64. Payment in Blood

Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George
Second Lynley & Havers Mystery

Pages: 312
Finished: Apr. 5, 2008
First Published: 1989
Genre: British mystery
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

Gowan Kilbride, aged sixteen, had never been much for early rising.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

Comments: A London theatre group of actors visits Scotland for the weekend to stay at the director's sister's manor house turned hotel. The next morning the playwright is found stabbed to death in her bed with the door locked. Strangely, Scotland Yard is called in almost immediately and Lynley and Havers take over the case.

The story starts off slowly and at first I was rather disappointed. Having really enjoyed A Great Deliverance I expected more than the Agatha Christie-like British cozy atmosphere of the first 100 pages. However, at page 99 (in my book) the case took a turn and it became the first of many twists and turns in the mystery. Also, the plot revolved heavily around the British class system which I found tedious. I really don't like the character of Helen. Every time she speaks I ask myself "Do people really speak like this?" And if a 'Lady' really does speak that way how could someone of Lynely's supposed intelligence fall for such pretense?

Ultimately I'm of two minds with this book. I did enjoy it, but it's certainly not as good as A Great Deliverance. The mystery itself was fun and I enjoyed the supporting cast of characters. While I did find parts of it tedious it's not enough to deter me from trying the third book in this series. We'll see if I continue with the series after that.


  1. I felt the same way you did about this one - and then I learned (if memory serves me - it was quite a few years ago) that this was actually written first, as the first book in the series, but it was bouncing around to publishers as she wrote A Great Deliverance, which sold before #1. So that's why there were also some odd chronological things going on. Don't worry, from here they get better and better! I'm glad you're not deterred from reading #3.

  2. Thanks darla! That certainly does make sense. I'm so glad to hear you say they get better! I'm really hoping the next one will be more like A Great Deliverance.


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