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A Great Deliverance: An Inspector Lynley Novel: 1 (Anglais) Broché – 12 avril 2012

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Chapter One

It was a solecism of the very worst kind. He sneezed loudly, wetly, and quite unforgivably into the woman's face. He'd been holding it back for three-quarters of an hour, fighting it off as if it were Henry Tudor's vanguard in the Battle of Bosworth. But at last he'd surrendered. And after the act, to make matters worse, he immediately began to snuffle.

The woman stared. She was exactly the type whose presence always reduced him to blithering idiocy. At least six feet tall, dressed in that wonderfully insouciant mismatch of clothing so characteristic of the British upper classes, she was ageless, timeless, and she peered at him through razor blue eyes, the sort that must have reduced many a parlourmaid to tears forty years ago. She had to be well over sixty, possibly closer to eighty, but one could never tell. She sat bolt upright in her seat, hands clasped in her lap, a finishing-school posture which made no concessions towards comfort.

And she stared. First at his Roman collar, then at his undeniably dripping nose.

Do forgive, darling. A thousand apologies. Let's not allow a little faux pas like a sneeze to come between such a friendship as ours. He was always so amusing when engaged in mental conversations. It was only aloud that everything became a terrible muddle.

He snuffled again. Again she stared. Why on earth was she travelling second class? She'd swept into the carriage in Doncaster, like a creaking Salome with rather more than seven veils to her ensemble, and for the remainder of the trip she'd alternated between imbibing the railway's foul-smelling tepid coffee and staring at him with a disapproval that shouted Church of England at every available opportunity.

And then came the sneeze. Unimpeachably correct behaviour from Dancaster to London might have somehow excused his Roman Catholicism to her. But alas, the sneeze condemned him forever.

"I ... ah ... that is ... if you'll excuse ..." It was simply no good. His handkerchief was deep within his pocket. To reach it he would have to loosen his grasp on the battered attaché case in his lap, and that was unthinkable. She would just have to understand. We aren't talking about a breach of etiquette here, madam. We are talking about MURDER. Upon that thought, he snuffled with self-righteous vigour.

Hearing this, the woman sat even more correctly in her seat, every fibre of her body straining to project disapproval. Her glance said it all. It was a chronicle of her thoughts, and he could read each one: Pitiful little man. Pathetic. Not a day under seventy-five and looking positively every second of it. And so very much what one would expect of a Catholic priest: a face with three separate nicks from a poor job at shaving; a crumb of morning toast embedded in the corner of his mouth; shiny black suit mended at elbows and cuffs; squashed hat rimmed with dust. And that dreadful case in his lap! Ever since Doncaster he had been acting as if she'd boarded the train with the deliberate intention of snatching it from him and hurling herself out the window. Lord!

The woman sighed and turned away from him as if seeking salvation. But none was apparent. His nose continued to dribble until the slowing of the train announced that they were finally approaching their journey's end.

She stood and scourged him with a final look. "At last I understand what you Catholics mean by purgatory," she hissed and swept down the aisle to the door.

"Oh dear," muttered Father Hart. "Oh dear, I sup-pose I really have…" But she was gone. The train had come to a complete halt under the vaulted ceiling of the London station. It was time to do what he
had come to the city to do.

He looked about to make sure that he was in possession of all his belongings, a pointless operation since he had brought nothing with him from Yorkshire save the single attaché case that had as yet not left his grip. He squinted out the window at the vast expanse of King's Cross Station.

He had been more prepared for a station like Victoria-or at least the Victoria he remembered from his youth-with its comforting old brick walls, its stalls and buskers, these latter always staying one step ahead of the metropolitan police. But King's Cross was something altogether different: long stretches of tiled floor, seductive advertisements hanging from the ceiling, newsagents, tobacconists, hamburger shops. And all the people--many more than he had expected--in queues for tickets, gobbling down hurried snacks as they raced for trains, arguing, laughing, and kissing goodbye. Every race, every colour. It was all so different. He wasn't sure he could bear the noise and confusion.

"Getting out, Father, or planning to stop t' night?"

Startled, Father Hart looked up into the ruddy face of the porter who had helped him find his seat earlier that morning upon the train's departure from York. It was a pleasant, north country face with the winds of the moors etched upon it in a hundred separate blood vessles that rode and broke near the surface of his skin.

His eyes were flinty blue, quick and perceptive. And Father Hart felt them like a touch as they slid in a friendly but querying movement from his face to the attaché case. Tightening his fingers round the handle, he stiffened his body, hoping for resolution and getting an excruciating cramp in his left foot instead. He moaned as the--balled hotly to its zenith.

The porter spoke anxiously. "Maybe you oughtn't be travellin' alone. Sure you don't need no help, like?"

He did, of course he did. But no one could help. He couldn't help himself.

"No, no. I'm off this very moment. And you've been more than kind. My seat, you know. The initial confusion."

The porter waved his words away. "Don't mind that. There's lots of folks don't realise them tickets means reserved. No harm done, was there?"

"No. I suppose…" Father Hart drew in a quick, sustaining breath. Down the aisle, out the door, find the tube, he told himself. None of that could be as insurmountable as it seemed. He shuffled towards the exit. His case, clutched two-handed upon his stomach, bounced with each step.

Behind him, the porter spoke. "'Ere, Father, the door's a bit much. I'll see to 't."

He allowed the man space to get past him in the aisle. Already two surly-looking railway cleaners were squeezing in the rear door, rubbish sacks over their shoulders, ready to prepare the train for its return trip to York. They were Pakistani, and although they spoke English, Father Hart found that he couldn't understand a single word beneath the obfuscation of their accepts.

The realisation filled him with dread. What was he doing here in the nation's capital where the inhabitants were foreigners who looked at him with cloudy, hostile eyes and immigrant faces? What paltry good could he hope to do? What silliness was this? Who would ever believe--

"Need some help, Father?"

Father Hart finally moved decisively. "No. Fine. Simply fine."

He negotiated the steps, felt the concrete platform beneath his feet, heard the calling of pigeons
high in the vaulted ceiling of the station. He began to make his distracted way down the platform towards the exit and Euston Road. -

Behind him again he heard the porter. "Someone meeting you? Know where you're going? Where you off to now?"

The priest straightened his shoulders. He waved a goodbye. "Scotland Yard," he replied firmly.

* * *

St. Pancras Station, directly across the street from King's Cross, was such an architectural antithesis of the latter that Father Hart stood for several moments simply staring at its neo-Gothic magnificence. The clamour of traffic on Euston Road and the malodourous belching of two diesel-fuelled lorries at the pavement's edge faded into insignificance. He was a bit of an architecture buff, and this particular building was architecture gone wild.

"Good heavens, that's wonderful," he murmured, tilting his head to have a better view of the railway station's peaks and valleys. "A bit of a cleaning and she'd be a regular palace." He looked about absently, as if he would stop the next passerby and give a discourse on the evils that generations of coal fires had wrought upon the old building. "Now, I wonder who…"

The two-note siren of a police van howled suddenly down Caledonian Road, shrieking through the intersection onto Euston. It brought the priest back to reality. He shook himself mentally, part in irritation but another, greater part in fear. His mind was wandering daily now. And that signalled the end, didn't it? He swallowed a gagging lump of tenor and sought new determination. His eyes fell upon the scream of a headline across the morning paper propped up on a nearby newsstand. He stepped toward it curiously. RIPPER STRIKES AT VAUXHALL STATION!

Ripper! He shrank from the words, cast a look about, and then gave himself over to one quick paragraph from the story, skimming it rapidly lest a closer perusal betray an interest in morbidity unseemly in a man of the cloth. Words, not sentences, caught his sight. Slashed... semi-nude bodies... arteries… severed... victims male...

He shivered. His fingers went to his throat and he considered its true vulnerability. Even a Roman collar was no certain protection from the knife of a killer. It would seek. It would plunge.

The thought was shattering. He staggered back from the newsstand, and mercifully saw the underground sign a mere thirty feet away. It jogged his memory.

He groped in his pocket for a map of the city's underground system and spent a moment painstakingly perusing its crinkled surface. "The circle line to St. James's Park," he told himself. And then again with more authority, "The circle line to St. James's Park. The circle line to St. James's Park."

Like a Gregorian chant, he repeated the sentence as he descended the stairs. He maintained its metre and rhythm up to the ticket window and did not cease until he had placed himself squarely on the train. There he glanced at the other occupants of the car, found two elderly ladies watching him with unveiled avidity, and ducked his head. "So confusing," he explained, trying out a timid smile of friendship. "One gets so turned about."

"All kinds is what I'm tellin' you, Pammy," the younger of the two women declared to her companion. She shot a look of practiced, chilling contempt at the cleric. "Disguised as anything, I hear." Keeping her watery eyes on the confused priest, she dragged her withered friend to her feet, clung to the poles near the door, and urged her out loudly at the very next stop.

Father Hart watched their departure with resignation. No blaming them, he thought. One couldn't trust. Not ever. Not really. And that's what he'd come to London to say: that it wasn't the truth. It only looked like the truth. A body, a girl, and a bloody axe. But it wasn't the truth. He had to convince them, and... Oh Lord, he had so little talent for this. But God was on his side. He held onto that thought. What I'm doing is right, what I'm doing is right, what I'm doing is right. Replacing the other, this new chant took him right to the doors of New Scotland Yard. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

(TV series) 'suspense aplenty . . . in this above-average whodunit.' (Weekend Mail )

Excellent . . . An exciting debut (The Times )

A dauntingly clever chiller (Sunday Times )

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Hodder Paperbacks (12 avril 2012)
  • Collection : Inspector Lynley
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1444738267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444738261
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,8 x 2,2 x 19,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 141.350 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Colette hartmann le 25 juillet 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Havers et Linley, l'un sans l'autre je suis sure que je n'apprécierai pas autant les thrillers d'E. George. C'est toujours bien écrit, bien structuré, et dans la langue originale c'est encore mieux.
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Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer
2 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par isobe1 TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURSVOIX VINE le 1 juin 2011
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
les premières pages étaient prometteuses, écrites avec une grande finesse, très travaillées.... et puis flop, comme si l'auteur n'avait vraiment réussi que ces trois ou quatre premières pages, le reste du roman retombe, mal écrit, longuet. Mais ce sont surtout les personnages qui m'ont déplu. Lynley est un ramassis de clichés aristocratiques, tout droit sorti d'un fantasme d'adolescente. Havers aurait pu être un personnage très intéressant, mais l'auteur la relègue au rang de petit chien fidèle.
Les enquêtes sont longues, et on devine vite le dessous de l'affaire. reste à attendre que Lynley et Havers finissent par comprendre eux-mêmes.
Cette série de romans comporte 16 tomes, celui-ci est le 1er. Pas de réelle évolution des personnages au cours de ces 16 tomes, aucune amélioration du style ni des enquêtes.
Et si vous attendez une idylle entre les deux personnages, passez votre chemin. Havers est décrite comme une femme particulièrement hideuse et au mauvais caractère, et bien sûr éperdument amoureuse de Lynley (contre son gré), mais étant ce qu'elle est, il ne la considérera jamais comme une "femme".
Bref, "a great deliverance" est un "great disappointment".
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 254 commentaires
114 internautes sur 116 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A worthy start to a great mystery series 4 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I've read several of the Lynley/Havers mysteries already, and have loved every one of them. But I've never read this, the first book in the series. Now I have, and I only wish I'd read this one before all the others. I'd never known how Lynley & Havers got together in the first place, or of the details of Lynley's friendship with St. James and his wife, along with Lady Helen. Now that I'm aware, I'll probably go back and re-read those books in the series that I've already read to get a new perspective on the characters.
Now, as to the plot - all I can say is, "wow". The same for the writing. Most British mysteries seem to me to be basically the same - a body is found in a small, quaint English village, or sometimes in a city such as London, and the sleuth - whether it's a local constable, a Scotland Yard person, or someone like the redoubtable Miss Marple - comes in and solves the crime. Along the way, we learn a little bit about the eccentricities of the local population. The basic story is much the same here - but Ms. George fleshes the characters out, and makes them appear three-dimensional - and gives us incredible, breath-taking descriptions of the local scenery. Not only that, but her eventual resolution of the story - the reason for the crime, and its effect on both the main and secondary characters - is so intensely real that I wanted this book to continue on after its ending. With Lynley & Havers, that will be possible by reading the other books in the series, but for the other characters, that probably won't be. And I'd like to have seen what happened to them a few weeks or months (or even years) down the road. I found myself hoping that things would work out for all of them. I'm hoping Ms. George will refer back to them in her future novels - even if it's only a few lines; I'd like to know how they're doing.
50 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Essential Reading for Lynley and Havers Fans 3 mai 2005
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
"Who knows what darkness lies in the hearts of men? Only the Shadow knows." That opening from the old radio show came to mind as I reread this book about the almost unspeakable evils that people do to one another.

First published in 1988, A Great Deliverance is the first book in the distinguished series featuring Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, the English detective duo who have delighted so many readers since then. I first read this book many years ago and was impressed at the time by the careful character development. Little did I know that that character development would make the subsequent series such a remarkable delight. Rereading the book now, I must say that I don't remember a first book in a detective series that did nearly so much to establish the backgrounds, thought processes, influences and loves of the lead characters. I'm much more impressed than the first time.

As the story opens, Father Hart is on a pilgrimage to Scotland Yard to help heal a rift among those who have been investigating the beheading of a local farmer. While most detectives would feel that finding the farmer's daughter, Roberta Teys, next to the body as she confesses that she's guilty would be enough evidence, Father Hart believes that Roberta is innocent. Thus, Scotland Yard enters the case. Havers is dispatched to haul Lynley back from a wedding he's attending, and the reader is soon enmeshed in "what might have been" thoughts concerning the lives of both Lynley and Havers.

Lynley is the golden boy, the eighth earl of Asherton, who doesn't even need to work . . . but who sees work as his obligation. Havers is a loose cannon of emotions, instincts and prejudice . . . but who's brilliantly and doggedly determined to find the answers to any crime. How they develop comfort with one another is quite intriguing in the book.

The mystery itself is pretty straightforward, so don't look for that aspect of the book to delight you with its charm. If you judge mysteries by how hard the mystery is to solve, this one will be a 2 or 3 star effort to you.

But if you love rich, complex characters with nuanced reactions in tricky situations, this book will delight you.

Literature fans will appreciate the references that are included in sorting out the mystery.

Those who require absolute accuracy in all aspects of what's English will detect false notes here and there. Still, the overall result is quite impressive coming from an American. And most American readers won't be able to tell the difference anyway.

If the mystery had been better designed, this could have been one of the great mystery stories of all time. Do read on. There are many other fine books in this series. The rich character development in this book will add much delight to your reading in the subsequent ones.
29 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Read this--you won't stop 9 octobre 1999
Par Cheryl Hagmann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I wanted to start with George's first book and I am glad I did. I can see how the characters will continue their relationships in the next books. The author's writing is easy to follow with the full nuances of England and Scotland Yard. Excellent writing that makes me want to continue through the entire series. I HIGHLY recommend it. Peter Robinson fans-go for it!!
22 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Suffer the little children 15 novembre 2005
Par Beverley Strong - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is M/s George's first novel and the reader's introduction to D.I.Lynley, eigth Earl of Asherton, and D.S.Barbara Havers, that unlikely couple of detectives whos careers and lives continue in further stories. Thomas Lynley is an elegant, aristocratic, former Etonian and Oxford man, well dressed, well educated and well connected. Barbara is fat, badly dressed and teetering between extremely homely and just plain ugly, with a consquent lack of self esteem. They have been teamed by Scotland Yard to investigate an horrific murder in Yorkshire, where it is claimed that a farmer's daughter decapitated him with an axe. Initially, Barbara is totally intimidated by Lynley, as much by the division of their social classes and her inbuilt prejudice, as by his reputation, deserved or not, as a womaniser who sweeps all before him, but soon realises that this somewhat foppish exterior is a mask for a shrewd brain. During the story, Lynley is forced to face and to come to terms with his relationship with Deborah, his former fiancee and now the new wife of his oldest friend. The murder story revolves around a most unpleasant subject, but one which is cleverly plotted and written by Elizabeth George with a most satisfactory ending. It's a great read !
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Dark and disturbing 26 juin 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
As the first book in the series, A Great Deliverance is a marvellous introduction to Thomas Lynley and Babara Havers. In Lynley, we catch a glimpse of the compassionate human being behind the insightful detective; a side of his character that is not so evident in later novels. We also get a window into Haver's background and the demons that plague her life. I think Havers has developed very well along the course of the series, much more than Lynley who often gets too mired in his obsessive self analysis.
Instead of the trailing the conventional footprints, this novel probes the darker recesses of the human psyche. A hidden photograph, a cache of food and an enigmatic epitaph on an infant's grave are some of the elusive hints that point to the truth behind a gruesome murder. A truth that is perhaps even more gruesome than the deed. A deep and disturbing novel, A Great Deliverance goes far beyond just a murder mystery.
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