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For the Sake of Elena Paperback – April 1, 1993

Book 5 of 19 in the Inspector Lynley Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553561278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553561272
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,183,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of New Scotland Yard investigates murder at Cambridge University as he continues his suit for the love of Lady Helen in George's ( A Suitable Vengeance ) latest well-crafted mystery. The high-born Lynley and his sergeant, Barbara Havers, whose personal dilemmas revolve around choosing adequate care for her increasingly senile mother, are sent to advise the Cambridge constabulary after student Elena Weaver, a long-distance runner and daughter of highly respected university history professor Anthony Weaver, is found battered to death near a running path. As the investigation reveals that Elena, who was deaf, was not at all the innocent naif her doting father imagined, Lynley comes to understand Lady Helen's deep-rooted questions about their relationship and their individual independence. Another murder occurs and assorted extracurricular passions among prominent academics are bared; George also explores such issues as whether deafness is a cultural stigma or a genuine handicap, the nature of family identity and betrayal, and the imperatives of the creative temperament. While elements of the plot are somewhat stretched, George's story never fails to engage. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The fifth outing for Scotland Yard's Inspector Lynley (rich, sleek aristocrat) and Sergeant Havers (rough-edged, bitter plain- Jane)--this time called up to Cambridge to investigate the brutal murder of a sexy, unstable, deaf student. Who ambushed Elena Weaver during one of her usual early- morning runs and pummeled her to death? Suspects abound--especially once an autopsy reveals that Elena was pregnant. She had accused one teacher of sexual harassment, had been having an affair with another (married) one. She'd also been involved with a deaf-rights activist. Meanwhile, she was having stormy times with her overprotective father, a Cambridge don hoping for a major new appointment, and with her edgy stepmother. And is it just coincidence that the woman who finds Elena's body, an important local artist, was the sometime mistress of Elena's father? As usual, George lays on the psychosexual Sturm und Drang with a sure, if slightly heavy, hand; the dialogue occasionally thickens into awkward, stagy speeches. Also as usual, the sleuths contend with personal anguish: Havers must deal with a senile mum; Lynley continues his tediously drawn-out courtship of Lady Helen--an overwrought imitation of Lord Peter and Miss Vane. But, though uneven and puffy, this is George's best work since her debut (A Great Deliverance)--a generally absorbing job in the P.D. James manner, without the excesses and missteps of the other Lynley/Havers outings. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I love Elizabeth George and her Inspecor Lynley.
Rosalie R. Platko
The conflicts between the characters are so well plotted; we are drawn into the story completely.
It's a very intriguing story that holds the interest to the end.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "lynkfri13" on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
~ * ~ This is one of Elizabeth George's better novels. It's utterly absorbing, and the characters will evoke strong reactions- like or dislike, sometimes both! Fans of the winning combination of Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers will enjoy it, but you don't need to know the detectives to enjoy the story.
~ * ~ Elena, a young college girl at Cambridge, has just been killed. She was deaf. This was more than a "handicap"- it became a battleground for her, between the students who wanted her to become part of the "Deaf"- not trying to "fit in" by reading lips, etc; and her father, who tried to minimize her deafness- asking her to fit in with his life. ~
~ * ~, Elizabeth George is always strong in characterizations. She fills her story with complex characters, each of whom have weaknesses that we can sympathize with, and their own selfish and unpleasant motives. The conflicts between the characters are so well plotted; we are drawn into the story completely.
~ * ~ Unlike most of her mysteries, I started to see the conclusion. Elizabeth George usually blinds us to the obvious. She can weave a web so intricate and subtle, that despite all the clues we encounter, we don't ever "see" the solution until it is too late
. ~ * ~ My personal favorite of the Lynley/Havers series are" A Suitable Vengeance" which focuses on the early history of Lynley, Deborah and Simon; and "Deception on His Mind ", which focuses on Sergeant Barbara Havers, and an investigation which forces her to take a stand.
~ * ~
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carol Peterson Hennekens on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
There's much to like in this, the fifth book published of the Lynley/Havers series. Anglophiles will throughly enjoy the details of college life in Cambridge. George does a wonderful job of capturing the little inner worlds of the colleges and the role of the Cam in the life of the city (if my memories of a semester there in the 1970's hold true). It's also a darn good mystery with a new prime suspect every fifty or so pages. The ending is a bit like a gourmet dinner - tricking to taste the complexity, a tad difficult to digest but ultimately satisfying.
The subthemes of the book are equally interesting. Much of the book has to do with well-meaning, loving people trying to meet the expectations of those they love. Elena, the victim, is deaf with parents who have spent twenty years trying to make her as "normal" as possible. But what is normal for a deaf person? Much (too much) of the book dwells on Havers internal battle over whether she should send her Alzheimer's inflicted mother to a small care facility.
I've withheld a fifth star because of my unresolved confusion about Lynley's relationship with Lady Helen. I really enjoy this series but sometimes the publication order and the actual timeline are confusing. In this book, all of a sudden and out of the blue (for me) Lynley is ardently persuing Lady Helen. There are references the "past nine months" but I felt like I'd missed something. Quite frankly, I'm not surprised by Helen's reluctance to get involved if the building blocks of the relationship of are as vague to her as they were for me.
Bottom-line: A strong and interesting mystery that should satsify old and new readers alike. New readers are encouraged to start at the beginning of the series to better understand the personal side of the players.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
FOR THE SAKE OF ELENA is my introduction to Elizabeth George and her detectives Lynley and Havers. I enjoyed the twists in the plot; as soon as I had made up my mind that a certain character was guilty, a new piece of evidence would be discovered to deflect suspicion. All of the suspects were introduced early enough for the reader to ponder the guilt or innocence of each. I look forward to more of George's work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Smeddley on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is part of a series featuring the police duo of Lynley and Havers teaming up to fight crime in England. I read the first in the series for another book club, and this one appears to be quite a ways down the line. From some of the passages you can glean that a lot has happened in their personal lives, and I can't help but think I'm missing quite a bit by not having read the intervening books. That being said, if you discount that part of the book, it was a really good story. One of those that you can look back at bits (once you know the end) and go "ooooh! I see..." A very intricately woven story, full of red herrings and blind alleys.

However, that personal bit - the part about Lynley and Helen, in particular - was not at all good. Not only because I didn't get all of it because I'd missed books, but the actually interplay between the characters... it was just bad. I mean, the conversations between them seemed more suited to 18th century England that the present day. And that is one of the things that feels odd about the book - though it is placed in modern times, it somehow manages to feel very old and dated. And I don't know how, or why, it just seems that way.

Also, I don't at all understand the English school system, featured heavily in this book

I'm torn on recommending it. On one hand, it's a very well written book. Not only is the storyline incredibly compelling, it's very well written. But on the other hand... it's a very easy book to put down, and almost feels like a bit of a chore to read. And that's no fun. No fun at all.
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More About the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels of psychological suspense, one book of nonfiction, and two short-story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, the Grand Prix de LittÉrature PoliciÈre, and the MIMI, Germany's prestigious prize for suspense fiction. She lives in Washington State.

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