To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's lush green valleys. Three hundred years ago, as legend goes, the frightened Yorkshire villagers smothered a crying babe in Keldale Abbey, where they'd hidden to escape the ravages of Cromwell's raiders.
Now into Keldale's pastoral web of old houses and older secrets comes Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton. Along with the redoubtable Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, Lynley has been sent to solve a savage murder that has stunned the peaceful countryside. For fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father's headless corpse. Her first and last words were "I did it. And I'm not sorry."
Yet as Lynley and Havers wind their way through Keldale's dark labyrinth of secret scandals and appalling crimes, they uncover a shattering series of revelations that will reverberate through this tranquil English valley--and in their own lives as well.
Wonderful Beginning!, March 4, 2003 Reviewer: khadsm from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada The first in this superb mystery series, A Great Deliverance introduces most of the major characters that inhabit Elizabeth George's later books. George's characters are clearly well fleshed out - care is taken in giving them distinct and memorable personalities. Both DI Lynley and DS Barbara Havers leave strong first impressions - him for being charming and composed, Havers for being just the opposite. The affable Simon St. James makes his first appearance, along with his lovely new wife Deborah. Also, Lady Helen Clyde rounds off the list of characters that readers grow to love in later books. In this mystery, when Roberta Teys is found clutching her dead father's decapitated body in quiet Keldale, DI Lynley, the eight earl of Asherton, is called in to investigate. Much to her distaste, DS Havers is assigned to work alongside him. They must, however, work together in order to unravel the mystery. They find themselves digging into the past and uncovering hidden family secrets and later enlisting the aid of the St. James'. Both Havers and Lynley are forced to confront personal demons and come to terms with their own failings before they can resolve the matter. They manage to put aside misconceptions of each other, and take a positive step towards the friendship that characterizes the rest of the series. After reaching its climax, the mystery ends neatly, with all the loose ends tied together satisfactorily. Along the way, the book gives tantalizing hints into the relationships between the characters, ensuring that you simply have to read the next book in the series, if only to see the development of these relationships. All in all, a great beginning to what is later a great series - A Great Deliverance is a must read for all mystery fans!