OB's reviews of the first three books in the Inspector Lynley series have compelled me to reread them - I initially read them around the time of publication, which in the case of this book was 1988. I think that I probably read it in the early 1990's, maybe 1994 or so. I have a very distinct memory of reading one of the first entries into the series on a cruise ship balcony. I don't recall if I had picked up the book in one of those terrible cruise ship libraries that are the sad depository of musty Barbara Cartlands and poorly-written thrillers, or if it was one of the carefully curated stack of books I packed, long before the invention of the kindle meant that I could carry an entire library in my purse.
I forgot how good the beginning of this series is. This is really just an outstanding mystery - disturbing, emotionally resonant and horrifying. Tommy Lynley feels a little bit underdeveloped, but we're already getting deep into Barbara Havers, who is by far the best character in the series. In fact, tbh, George probably should have called it the DI Barbara Havers series.
I just placed a library hold on book 2. I can't remember when the books start to decline, but I do remember THAT BOOK. The one that all of you other series readers will also remember - where George goes completely off the fucking rails and takes a wrecking ball to everything that she has spent a dozen or so books building.