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Inspector Lynley Books In Order

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Publication Order of Inspector Lynley Books

By: Elizabeth George, Elizabeth George
A Great Deliverance (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Payment in Blood (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Well-Schooled in Murder (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Suitable Vengeance (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
For the Sake of Elena (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Missing Joseph (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Playing for the Ashes (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Presence of the Enemy (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deception on His Mind (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Traitor to Memory (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Place of Hiding (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
With No One as Witness (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Came Before He Shot Her (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Careless in Red (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Body of Death (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Believing the Lie (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Just One Evil Act (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Banquet of Consequences (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Punishment She Deserves (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Something to Hide (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Suitable Vengeance is a prequel novel in the Inspector Lynley series and should be read before A Great Deliverance when reading the novels in chronological order.

About Inspector Lynley:

Thomas Lynley 8th Earl of Asherton is an inspector for Scotland Yard and has played the leading role in 18 novels written by Elizabeth George. Lynley’s first appearance was in 1988 in the novel titled A Great Deliverance. He is described as “the blonde, blue-blooded, and bloody complicated chief detective.” (Book Maven Media 2010) As an upperclassman in British society, Lynley constantly struggles with his lineage.

Throughout the series, Inspector Lynley is partnered up with Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, who comes from the “other side of the tracks” than Lynley. Throughout much of the series, Lynley and Havers constantly run into personality clashes involving gender, personality and class. Lynley is an earl and Havers comes from a working-class background. Havers is described as an unattractive individual who is short-tempered making her very difficult to work with. Her poor attitude eventually leads to her demotion in the series. She despises Lynley who happens to be her superior. Readers are also made aware that Havers carries the burdening task of taking care of her aging parents, which takes quite a toll on her at times.

A Great Deliverance

In this 1988 novel, Inspectors Lynley and Havers are first introduced when he has to investigate why Roberta Teys chopped off her father’s head with and ax. Not only is she confessing to this brutal murder, she almost seems proud of it, and definitely not sorry. Their journey gives them an up-close look at just how scandalous the seemingly innocent Keldale truly is; full of appalling crimes.

Payment in Blood

Published in 1990, this dramatic mystery sequel takes Lynley and Havers through an investigation of the murder of Joy Sinclair, an actress in the Scottish Highlands. They must find the murderer in a list of suspects that includes the woman Lynley loves.

Other Novels Starring Inspector Lynley

Inspector Lynley goes on to star in 16 other novels by Elizabeth George, including, Well Schooled in Murder (1991), A Suitable Vengeance (1992), For the Sake of Elena (1993), Missing Joseph (1994), Playing for the Ashes (1995), In the Presence of the Enemy (1997), Deception on His Mind (1998), In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (2000), A Traitor to Memory (2002), A Place of Hiding (2003) With No One as Witness (2005), What Came Before He Shot Her (2006), Careless in Red (2008). This Body of Death (2010), Believing the Lie (2012), and Just One Evil Act (2013).

In the most recent novel of the series, Just One Evil Act, which focuses more on Barbara Havers as the main character, Barbara and Lynley help track down the daughter of Barbara’s friend, Taymullah Azhar. His daughter has been kidnapped by her mother, and because his name is not on her birth certificate, he has no legal claim on her. To make things more challenging, the kidnapping happened in an Italian marketplace and the Italian police are investigating the case, so Scotland Yard cannot get involved.

Awards and Nominations

A Great Deliverance received the Agatha Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the Edgar Award in 1988. It also won the 1989 Anthony Award for Best Novel.


Many of the Lynley novels were adapted into a television series titled The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. It stars Nathaniel Parker as the well-groomed Thomas Lynley and Sharon Small as the short-tempered Barbara Havers. This show successfully aired on BBC from March 2001 to June 2008. The entire series was also showed on PBS from 2002 to 2008. The complete series also made it to DVD in the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and most continental European countries. “When it debuted on PBS in 2002, Wall Street Journal declared the Inspector Lynley Mysteries “fully worthy of the mystery label”. While the novels are both crime and character novels, the television series itself focuses more on the crimes rather than the characters.

About the Author

Elizabeth George was born on February 26, 1949 in Warren, Ohio; however, shortly after her birth her family moved to the San Francisco Bay area where she grew up. She has an older brother, Robert R. George who is also an author. She married Ira Jay Toibin in 1971; however, they were divorced in 1995. Elizabeth received her teaching certificate from the University of California in Riverside, and also carries a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychology.

Elizabeth received an honorary doctorate from Cal State University Fullerton in 2004 and was awarded an honorary Masters in Fine Arts from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts in 2010. She also started the Elizabeth George Foundation. Founded in 1997, “The Elizabeth George Foundation makes artistic grants to unpublished fiction writers, to poets, to emerging playwrights and to organizations benefiting disadvantaged youth. These grants cover expenses in a number of areas.” (George, 2014)

Originally set out to be a teacher, Elizabeth worked for Mater Dei High School but was fired for union activity. Her English teaching career continued on and ended at El Toro High School in El Toro, California. It was there that she received the Orange County Teacher of the Year Award. After thirteen years of teaching she left when she completed her first novel, A Great Deliverance. Contrary to popular belief due to her vast library of British novels that she has written and much to her readers’ surprise, Elizabeth was born and raised in the United States. She is not British and does not even speak with a British accent. In addition to her previously listed Awards for Great Deliverance, Elizabeth was also awarded Germany’s MIMI for her novel, Well-Schooled In Murder.

Elizabeth’s writing style focuses on the current book rather than looking ahead to future novels in the series. She is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, who started the tradition of crime stories having continuing characters with C. Augustine Dupine. She sees logic in this format rather than having to recreate similar, but different, characters for each novel she writes.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Inspector Lynley

9 Responses to “Inspector Lynley”

  1. Gaya Fernando: 4 months ago

    Dear EG, This is a funny story. My 14 yr old has a penchant for watching older detective series set in UK so switched to the Lynley Mysteries after a Justice John Deed spell with me. Our TV screen blacked out 15 mins before episode Missing Joseph and we couldnt stream on laptop so I just ordered your book as I had to know WHY Juliet killed the vicar so viciously, Robin Sage. WOW! The plot twists and characters were akin to stepping out of a maisonette flat into a villa with many rooms. Love your direct articulations of human nature, men in particular. Ha! Gonna read A Great Deliverance next!

  2. Dianne Schrimp: 1 year ago

    I have read all of the Lynley mysteries. Am now watching the TV series. I prefer the books and find that they leave or change situations in the TV series. I prefer the characters of my imagination rather than the actors they have chosen to play the parts. I agree your Lynley is more sophisticated and dashing. Barbara is not like the one in your books. I will go on reading as new books come out. The TV series is passable.

  3. Erica Ling: 2 years ago

    If fantasy casting were possible, I would have loved Lawrence Fox as Lynnley and a younger Brenda Blethyn as Barbara. But imagining the book characters is much more fun. Thank you for these books, I enjoy them.

  4. Penny Mason: 2 years ago

    I see I am not the only one who is disgruntled with the TV Lynley, how ’bout James Norton instead.

  5. Gerew Merrilee: 2 years ago

    If you please, what is the name of Inspector Lynsey’s brother?

    • Peter: 2 years ago

      Thomas is ten years older than his brother, Peter.

  6. kenlyn kanouse: 2 years ago

    I agree with Janice. Lynley’s brown hair and unrefined bone structure always pulled me out of the story in the early TV series. So I stopped watching.

  7. Susan LeGrow: 3 years ago

    Will there be just one more episode of Lynley Mysteries? That’s all would take for Tommy and Barbara to finally realized they love each other. The series didn’t end well, to many loose ends.

  8. Janice Galioto: 3 years ago

    Dear Ms. George,
    I adore your Lynley books. You an outstanding and super intelligent author.
    I have a comment about the TV series. I was very disappointment that Lynley has such dark hair, when his blond hair was mentioned many times. I am a little disappointed with the actor that plays Lynley…he doesn’t seem as sophistigated or dashing as your Lynley. But I will continue to read your books. Thank you Janice Galioto


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