The Punishment She Deserves contains all the trademarks that have made George a grandee of the genre: an intricate and thoughtful plot (this one includes various forms of addiction and numerous examples of misguided parenting), a multiplicity of carefully conceived and richly executed characters and the continuing evolution of Lynley’s and Havers’ personas. No George novel — and especially not this effort — is one through which the reader should sprint. Instead, take time to reflect on the issues George raises — and to savor her genius.
[T]his portrait of Ardery in extremis is perhaps George’s finest, and with it she expertly tightens her novel’s inexorable grip ... The Punishment She Deserves, for example, may have one subplot too many, but the novel’s elegant structure is airtight, and no character, however tangential, seems extraneous ... As always, George’s cunning revelations are deftly staged.
The sheer size of this book (more than 700 pages) shouldn’t dissuade readers: bolstered by George’s polished prose, the twentieth Lynley mystery moves briskly along, showing the author at the peak of her powers.
George tackles a number of emotionally charged social issues with sensitivity and grace. Exquisitely rendered characters and a powerful sense of place enhance the meticulously crafted mystery, which satisfies as a standalone while furthering the series arc.
George is an ascended master of the artfully tangled plot, elaborate without being overly busy; everyone who enters into the picture plays a part ... Long but rewarding: trademark George, with elements of the classic procedural nicely joined to today’s headlines. Fans won’t be disappointed.