Review and Recipe: A Tangled Mystery

Review: Believing the Lie
by Elizabeth George
Mysteries are like Gordian knots that must be picked apart to separate lies from truth, fact from fiction, and clues from red herrings. Add in a dysfunctional family that has its own reasons for concealing the truth, and you have a situation primed to frustrate even the best of detectives.
Inspector Thomas Lynley is one of the very best, but he's just emerging from the worst time of his life ― the murder of his wife. Still grieving, Lynley is easily convinced to do a favor for his superior, which involves traveling to Cumbria to determine if the death of Ian Fairclough was murder or an accident. Ian's father, Bernard, isn't clear about why he feels the need to have Ian's death investigated after the coroner has already proclaimed it an accident, but he is very clear that he wants Lynley to keep his inquiry under wraps.
Lynley's usual partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, is left in London to help with research while Lynley travels with his friends, forensic scientist Simon St. James and his wife Deborah. They have their hands full with the Fairclough family, encountering deceit, child pornography, racism, blackmail, and more. But murder? The jury's still out on that one.
It's no secret that I count Elizabeth George as one of my favorite authors. But I would be telling a lie if I said this was her best work. George is at her best with characters; in fact, I'm not sure I can name another author today who breathes as much life into each person. That doesn't waver at all in Believing a Lie, but if you haven't read her earlier books in the Lynley series, you may not understand each side subplot as well as someone who has lived with the characters for years, as I have. And there are so many people to follow in the book that the central mystery is sometimes obscured.
Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to read this book after so long without a George novel in my hands. But others in the Lynley series have more compelling mysteries and draw you deeper into the lives and minds of Lynley and Havers, who are fantastic protagonists.
If you are a George fan and have read all of the previous 16 books, you'll be entertained. If you've never read one of her books, start at the beginning with A Great Deliverance. You'll thank me for getting you hooked on an amazing series.

Recipe: Savory Rock Scones
Rocks and stones are at the center of Ian Fairclough's mysterious death, and what better way to accompany a British story than with scones?
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup cubed ham
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With your fingers, mix flour, butter, sugar, cayenne, salt, and baking powder until you have a coarse meal batter. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to mix with your fingers very gently until there are no dry parts of the batter and everything is well combined. Scoop dough out and form into rough rounds on an ungreased baking sheet, until you have 12 scones.  Bake 25 minutes.

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