Book info

For The Sake Of Elena (1992)

For the Sake of Elena (1992)
Rating
3.97 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0340831367 (ISBN13: 9780340831366)
languge
English
publisher
bantam
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For The Sake Of Elena (1992)
For The Sake Of Elena (1992)

About book: Elena Weaver is dead, waylaid while on her pre-dawn run, smashed in the face with the ubiquitous blunt object, strangled with the tie from her hood and buried in a leaf pile by the river. Within three days of her murder and because of it, eight more people will be dead, in body or in soul. But four others will be saved, particularly in soul, including our Lynley, Havers and Lady Helen.Elena was 20 years old at the time of her death. A second-year student, she was studying English at Cambridge University where her father is an eminent history professor on the very short list for a distinguished, coveted and lifetime Chair in his department. And it is only because of her father’s stature at Cambridge that Elena was still a student there. Not only had her course work been sub-standard, her personal behavior had been more than questionable. So rather than dismiss her, in deference to her father, the university ordered an “action plan” implemented with multiple tutors and mandatory participation in several student unions. Her grades improved but her acting-out behavior simply went underground and essentially became the beginning of her end.As with most catastrophes, the debacle leading up to and following Elena’s murder did not just happen overnight. It actually began twenty years earlier when Elena was born deaf to a set of parents who were not prepared to raise a deaf child. And they didn’t want a deaf child. They wanted a normal child, so they refused to allow her to learn sign language, forcing her to read lips and speak.Fast forward five years to when the parents, in a loveless marriage from the first days, divorce, the father leaving in the middle of the night without so much as a hug for Elena, let alone a parting word. Fast forward another five years to the remarriage of the father and his attempt to reconcile with the child, not understanding the degree and depth to which his ex-wife has fueled Elena’s sense of abandonment and poisoned the child with her own hate.Now, fast forward once again to the present, where Elena has been essentially forced by finances to attend her father’s school. Badgered to spend weekends at her father’s up-scale home, pressured into attending academic functions with her father, coerced into having virtually 24-hour supervision by tutors, she is even forced to do her daily running with her stepmother. And it is all for her safety and all in the name of love, so sayeth her father.Elena was tired of being forced to be someone that she did not want to be and, in reality, truly could never be. She was deaf and no amount of lip reading or speech therapy or wanting her to be “normal” could or would ever change that fact. Childhood abandonment turned into adolescent hate, which turned into a young adult’s unwavering need to exact revenge against the father who had never once asked her what she wanted or what she needed.So, honed into a sociopath from birth, Elena set in motion a long-term plan for revenge. She just didn’t expect that her plot would culminate in her death, rather than in her satisfaction. Of course, the immaturity and inexperience of youth and its attendant self-absorption rarely allows for the idea that someone else may be driven to play the same game, let alone be better at it.While a murder has occurred and a murderer must be found, this is not totally a murder mystery. This is a psychological thriller based on the concepts of love, need and want. This is a story that pits selfishness against selflessness and against partnership.This is a story about what a person wants and the actions he or she will take, the words he or she will say, to get what is wanted. It is a story about having no equal regard – consciously or unconsciously – for what another person wants or needs. It is a story of soul-level destruction and redemption. And this is a story where love, hate and revenge are only the outward ramifications of the fundamental need to take care of me, mine, myself and I.Elizabeth George has produced an excellent literary mystery in this fifth entry to her Inspector Lynley series. It is a long book, 442 pages in the mass-market paperback version. And those pages are filled with a small typeface and lines spaced tightly together. George uses college-level vocabulary and a unique sentence structure so the read is made longer by the need to sometimes consult a dictionary or to re-read for clarity.But, in the end, the unusual construct makes the storyline that much more intense. While the investigation by Lynley and Havers oft times seems slow and subdued and even appears to take second place to the various psychological subplots, this reader did not want to put the book down until the identify of the murderer was revealed. I simply could not let go until I knew exactly who had opened such an emotionally nasty and particularly heinous Pandora’s Box.

The 5th Inspector Lynley mystery was, for lake of a better word, a little to smutty for me. I've read the first four novels in the series and so I know Elizabeth George can be a bit graphic, but there was just to much in this novel for my tastes.The other reason this is not a favorite Elizabeth George is because I did not care for the characters. The more I learned about the victim, the less I liked her. I found her manipulative, two faced attitude annoying. I understand that you are not necessarily supposed to like the victim, but this one just really bugged me more than the victims in previous books. I also thought her mother was just a tad to psychotic and her father was just messed up. For whatever reason, I just could not get into the characters and therefore could not get into the story. The ending left me feeling a bit cheated. I thought the motive for the murder was extremely flimsy and pushed the limits of a good mystery.Lynley and Havers have fallen into a good partnership in this book. I do kind of miss all of Havers' crazy misjudgments of Lynley and the misunderstandings between them. I really enjoyed it when Lynley had a conversation with Havers in his head because he knew exactly how she would react to what he was thinking. What I enjoy most about this series is what goes on in the lives of the main characters outside of the investigations. (But the investigations are good too!)
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Reviews
Megargee
Having once lectured at Cambridge University and spent the night at Trinity College, which is supposedly next door to the fictional St. Stephens where this Lynley and Havers murder mystery takes place, I was probably more interested than most in the setting. That said, the meticulous descriptions of the various architectural accoutrements grew tedious. George's obsession with detail even extends to eating behavior. When Lynley and Havers discuss the crime over a pub lunch, we are given a bite by bite depiction of their meals, shepherds’ pie for him, crisps for her, followed by fish, chips, and peas which she soaks in vinegar before consuming chip by chip, pea by pea, munching, we are told, between sentences. Meanwhile, their case, the bludgeoning of the deaf daughter of a Cambridge don while she was out for her morning run, drags on, revelation by revelation, unpleasant witness by unpleasant witness, one controlling male (or in the case of a lesbian couple, masculine partner) after another. Meanwhile Lynley works on his issues with Helen (she’s back from abroad) while Havers must deal with her now-widowed-as-well-as-demented mother. Eventually their issues get resolved and the case gets solved. By then I had really ceased to care.
Toni Osborne
5th book in the Inspector Lynley seriesElena was a student at St. Stephen's college, living a life of casual and intense physical and emotional relationships. One day while doing her morning run someone lying in wait along the route bludgeons her to death. The university turns to the New Scotland Yard, who assigns Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner detective Barbara Havers to solve the case. Entering the world of Cambridge University they sift through clues to Elena's elusive character to find her killer.This mystery in my opinion was utterly absorbing one of Ms George best. The characters evoke a strong reaction; you are torn between liking and disliking them. They are very complex; each one has their weaknesses you can sympathize with. The story is well plotted absorbing you completely; you weave through a web of intrigues so intricate and subtle keeping you in suspense till the end. The author does a wonderful job capturing the inner world of college life and the role of well-meaning and loving individuals trying to meet the expectations of those they love.On a secondary note, things are still left unresolved, one, is the confusion about Inspector Lynley's relationship with Lady Helen, he is ardently pursuing her, and second, Havers is still dealing with a dilemma on how to help her elderly mother. Both professional and private lives of the main characters are equally interesting and the author blends the two very well
Lobstergirl
A very slutty deaf girl is bludgeoned to death whilst jogging near her Cambridge college. Was the killer one of her lovers? Was it a misogynistic Shakespeare professor with an enormous penis? Was it her frigid, Stepfordesque stepmother? Will we have to explore the artistic feud between Whistler and Ruskin, and dissect much facile gibberish about art and the creative impulse before the unlikely murderer with even unlikelier motivations is revealed? Will we ponder the differences between middle-aged women (thickening waists, broadening hips, sagging breasts, crows feet, pear shapes, barren wombs) and young (slim, firm, smelling of ripe fruit)? George researches her topics diligently (deaf politics, art, jazz), writes about them somewhat less successfully; the whiff of the neophyte clings to them. On balance this is an absorbing mystery, with Lynley and Havers struggling with elusive Helen and demented Mum as they crimesolve.
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