Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George: B+

From the back cover:
When thirteen-year-old Matthew Whateley 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…

While I did enjoy this book, and felt that the mystery was probably the best in the series so far, it had some pretty significant flaws that ultimately kept it out of the “A” range.

In the previous two books, it had been the personal lives of and interactions between the main detectives that I enjoyed best, with the case itself a distant second. Not so with this installment. I appreciated the decision to show Lynley and Havers working together quite companionably now; any further angsting about possible insuitability would’ve been frustrating; the time was right to move away from that theme.

Doing so, however, left a hole that ended up being only partially filled. There’s a subplot involving Havers’s family and also one involving a couple (friends of Lynley’s) who’ve suffered a chain of miscarriages. The former was okay, though its outcome was predictable, but the latter appeared so sparsely that when it did intrude upon the narrative, it was annoying rather than affecting.

The case itself offered many twists, and though I had a gut feeling about the culprit relatively early on, I was still swayed into suspecting various folks at various times. I thought it got a little convoluted near the end, but otherwise it was good.

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  1. I have to agree about the whole Deborah subplot. It does factor in with later books, but I did feel that on the whole it was very poorly done up until like 2 or 3 books ago. At which point I decided I didn’t like her at all. 🙂

  2. Ugh. I didn’t realize there’d be /more/ of it! 🙂

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