The Punishment She Deserves

The Punishment She Deserves

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in EnglandThe 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 cri...

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Title:The Punishment She Deserves
Author:Elizabeth George
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Edition Language:English

The Punishment She Deserves Reviews

  • Marjorie

    Ian Druitt was a respected deacon of the Church of England. When he turns up dead while in police custody due to an accusation of pedophilia, it’s up to Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery to sort out whether it was suicide or murder. She reluctantly teams up with DS Barbara Havers and they set off to historic Ludlow to investigate. Ardery is battling more demons than a possible murderer. She’s fighting with her ex-husband who is determined to move out of the country with their two so

    Ian Druitt was a respected deacon of the Church of England. When he turns up dead while in police custody due to an accusation of pedophilia, it’s up to Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery to sort out whether it was suicide or murder. She reluctantly teams up with DS Barbara Havers and they set off to historic Ludlow to investigate. Ardery is battling more demons than a possible murderer. She’s fighting with her ex-husband who is determined to move out of the country with their two sons and Ardery’s been hitting the vodka bottle too often. She’s also determined to finally find enough reason to call for the transfer of Havers out of her district.

    I’ve have been a fan of this author since her first book many years ago. Ms. George is a master at meticulously plotting out her complex mysteries, but where she truly excels is in her characters. If you decide to read something by this author, and I hope you do, you should start with her first book, “A Great Deliverance”, so you have a good understanding of the background of each of the characters and can grow to love them as I have. Her newest book is a long one, over 700 pages on my Kindle, but you’ll get no complaints about that from me as the more time I spend with these characters, the happier I am. This is a complex tale and one of the best that this author has written. I became totally engrossed in the mystery and I so very much enjoyed Ms. George’s humorous telling of Havers’ attempts at tap dancing. Ms. George remains my favorite English mystery writer (though she’s American). I’m already longing for her next book.

    Most highly recommended

    This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Sandra

    Please note: I read this as a free e-ARC from Netgalley. As I wasn’t too enamored with Elizabeth George’s last two Lynsey novels, I started this one with trepidation. However, I should not have been concerned. I really felt like this one was one of her best installments. As it begins, Ardury and Havers are sent to Ludlow to follow up on an suicide investigation. Due to Ardury’s increasing alcohol dependency clues are missed and not followed up. Barbara Havers is tasked in writing the report only

    Please note: I read this as a free e-ARC from Netgalley. As I wasn’t too enamored with Elizabeth George’s last two Lynsey novels, I started this one with trepidation. However, I should not have been concerned. I really felt like this one was one of her best installments. As it begins, Ardury and Havers are sent to Ludlow to follow up on an suicide investigation. Due to Ardury’s increasing alcohol dependency clues are missed and not followed up. Barbara Havers is tasked in writing the report only to be conflicted of writing the report fully truthful or the truth that Ardury requires. From there, Lynley becomes involved and both Havers and Lynley are dispatched back to Ludlow for a full investigation. Definitely not one to be missed.

  • Chris Conley

    Heavenly days!!! Elizabeth George is amazing. This book looked daunting when I got it as it is 690 pages!!! I wanted to feel that she could have told the story in half that but, of course, she couldn’t. We needed every bit of it to solve the crime(s), examine all the players and come to a typical Lynley/Havers conclusion. This book is tremendous.

  • Tanja Berg

    I have a long history with Elizabeth George. She is one of just two authors that I read in my teens that I still read - the other being Stephen King. The very first book I read, when I was a anxiety and zit ridden teen, was "For the Sake of Elena". I was 16 years old or so, and had been reading adult fiction for just a couple of years. That book held a wealth of codes into the grown up world. It also had a Swedish professor who swore in his native tongue (my native tongue), which was fascinating

    I have a long history with Elizabeth George. She is one of just two authors that I read in my teens that I still read - the other being Stephen King. The very first book I read, when I was a anxiety and zit ridden teen, was "For the Sake of Elena". I was 16 years old or so, and had been reading adult fiction for just a couple of years. That book held a wealth of codes into the grown up world. It also had a Swedish professor who swore in his native tongue (my native tongue), which was fascinating as far away from my Nordic ancestors as I was (I was attending high school in Asia). The book also featured a rat called "Tidbit". I eventually got rats as pets myself, talk about influence!

    Twelve years later, 2005, I was reading "With no one as witness". I had spent a week with my pregnant sister and brother in-law on a remote island on the West Coast of Norway, with the vastness of the Atlantic just outside. My sister and her husband had just left, and the rented cottage - a house with five bedrooms - felt desolate. Toward the end of this book inspector Lynley loses his pregnant wife in a senseless act of violence. I think I bawled for the entire day. I have not cried with any fictional character as much as Lynley, because his loss intertwined with my own into sheer, bottomless misery.

    Thus I have high expectations and greatly look forward to a new Lynley novel by Elizabeth George. I admire her craft and I care deeply about her main characters. Despite all this, and for knowing DCC Isabelle, Inspector Lynley and sergeant Havers so well, this was a slow burn. The author weaves a tale in such a way that I had no idea as to the perpetrator or motive - or even if there had even been a murder - for about half the book.

    Isabelle Aredery and Barbara Havers looking into how a suspect could die - apparently suicide - in an unmanned police station is fascinating in its personal dynamics. Isabelle hates Barbara for her insubordination from the last book. Barbara can do nothing to stand up for herself, so she doesn't, but goes her own way anyway. This in the end, nearly gets her fired, but for Lynley - of course.

    Isabelle is ridden by her own demons of course - she is badly alcoholic and her ex husband is taking their sons to New Zealand. In many ways this book takes a look at addiction. How it starts, and how it ruins lives. The side characters are binge drinking college students.

    The sheer amount of personal detail and the incredibly well crafted story lands the rating on a 4*, although I thought a star lower for most of the book based on my enjoyment. There are few crime writer equal to Elizabeth George though and although this is a slow burn, there is still a wealth of fascinating detail.

    You can read this a stand alone, but you shouldn't. This works much better if you have the history of the characters from previous installments.

  • Laura

    Another good plot with Inspector Lynley and Sgt Barbara Havers acting in

    Another good plot with Inspector Lynley and Sgt Barbara Havers acting in another good detective story.

    4* A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1)

    5* Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)

    4* Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)

    5* A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, #4)

    5* For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)

    4* Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, #6)

    4* Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, #7)

    4* In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, #8)

    4* Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)

    4* In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, #10)

    4* A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)

    4* A Place of Hiding (Inspector Lynley, #12)

    4* With No One as Witness (Inspector Lynley, #13)

    4* What Came Before He Shot Her (Inspector Lynley, #14)

    3* Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley, #15)

    4* This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley, #16)

    4* Believing the Lie (Inspector Lynley, #17)

    3.5* Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley, #18)

    3* A Banquet of Consequences (Inspector Lynley, #19)

    4 * The Punishement She Deserves (Inspector Lynley, #20)

  • Lisa

    A multilayered, well-plotted mystery with a bunch of characters — trust the author, it all ties together in the end. Don’t let the 700-page length, or the fact that story is a reinvestigation of a reinvestigation of an investigation into an investigation of an apparent suicide, daunt you: Elizabeth George’s writing is smooth and her plots are intricate but clear and well paced. The pace is not breathless, but you get so into the story you hardly realize you’ve just read 50 pages. Inspector Lynle

    A multilayered, well-plotted mystery with a bunch of characters — trust the author, it all ties together in the end. Don’t let the 700-page length, or the fact that story is a reinvestigation of a reinvestigation of an investigation into an investigation of an apparent suicide, daunt you: Elizabeth George’s writing is smooth and her plots are intricate but clear and well paced. The pace is not breathless, but you get so into the story you hardly realize you’ve just read 50 pages. Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers are complex, often frustrating people but that’s what makes them so interesting. This is the 20th in the series but you don’t have to have read them all to enjoy this one.

  • Roger Brunyate

     

    Who is the "she" in Elizabeth George's title? There are many possibilities. First, the irrepressible, insubordinate, ill-kempt, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, who is my favorite character in the whole series for her colorful way of saying off-color things, brilliant instincts, and believable background. Barbara has managed to piss off many of her superiors at Scotland Yard, and at the beginning of the book she is sent off to Shropshire on an investigation with Detective Chief

     

    Who is the "she" in Elizabeth George's title? There are many possibilities. First, the irrepressible, insubordinate, ill-kempt, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, who is my favorite character in the whole series for her colorful way of saying off-color things, brilliant instincts, and believable background. Barbara has managed to piss off many of her superiors at Scotland Yard, and at the beginning of the book she is sent off to Shropshire on an investigation with Detective Chief Superintendent Isabelle Ardery, her arch-nemesis. The assignment has been designed as an opportunity for her to screw up, and be appropriately punished by exile to the far north.

    Or the "she" could be Isabelle Ardery herself, whom we have come to dislike in the previous novel,

    for the way she lords it over Barbara's immediate boss, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, whom she outranks only because she now occupies the administrative position that he refused. But very early in this new novel, Ardery reveals herself to have a problem with alcohol, and before long she is behaving worse than ever. I might have said that some of her scenes are bit too melodramatic to be believable, but then alcoholics can indeed behave in quite abnormal ways.

    One of the many ways in which Isabelle has failed is as a mother. Her divorced husband is about to move with their two sons to New Zealand, a decision she is fighting tooth and nail. But there are at least two other mothers in the book who, by having too little faith in their children, are in serious danger of ruining their lives. Any one of them could be the "she" in the title. It is one of the themes that tie the book together as more than merely another whodunnit.

    Finally, the "she" could be one of the handful of college-age girls in the town of Ludlow, where most of the action is set. Students at West Mercia College, we see them mostly either binge drinking, having promiscuous sex, or attempting to cope with the consequences of either — suffering punishments that are largely of their own making. The novel opens with two such girls going to an end-of-term celebration in a local pub, a situation that ends with them having to be carted away by the local Police Community Support Officer, who is all that is left to keep order in Ludlow after deep cutbacks in the regular force.

    For a long time, the relevance of these first two dozen pages is not clear; the case that brings Scotland Yard to Ludlow is the suicide in custody of a Church of England deacon, an accused pedophile. Isabelle and Barbara go there to report on the soundness of the original investigation, and their inquiry occupies most of the next 200 pages. But they return and, for reasons I shall not disclose,* Barbara is sent out again, this time with her own boss, DI Lynley. There are almost 500 pages still to go. In them, George will spend as much time or more on other characters as she does with the detectives. It is an unusual approach. Rather than discovering information solely through the police investigation, the reader is invited to share the thoughts and lives of a couple of dozen other characters, who may be bystanders, suspects, victims, officers of the law, or sometimes several of these at once.

    For the last two or three books of hers that I have read, I have felt that Elizabeth George was no longer a mystery writer, but a novelist who uses mystery as a means of prying open many other aspects of everyday life. Hence the importance of recurrent themes such as motherhood, substance abuse, failing marriages, and coming of age, that knit the book together as a true novel, rather than merely serving as clues to a solution. I find the mixture utterly engaging, especially since the American George now has no need to prove she can write a British mystery as well as any Brit, and since what I call the "series story" — the romantic lives of Lynley, Havers, and others — is allowed to take a back seat.

    All the same, I did not like this one quite as much as the last. One reason is that the lives of all these teenagers — Dena, Missa, Francie, Chelsea, Finn, and Brutus — is so far from my own now, and often so squalid, that I had a hard time caring about them as much as some of the older characters. Another is that I found it difficult to understand the mission of the Met's first trip to Ludlow. Isabelle insists that it is

    to investigate the deacon's death, or the justification for his arrest in the first place, though Barbara keeps blundering into the no-go area; it is quite a relief when, on her trip with Lynley, it becomes more like a normal investigation. And the reason for there even being a second trip at all hangs on a question of chronology that seems to be a matter of sloppy plotting on George's part.* Perhaps I also felt that George was a little perfunctory in tying up some of her many subplots — not the mysteries, which were admirably solved, but some novel aspects such as the rehabilitation of the various problem characters, which seemed a trifle too optimistic. But this could also be a compliment to her ability to create such characters in the first place, and take them into emotional areas far beyond the range of a more normal genre offering.

    ======

    In her acknowledgements, George remarks that she likes to research a particular part of England in which to set each novel. She used Somerset for her previous book; this time, she moves north, to Ludlow in Shropshire, the bracing hills and smaller villages around, and the cathedral cities of the west country. And she is very good in evoking her setting. I was at school in Shropshire sixty years ago, and revisited the area a decade ago. It took me back to my last trip to that region, when I took the photos of Ludlow below:

    *See my first comment, which I have posted as a spoiler.

  • Lobstergirl

    Like a mediocre muffin dotted with delicious chocolate chips were Lynley and Havers in this nearly 700 page tome. I used it for upper arm workouts during breaks from reading. There is an interminable quantity of uninteresting storyline here involving binge-drinking college students, screwing and blowjobbing college students, and an Anglo-Indian family falling apart. The Isabelle Ardery thread was surprisingly welcome. We hate her because she is a termagant and has a sexual past with Lynley, and

    Like a mediocre muffin dotted with delicious chocolate chips were Lynley and Havers in this nearly 700 page tome. I used it for upper arm workouts during breaks from reading. There is an interminable quantity of uninteresting storyline here involving binge-drinking college students, screwing and blowjobbing college students, and an Anglo-Indian family falling apart. The Isabelle Ardery thread was surprisingly welcome. We hate her because she is a termagant and has a sexual past with Lynley, and our hatred is nudged along here by her uncontrollable drunkenness. Every time she thinks about reaching for the airline vodka bottle, pulls her hand away, and then reaches for it again and downs it, readers will cheer. We won't be happy until she is finally destroyed.

    Something interesting happens to Lynley, in that George makes his aristocraticness the

    of his good character and virtues. He is so well-bred that it has become impossible for him to do wrong. The book does in fact end with a scene in which Lynley bullies Havers, but this is portrayed as doing her a favor.

  • Rachel

    I listened to this book on audible.com. The narration was brilliant especially Havers who gave me some laugh out loud moments. I’m a bit surprised to see so many 5 star ratings . I found it all a little tedious at times. Who was doing what to who? I thought it got bogged down a bit in binge drinking, casual sex and was all a bit teenagie even though that isn’t a word! We love to hate Isobel Adery but I found her dialogue often repetitive, I did get tired of her saying ‘Stop calling me Isobel’. I

    I listened to this book on audible.com. The narration was brilliant especially Havers who gave me some laugh out loud moments. I’m a bit surprised to see so many 5 star ratings . I found it all a little tedious at times. Who was doing what to who? I thought it got bogged down a bit in binge drinking, casual sex and was all a bit teenagie even though that isn’t a word! We love to hate Isobel Adery but I found her dialogue often repetitive, I did get tired of her saying ‘Stop calling me Isobel’. I am quite hoping her rehab takes longer than expected and we get a break. Now, talking about breaks, when oh when is Elizabeth George going to give us a grown up Havers and when is Dorothea going to start calling her Barbara especially at the tap classes? This inclusion was tedious and I have to wonder why it was even included and why on earth did Winston’s parents go to the concert let alone Tommy? It all seemed so childish. Several times throughout this book I had to wonder if George was trying to write a big book or a good book. I love Tommy and Barbara so can we perhaps have a Barbara who is FINALLY recognised for her skills and is a bone fide adult next time and stick to crime and hopefully no concerts.

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