The fourth Lynley-St. James mystery is actually a prequel to the first three. It takes the principals back roughly a decade and explores their histories -- with each other as well as in general -- along with investigating a murder (which becomes three deaths) on the Cornish south coast of England. A journalist is found clubbed and castrated; was he the victim of a jealous husband or working on a big news story that would embarrass someone? Also, Thomas Lynley's little brother Peter and Simon St. James's sister Sidney are either addicted to drugs or involved with someone who is, and their addictions appear to be connected with the crime, shaking the foundation of Lynley (Lord Asherton)'s family and unearthing old secrets and wounds. Although the plot has George's typical complexity (one plus is that St. James and Lady Helen are responsible for big breaks in the case), it does not have quite the polish of its predecessors -- dialogue is especially weak at times -- and it wouldn't surprise me if it had in fact been written before the others.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus