy.That story begins on the other side of London in rough North Kensington, where the three, mixed-race, virtually orphaned Campbell children are bounced first from their grandmother to their aunt. The oldest, fifteen-year-old Ness, is headed for trouble as fast as her high-heeled boots will take her. That leaves the middle child, Joel, to care for the youngest, Toby. No one wants to put it into words, but something clearly isn’t right with Toby.Before long, there are signs that Joel himself has problems. A local gang starts harassing him and threatening his brother. To protect his family, Joel ends up making a pact with the devil—a move that leads straight to the front doorstep of Thomas Lynley.The anatomy of a murder, the story of a family in crisis, What Came Before He Shot Her is a powerful and emotional novel, full of deep psychological insights, that only the incomparable Elizabeth George could write.
Careless in Red (2009)
After the senseless murder of his pregnant wife, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley hands in his badge and walks out of Scotland Yard. He goes home to Cornwall. The only way he can deal with his painful memories is to hike the trails over the cliffs of the Cornish coast. There, on the forty-third day of his walk, he finds the lifeless body of a young man, dead from a fall.Thus begins a quest to unmask a clever and ruthless murderer. But this time, Lynley’s not in charge. He’s a witness—and possibly even a suspect. The vastly understaffed local copper in charge of the investigation soon figures out that Lynley can help. So can his former associate Barbara Havers, whom Scotland Yard sends to Cornwall, ostensibly to assist in the investigation, but unofficially to keep an eye on Lynley and maybe lure him back to his job.
This Body of Death (2010)
On compassionate leave after the murder of his wife, Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team welcomes his return; they don’t trust their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, whose off-putting manner leaves them on edge. Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer’s hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden—and compelling—vulnerability.While Lynley works in London, his former colleagues Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata follow the murder trail south to the New Forest—a beautiful and strange place where animals roam free, the long-lost art of thatching is very much alive, and outsiders are suspect. What they don’t know is that more than one dark secret lurks within the secluded woodlands, and that their investigation will lead them to an outcome that is both tragic and shocking.
Believing the Lie (2012)
Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he’s sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man’s uncle, the wealthy and influential Bernard Fairclough. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But when Lynley enlists the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James, the trio’s digging soon reveals that the Fairclough clan is awash in secrets, lies, and motives.Deborah’s investigation of the prime suspect–Bernard’s prodigal son Nicholas, a recovering drug addict–leads her to Nicholas’s wife, a woman with whom she feels a kinship, a woman as fiercely protective as she is beautiful. Lynley and Simon delve for information from the rest of the family, including the victim’s bitter ex-wife and the man he left her for, and Bernard himself. As the investigation escalates, the Fairclough family’s veneer cracks, with deception and self-delusion threatening to destroy everyone from the Fairclough patriarch to Tim, the troubled son Ian left behind.
Just One Evil Act (2013)
Barbara is at a loss: Hadiyyah, the daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar, has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can’t really help. Azhar has no legal claim.Just when Azhar is beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss, he gets more shocking news: Hadiyyah has been kidnapped from an Italian marketplace. As both Barbara and her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, soon discover, the case is far more complex than a typical kidnapping, revealing secrets that could have far-reaching effects outside of the investigation. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most and how far she’s willing to go to protect it.
A Banquet of Consequences (2015)
The unspoken secrets and buried lies of one family rise to the surface in Elizabeth George’s newest novel of crime, passion, and tragic history. As Inspector Thomas Lynley investigates the London angle of an ever more darkly disturbing case, his partner, Barbara Havers, is looking behind the peaceful façade of country life to discover a twisted world of desire and deceit. The suicide of William Goldacre is devastating to those left behind who will have to deal with its unintended consequences—could there be a link between the young man’s leap from a Dorset cliff and a horrific poisoning in Cambridge? After various issues with her department, Barbara Havers is desperate to redeem herself. So when a past encounter gives her a connection to the unsolved Cambridge murder, Barbara begs Thomas Lynley to let her pursue the crime, knowing one mistake could mean the end of her career. Full of shocks, intensity, and suspense from the first page to the last, A Banquet of Consequences reveals both Lynley and Havers under mounting pressure to solve a case both complicated and deeply disturbing.
The Punishment She Deserves (2018)
The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens–Ian Druitt, the local deacon–is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian’s death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can’t shake the feeling that she’s missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow–mainly elderly retirees and college students–and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.A masterful work of suspense, The Punishment She Deserves sets Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Inspector Thomas Lynley against one of their most intricate cases. Fans of the longtime series will love the many characters from Elizabeth George’s previous novels who join Lynley and Havers, and readers new to the series will quickly see why she is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of our time. Both a page-turner and a deeply complex story about the lies we tell, the lies we believe, and the redemption we need, this novel will be remembered as one of George’s best.
Something to Hide (2022)
When a police detective is taken off life support after falling into a coma, only an autopsy reveals the murderous act that precipitated her death. She’d been working on a special task force within North London’s Nigerian community, and Acting Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley is assigned to the case, which has far-reaching cultural associations that have nothing to do with life as he knows it. In his pursuit of a killer determined to remain hidden, he’s assisted by Detective Sergeants Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata. They must sort through the lies and the secret lives of people whose superficial cooperation masks the damage they do to one another.