I bought this first-of-the-series based on a newspaper review of the last. I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody novels, and from the article I thought that it might be a similar sort of book. I was pretty much, well, wrong. About the only similarity is that Amelia and Thomas Lynley are well-off and English. Nevertheless, a good read. Lynley and sidekick Barbara Havers, members of Scotland Yard, have been sent off to York to investigate a teenager found near her father's decapitated body. As they investigate the possibility that she was not the murderer, they both have to come to terms with their own pasts, which they see reflected among the many dysfunctional characters that wander across the stage: the obligatory horrible American tourists, the drunken artist in love with the older, lonely spinster, the family man with the nympho wife who use their fights as an excuse for making up. But the murdered man's family wins the prize for "most dysfunctional", as they seem to be in the habit of simply wandering off and never being heard from again. As Lynley and Havers put the pieces together, they come to a gruesome conclusion that is not at all suitable for the genteel reader of Elizabeth Peters!
Luckily, my stomach is a little stronger than that. But I don't think I'll put this one on my wife's reading list.