A young scholarship student at a high toned English boarding school is found murdered in a cemetery about an hour away from the school. He is naked and his body shows signs that he has been tortured. Inspector Lynley is called in to investigate. He finds it hard to get information about the murder at the school because of the student's notions of honor.
Suspects include an old schoolmate of Lynley's who is a house master at the school; three of the older students who may have been involved in bullying the younger students; a member of the school's board of governors who has recommended the scholarship student and some of the other staff members at the school. In the course of solving the case, Lynley must face up to his ideas about loyalty and honor.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein
When 13-year-old Matthew Whately's body turns up tortured, nude and dead in a churchyard, Inspector Lynley enters the case because it crosses jurisdictions and an old school friend of his who teaches at Matthew's secluded and exclusive school asks for his help. The extremely involved and complicated plot involves teachers, students, a powerful journalist and benefactor to the school, premarital and extramarital sex, pornography, bullying, and pregnancies -- successful and less so. George spins a masterful tale, and her primary characters (Lynley, his beloved Helen Clyde who turned down his offer of marriage at the end of _Payment in Blood_ and fled to Greece, forensic scientist and friend Simon St. James, and his wife Deborah) develop more complexity and depth.
This report prepared by David Loftus
This is my favorite of the Elizabeth George novels. Inspector Thomas Lynley
of the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) is called in to investigate the death of a school
boy, whose body has been discovered in a local churchyard. With Sergeant Barbara
Havers, he sets out, with kid gloves, to look into this delicate matter. The boy was a
student at a prestigious public school, one with all the old school ties, complete with the
pledges of undying loyalty and honor. It is up to the inspector to sort out who murdered
the boy and why his body was found in the churchyard, some distance away from the
school. Just as the institution is old and stuffy, secrets it houses are just as old and stuffy
and for Inspector Lynley, it takes all his faculties to close this case.
This report prepared by Bill Hobbs