Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
What Came Before He Shot ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

What Came Before He Shot Her Mass Market Paperback – October 30, 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 432 customer reviews
Book 14 of 19 in the Inspector Lynley Series

See all 23 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.99
$3.80 $0.55

Up to 50% off popular Children's Books
Featured kid's books are up to 50% off for a limited time Learn More
$9.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • What Came Before He Shot Her
  • +
  • With No One As Witness
  • +
  • Careless in Red
Total price: $29.17
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller George (With No One as Witness) departs from the usual investigative nuts and bolts of her Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers mystery thrillers with this searing examination of the lives of one horribly dysfunctional family and their immigrant London milieu. Switching uncomfortably at times from dialogue in a rough patois to exposition in a language both formal and sociological, George delivers a stinging indictment of a society unable to respond effectively to the needs of its poorer citizens. Kendra Osborne, a 40-year-old woman with modest ambitions and plans to achieve them, has no idea how to cope when her mother "dumps" her sister's three children on her doorstep and heads for Jamaica. Fifteen-year-old Ness, 11-year-old Joel and seven-year-old Toby each have a wealth of problems exacerbated by their mixed-race heritage. It's no accident that George refers to Dickens on the first page of this earnest but perhaps overly didactic novel, which focuses on the burdens borne by Joel as he's swept by forces he can neither understand nor control into a fatal encounter. 8-city author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Scotland Yard detective Thomas Lynley is all but missing from this novel, and critics aren't sure what to make of his absence as well as that of most of the other popular series characters (only two of Lynley's police sidekicks appear—as minor walk-ons). The majority of critics cite this psychological crime novel as a deeply disturbing and unrelenting, yet illuminating, portrayal of a dysfunctional family and of the ways its members can go tragically astray. Two reviewers, however, cited a disconnected narrative, an overly complicated plot, too much detail, and a bleak, hopeless tone as major faults of the novel. There are, of course, no surprises about how the novel ends: Elizabeth George has already told that story in With No One As Witness.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reissue edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062087576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062087577
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (432 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"A wanton act of destruction" --- no, not a murder as such, but the way one of Elizabeth George's outraged readers described the unhappy ending of WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS, her second-to-last book: Helen, the adored pregnant wife of George's policeman hero, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, is gunned down on the doorstep of her London house. Mystery lovers are often habituated to tidy, let-justice-be-done denouements; sacrificing Lynley's nearest and dearest evidently violated some unspoken taboo.

When Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes (he was weary of turning out stories about the eccentric detective), his admirers were so upset that he had to bring Holmes back from the dead. George, in contrast, doesn't seem inclined to appease her fans: Instead, she takes an even bigger chance in her new book, WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER, telling the story behind Mrs. Lynley's murder.

The apparent culprit is 12-year-old Joel Campbell, a mixed-race boy from North Kensington --- a neighborhood where the police are not heroes but enemies; where gangs rule, drugs and sexual violence are endemic, and there is a constant struggle to survive. Joel and his two siblings --- Vanessa, his older, troubled sister, and Toby, a boy who seems to live in his own private world --- are all but orphaned (their father is dead, their mother in a psychiatric hospital; they've been abandoned by their grandmother and fobbed off on an aunt). Caught between painful memories of a one-time happy childhood and the perils of their current existence, they lurch helplessly down the road to disaster. Lynley, by the way, does not even appear in the book, and his police sidekicks, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata, have only a walk-on --- another probable source of distress for George's devotees.
Read more ›
9 Comments 82 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
WCBHSH is not a Lynley/Havers novel. Once past that stumbling block, this novel deserves a fair look at it for what it is. Though reviewed as a scruffy, dark novel about a dysfunctional family, there really is no family present in this plot, not in the real sense of the word. Rather, it is about three psychologically fragile children trying to survive in a world that has given them nothing but life itself. Dumped on their aunt's doorstep in one of London's most dangerous neighborhoods, they cannot rely upon her to provide much more than food and shelter. Love, trust, and a sense of safety are qualities that they never had a chance to develop. None of them is capable of accepting a helping hand even when repeatedly offered. Eleven year old Joel is the rock of this little trio, and although he tries valiantly to protect his brother and sister, and even his woefully inadequate "aunty", naturally he is doomed to fail. The title of this book is literal - it is the story of what happened to this child as he is coerced into doing things that are abhorrent to him and that destroy his soul long before he can reach adulthood. At bottom, this is an existential piece that can open the reader's eyes to the harsh circumstances that mold the lives of so many underprivileged, neglected children. It is the anatomy of a crime. It is a look into the mind of the "criminal". What Came Before He Shot Her is not fun, but it is skillfully crafted. It's a shame to miss out on a very good novel because of the absence of Lynley.
4 Comments 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book (probably the 6th or 7th E. George book for me) and I read it about 8 months ago. I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that I have thought about the characters - Joel especially - every day since. The characters do live depressing lives, and are trapped - and they are far from the upper class characters that George often portrays. And for those looking for a nice "English" bucolic setting, this is not it. But Joel, the 11 year old protagonist, is a credible and even lovable character, and his journey from protective older brother to unwilling murderer is believable in the setting. This is one facet of modern day Britain - not pretty, not quaint, barely even civilized. I read it as a piece of sociology and an insight into the deprived lives of poor people in west London.
2 Comments 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm writing this as a rebuttal to some of the reviews here. Much has been said about how bad and depressing this book is. I feel that these reviewers went into reading this book with the wrong expectations. This book is a description of a modern tragedy. It is very clear from the title and the back cover that this is the backstory of Helen Lynley's murder, that there is no happy ending to be found here. And how can the lead-up to a murder be anything other than depressing?

But the writing is brilliant. Time and again I found myself pulled along with the characters, wanting them to make better choices, even though I knew the ending in advance. If you're looking for a fun way to pass the time, this is not the book for you. But if you're looking for a book to make you think and feel and maybe cry a little; a book you experience, rather than just read; pick up What Came Before He Shot Her.
1 Comment 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a definite departure from the Lynley series and is quite absorbing for the first several hundred pages. But I started to skim sections at around page 300 as situations and dialogue got repititious and the central action of the book was delayed beyond reason. It's admirable that George focused on a little-known aspect of British life, but some of the characters started bothering me--did all the black women have to have insatiable libidos? All the black men have to be either sociopathic or narcissistic? And the piling-on of misfortune was almost insulting to the characters: With such a litany of woe, one would expect a Columbine at the end, not a single murder. George is no Doestoevsky when it comes to exploring the criminal mind.
No, what was more interesting to me was why GEORGE chose to commit the murder in question. After lovingly crafting an interesting character over a series of books, she brutally kills her off for no real reason. Now George is forcing her readers to suffer through volumes of doleful mourning from a character who was never a barrel of laughs to begin with.
What's your excuse, Elizabeth?
6 Comments 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

What Came Before He Shot Her
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: What Came Before He Shot Her