This is another one of the Inspector Lynley books. These books are good, and the characters are growing on me. It’s hard for me to think positively about the two main characters because they’re inherently unsympathetic, at least from my point of view. Inspector Lynley is a rich, titled aristocrat, which is basically the least relatable demographic. His sergeant is a working class woman who has a serious chip on her shoulder about working with him and is prickly, to say the least. Essentially, it’s been hard for me to really get into this concept.
But now, five books in, we’re starting to see either a change in my point of view or a broadening of the characters to the point where they are more or less sympathetic.
In this book, they’re called in to handle a murder that occurred at Cambridge. The victim is the suite mate of the daughter of Lynley’s supervisor, who was murdered on her morning run.
Murder mystery victims tend to be either highly sympathetic or diabolical, and in this case the victim falls closer to the diabolical end of the spectrum. She was struggling with the transition to university life, where she was re-establishing a relationship with her estranged father–a professor at the university–and his wife.
But she was still resentful of his absence in her life and tended to take up with men that would offend him. She was ostentatiously hanging out with the head of the deaf students association (she was deaf herself) which he hated because he wanted her to live like a hearing woman and not focus on her deafness. Unbeknownst to him, she also was carrying on with another professor, a married man.
In other words, there were plenty of people who had issues with her, from the wife of her lover to rejected suitors.
Like all these books, in the end the reason for her murder is very sad and tragic, and the entire situation is terrible and pointless. These books always pull on the heartstrings at least a little by the end of the story.