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Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley Mystery, Book 6) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553566040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553566048
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In George's deftly plotted, highly atmospheric bestseller, forensic analyst Simon St. James investigates the death of an English vicar.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A totally satisfying mystery experience."—Denver Post

"[George] proves that the classiest crime writers are true novelists."—The New York Times

"Layered, intricate...deftly plotted, highly atmospheric."—Publishers Weekly

"Perhaps Ms. George's most satisfying puzzle yet...this rich, intricate novel is a perfect choice for anyone in the market for first-rate summer fiction."—The Sun, Baltimore

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The negative reviews of this book perplex me. I have read all of the Lynley-Havers novels in chronological order up through "Playing for the Ashes". This was slightly better than "For the Sake of Elena", which was the best up to that point. George continues her strong development of the ongoing characters, especially Havers. There was more explicit sex in this book than the previous ones, but that is to be expected as time marches on and tastes change. I believe that the mystery here was the strongest since "Well-Schooled in Murder". If you have enjoyed other Lynley-Havers novels, I would recommend that you try this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Missing Joseph is a powerful story about what it means to be a human being, a parent, a lover, a friend, a daughter and someone who misuses others. While there is a mystery in the book, the story itself transcends the mystery. The detection involved is skillfully designed to help illuminate Ms. George's main subjects.

The characters involved build on past novels by looking more deeply into the relationships between Simon and Deborah St. James, Thomas Lynley and Lady Helen Clyde, and Barbara Havers and her mother. To extend those themes in new directions, Ms. George adds several new characters who are tied together by tragedy. These characters include a widowed local constable, an Anglican vicar, the vicar's witchcraft-practicing housekeeper, a reclusive provider of potions from herbs and her daughter. Seldom will you discover a book that develops so many characters in so many dimensions in one book. I found myself staying up past 1 a.m. to finish the story, and would have gone later had it been necessary.

As the book opens, the vicar raises a fundamental question that resonates throughout the book: Where's Joseph? Originally asked in connection to the many images of Jesus and Mary, that question takes on haunting new meanings before the book ends.

Even if you have never read another book in this distinguished series, I'm sure you would find this book to be a rewarding choice.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By dwadefoley on April 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I couldn't put Elizabeth George's "Missing Joseph" down. This is the first of this author's novels I have read, and I don't think it will be the last. In the tradition of P.D James, George is a master of fully developing all her characters, whether they be suspects or detectives. Yet George spends less time on description and more on action than James does, and so her book moves a bit faster than James's do. The characters are complex, moving, and three-dimensional. I found myself on the verge of tears several times at the plights of Polly Yarkin and Maggie Spence, and even the rather scheming and unsympathetic village constable manages to arouse my pity more than once. Deborah and Simon St. James have come to Lancashire, a small British village, for a holiday. However, the vicar Deborah had hoped to visit while there has died under suspicious circumstances. Simon summons Inspector Thomas Lynley, a British aristocrat turned CID agent, to unofficially investigate. The plots and subplots are complex and intricately woven, but in such a deft and craftsmanlike way that I never lost track of the goings-on, nor did I become bored with any of the plot lines. The obligatory red herrings are dragged across the reader's path, and the solution to the mystery comes as a shocking surprise. Unexpected though it is, the dénouement is my one complaint with this otherwise excellent book. After the fascinating character studies and excellent plotting, the solution to the mystery seems contrived and artificial; it is a "rabbit out of a hat" solution which relies on revelations which are simply narrated. The reader had no real chance to deduce them from clues hidden throughout the book. Nevertheless, it was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages to find out what happened next. An excellent yarn to curl up with on a rainy weekend!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Missing Joseph" starts with a promising scenario--a wedding but no priest! He is later found murdered. With sub-plots galore, we learn that the fortune seeking groom does not love his pregnant but very rich bride and is trying to make it with the young rectory housekeeper who, incidentally, also practices a type of witchcraft as well as keeping the murdered priest's rectory clean. We learn that the local constable is a widower and just too weird with his female relationships, ie. dead wife, rectory housekeeper, current amour, etc. Then we get bogged down with teenagers in the village and their problems and eccentricities. There is a very atypical George description of the constable's brutal and salacious rape of the rectory housekeeper and we also get to meet her over-sexed mother who is REALLY weird. Colorful characters abound however, the length of time taken to get the point across in the descriptions of the characters is also atypical of George's work. We DO get to see our old standbys whom we all know and love, the troubled (and childish) love affair between Tommy and Helen ( could they really be as shallow as all this?) we are let in on the marital problems of Simon and Deborah and even get to experience Haver's dilemma in changing her life style now that Mum is in the nursing home. All of this would be great but Ms. George keeps on and on in her descriptions of these characters and what they are doing at the moment to the point that too much of the author's time (and the reader's) is given to explaining all of this to the point of being repetive and, even boring, to the max., As a result, the story becomes tiresome. Eventually, the murder of the priest who didn't show for the wedding is FINALLY solved. This is the only Elizabeth George book I cannot recommend to others. I am very sorry, too because she is one of my favorite authors.
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