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Payment in Blood (Anglais) Cassette – Livre audio, 1 juin 1991


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Cassette, Livre audio, 1 juin 1991
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Extrait

Chapter One


Gowan Kilbride, aged sixteen, had never been much for early rising. While still living on his parents' farm, he had grumbled his way out of bed each morning, letting everyone within hearing distance know, through a variety of groans and creative complaints, how little to his liking the life of husbandry was. So when Francesca Gerrard, the recently widowed owner of the largest estate in the area, decided to convert her Scottish great house into a country hotel in order to recoup upon the death duties, Gowan presented himself to her, the very man she would need to wait on tables, officiate behind the bar, and oversee a score of nubile young ladies who no doubt would eventually apply to work as serving girls or maids.

So much for fantasy, as Gowan soon discovered. For he had not been employed at Westerbrae a week before he realised that the workings of that immense granite house were to be orchestrated solely by a contingent of four: Mrs. Gerrard herself, a middle-aged cook with too much growth of hair on her upper lip, Gowan, and a seventeen-year-old girl newly arrived from Inverness, Mary Agnes Campbell.

Gowan's work possessed all the glamour commensurate with his position in the hotel hierarchy, which is to say that there was virtually none. He was a factotum, a man for all seasons of travail, be it working the grounds of the rambling estate, sweeping the floors, painting the walls, repairing the ancient boiler on a biweekly basis, or hanging fresh wallpaper to prepare the bedrooms for their future guests. A humbling experience for a boy who had always seen himself as the next James Bond, the irritations of life at Westerbrae were mitigated solely by the delicious presence of Mary Agnes Campbell, who had come to the estate to help put the house in order prior to its receiving its first paying customers.

After less than a month of working at Mary Agnes' side, even getting up in the morning was no longer a chore, since the sooner Gowan bounded out of his room, the sooner he would have his first opportunity of seeing Mary Agnes, talking to her, catching her intoxicating scent on the air as she passed by. Indeed, in a mere three months, all his former dreams of drinking vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred) and showing a marked preference for Italian handguns with skeleton grips had been quite forgotten. In their place was the hope of being favoured with one of Mary Agnes' sunny smiles, with the sight of her pretty legs, with the agonising, tantalising, adolescent hope of brushing up against the swell of her lovely breasts in one corridor or another.

All that had seemed quite possible, quite reasonable in fact, until the arrival yesterday of Westerbrae's very first bona fide guests: a group of actors from London who had come with their producer, their director, and several other hangers-on to work the wrinkles out of a new production. Combined with what Gowan had found in the library this morning, the presence of these London luminaries was making his dream of bliss with Mary Agnes look more remote every moment. So when he pulled the crumpled piece of Westerbrae stationery out of the rubbish in the library, he went in search of Mary Agnes and found her alone in the cavernous kitchen, assembling trays of early morning tea to be carried up to the rooms.

The kitchen had long been a favourite haunt of Gowan's, mostly because, unlike the rest of the house, it had not been invaded, altered, or spoiled. There was no need to suit it to the tastes and predilections of future guests. They would hardly come wandering through to sample a sauce or talk about the turn of the meat.

So the kitchen had been left alone, just as Gowan remembered it from his childhood. The old tile floor of dull red and muted cream still made a pattern like an enormous draughtboard. Lines of coruscating brass pans hung from oak stringers against one wall where iron fixtures were like smudgy shadows on the cracked ceramic surface. A four-tiered pine rack atop one of the counters held the everyday dishes of the household, and beneath it a tricornered drying stand wobbled under its burden of tea towels and cloths. Pottery urns stood on the windowsills, holding oddly tropical plants with large, palmate leaves--plants that by rights should have withered under the icy adversities of a Scottish winter, but nonetheless thrived in the room's warmth.

It was, however, far from warm now. When Gowan entered, it was nearly seven, and the frigid morning air had not yet been cut by the huge stove heating against one wall. A large kettle steamed on one of the burners. Through the transomed windows, Gowan could see that the previous night's heavy snowfall had smoothly sculpted the lawns rolling down to Loch Achiemore. At another time, he might have admired the sight. But right now, righteous indignation prevented him from seeing anything but the fair-skinned sylph who stood at the worktable in the centre of the kitchen, covering trays with linen.

"Explain this tae me, Mary Agnes Campbell." Gowan's face flushed nearly to the colour of his hair and his freckles darkened perceptibly. He held out a discarded piece of stationery, his broad, callused thumb covering the Westerbrae estate crest upon it.

Mary Agnes directed guileless blue eyes towards the paper and gave it a cursory glance. Unembarrassed, she went into the china room and began pulling teapots, cups, and saucers from the shelves. It was every bit as if someone other than herself had written Mrs. Jeremy Irons, Mary Agnes Irons, Mary Irons, Mary and Jeremy Irons, Mary and Jeremy Irons and family in an unpractised script up and down the page.

"Wha' aboot?" she replied, tossing back her mass of ebony hair. The movement, designed to be coy, caused the white cap perched rakishly over her curls to fall askew, over one eye. She looked like a charming pirate.

Which was part of the problem. Gowan's blood had never burned for a single female in his entire life as it burned for Mary Agnes Campbell. He had grown up on Hillview Farm, one of the Westerbrae tenant holdings, and nothing in his wholesome life of fresh air, sheep, five brothers and sisters, and boating on the loch had prepared him for the effect Mary Agnes had upon him every time he was with her. Only the dream of someday making her his own had allowed him to keep hold of his reason.

That dream had never seemed entirely out of the range of possibility, in spite of the existence of Jeremy Irons, whose handsome face and soulful eyes, torn from the pages of countless movie magazines, graced the walls of Mary Agnes' room in the lower northwest corridor of the great house. After all, girlish adulation of the unreachable was typical, wasn't it? Or so Mrs. Gerrard tried to tell Gowan when he daily unburdened his heavy heart to her as she supervised his advancing skill at pouring wine without sloshing most of it onto the tablecloth.

That was all fine and good, so long as the unreachable remained unreachable. But now, with a houseful of London actors to mingle among, Gowan knew very well that Mary Agnes was beginning to see Jeremy Irons within her grasp. Surely one of these people was acquainted with him, would introduce her to him, would let nature take its course from there. This belief was attested to by the paper Gowan held in his hand, a clear indication of what Mary Agnes felt the future had in store for her.

"Wha' aboot?" he repeated incredulously. "Ye left this lyin' in the lib'ry, tha's wha' aboot!"

Mary Agnes plucked it from his hand and shoved it into her apron pocket. "Ye're kind tae retairn it, laddie," she replied.

Her placidity was infuriating. "Ye gie me no explanation?"

"'Tis practice, Gowan."

"Practice?" The fire inside him was heating his blood to a boil. "Wha' kind of practice d'ye need tha' Jeremy Irons'll help you with? All over the blessit paper. And him a marrit man!"

Mary Agnes' face paled. "Marrit?" She set one saucer down upon another. China jarred together unpleasantly.

Gowan at once regretted his impulsive words. He had no idea whether Jeremy Irons was married, but he felt driven to despair by the thought of Mary Agnes dreaming of the actor nightly as she lay in her bed while right next door Gowan sweated for the right to touch his lips to hers. It was ungodly. It was unfair. She ought well to suffer for it.

But when he saw her lips tremble, he berated himself for being such a fool. She'd hate him, not Jeremy Irons, if he wasn't careful. And that couldn't be borne.

"Ah, Mary, I canna say faer sairtin if he's marrit," Gowan admitted.

Mary Agnes sniffed, gathered up her china, and returned to the kitchen. Puppy-like, Gowan followed. She lined up the teapots on the trays and began spooning tea into them, straightening linen, arranging silver as she went, studiously ignoring him. Thoroughly chastened, Gowan searched for something to say that would get him back into her good graces. He watched her lean forward for the milk and sugar. Her full breasts strained against her soft wool dress.

Gowan's mouth went dry. "Hae I tol' ye aboot my row to Tomb's Isle?"

It was not the most inspired conversational gambit. Tomb's Isle was a tree-studded mound of land a quarter of a mile into Loch Achiemore. Capped by a curious structure that looked from a distance like a Victorian folly, it was the final resting place of Phillip Gerrard, the recently departed husband of Westerbrae's present owner. Rowing out to it was certainly no feat of athletic prowess for a boy like Gowan, well used to labour. Certainly it was nothing that was going to impress Mary Agnes, who probably could have done the same herself. So he sought a way to make the story more interesting for her.

"Ye dinna know aboot the isle, Mary?"

Mary Agnes shrugged, setting teacups upon saucers. But her bright eyes danced to him briefly, and that was sufficient encouragement for Gowan to wax eloquen... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

A treat - splendidly plotted and beautifully written (Colin Dexter)

If Agatha Christie were writing today, this is how she'd do it. Good plot, credible characters and a very perceptive and observant female eye (Ted Allbeury) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.


Détails sur le produit

  • Cassette
  • Editeur : Isis; Édition : Unabridged (1 juin 1991)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1850897794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850897798
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,9 x 16,6 x 3,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 841.464 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 Sue Birch le 1 octobre 2012
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
If you like whodunits you'll love this series. I am completely hooked on them. Like many men in authority Inspector Lynley can be an annoying prig but the delightful Havers is a joy. Characters are very well drawn.
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Par P PICHOT le 22 février 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Le deuxième roman de la longue série à venir... On apprend à connaitre un peu mieux les deux policiers héros de la série qui nous emmènent au fin fond de l'Ecosse ... Prenant ....!!
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Agnès Hendryckx le 13 juin 2009
Format: Broché
All Linley mysteries have this special quality which renders them mandatory to all mystery books readers!
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Amazon.com: 146 commentaires
38 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Love + Jealousy + Murder = A Very Complex Investigation 27 mai 2005
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Elizabeth George takes the cool Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley and turns his world upside down. For unknown and possibly public relations reasons, Scotland Yard sends Lynley outside of his jurisdiction to Scotland to take over an investigation after a fetching playwright is found murdered in her bed.

But, the guest in the adjoining room is Lynley's much beloved Lady Helen Clyde. To Lynley's chagrin, it turns out that Lady Helen has been sharing her boudoir. Naturally, she must be interrogated. How will Lynley bear up?

Lynley is clearly distraught by dealing with the situation and is soon making big mistakes. How will that affect the investigation? Well, it's not good . . . but fortunately Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is on duty with Lynley.

Although this is a mystery, the book succeeds more as an investigation into the English class system and its weaknesses. With Barbara Havers standing in for every person in her role as skeptical seeker after truth, we see the rotten underpinnings of having a hereditary elite in place. How far has the rot spread? Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out.

The mystery itself takes some tangled turns that will provide much entertainment.

I graded the book down a bit. Some scenes didn't resonate with my impressions of this character from the last book. I thought that Ms. George had Lynley's head spinning a bit more than seems likely from what we learned about him in A Great Deliverance.

The book is a very important one in the series though. Frequent references in future books are made to the events in this one. You will enrich your enjoyment of future books if you read Payment in Blood.
58 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Second Installment in Lynley-Havers Series is Solid 27 février 2000
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The second installment in Elizabeth George's successful Lynley-Havers mystery series is a solid successor to the first book, A Great Deliverance. In this story, the melding of the cozy, police procedural, and hard-boiled genres that was balanced so well in the first book leans a little more to the cozy side of things, with a trip to Scotland to investigate a murder on an ancient Scottish estate (turned up-scale bed and breakfast), which evolves into a classic locked-room mystery with a cast of illustrious and spoiled suspects. The emphasis is a bit more on Lynley than Havers in this story, which is expected since he promotes more of the cozy feel, while Havers promotes more of the hard-boiled feel. However, Havers fans should not despair -- her dark side is still there, althouth a bit tempered. All in all, this mystery advances the ongoing tale of these two seemingly ill-matched yet complementary partners, by exploring Lynley's "dark side", fleshing him out a bit more than in the first book.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Another fine addition to the mystery genre 29 octobre 2000
Par Phillip Schoppy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I enjoy the Lynley/Havers series very much and found this book very hard to put down. The central mystery involves the death of a Playwright on a Scottish estate and the cast of suspects that were involved. The story moves from the estate to various other locations which keeps the reader interested.
There were some problems that I had with the story. There were too many characters and sub-plots involved that took away from the main mystery- including the romantic turmoil of Lynley and some past crimes. There was also a conspiracy plot thrown which only took away from the main mystery.
I did like the character development and I did feel for Lynley and Havers at various times during the novel. This is still a good mystery to add to your collection and I will continue to follow this series.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Really good 13 mars 2002
Par RachelWalker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Even though George paints a somewhat old-fashioned portrait of English life, she is still able to write very very good mysteries.
Her detecive thrillers are clever, intuitive, have nice twists, good, well evoked settings, and are very well written, if somewhat OVER written.
the mystery here is first class as ever. she writes with the style of agatha christie, and comes up with solutions that the dead queen would be proud of. It is only a shame that Lynley is not quite as interesting as Poirot. However, the relationships the main characters 5 characters really are VERY interesting. they add weight, credibility, and realism to the story. they add a more personal and intimate side, and prove an ongoing drama to mix with that of the different crimes which come up in each book.
She is very good at drawing her character, and very good at coming up with agatha christie style plots. her psychology is accurate, and her writing very descriptive.
Definitely worth a read. This second book was very very good. So far, i dont think she written a bad one, and i've read nearly all of them. A good build up A Great Deliverance, and got the series off to a really smashing start.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Significant improvement over 1st book 27 juillet 2000
Par Christina P. Branson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
And the first novel in this series was pretty dang good. The only thing that gave me fits was that there were so many characters that until one was introduced at length, I couldn't get a good fix on his or her place in the story. But I was pleased with the plotting as well as the development of the main characters.
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