The most celebrated detective duo in years is back on the case. Nathaniel Parker (Far from the Madding Crowd) and Sharon Small (About A Boy) return as the New Scotland Yard team of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Det... more »ective Sergeant Barbara Havers in four riveting murder mysteries that take them from seedy urban underbellies to posh country estates in search of whodunit. The misfit tandem of the suave Inspector and the rumpled Sergeant has evolved from cultural rivalry into a successful team of close friends and confidantes. But solving murders isn?t their only problem. In addition to his puzzling caseload, Lynley struggles with his blossoming relationship with Helen (Lesley Vickerage), while Havers grapples with both newfound personal freedom and professional challenges. Inspired by a string of successful cases, Lynley and Havers unravel a fresh caseload of heinous, suspenseful crimes, each based on a novel by Elizabeth George. Playing For The Ashes The murder of a beloved sports star leads to a loaded lineup of key suspects and bizarre twists. Without much cooperation from a dysfunctional family and other odd "players," Lynley and Havers break the rules to tease the killer out of hiding. In the Presence of the Enemy The abduction and killing of a Government minister?s daughter brings Lynley into a lethal web of political and personal unrest. But after another child is kidnapped, the pair must decipher the deceit and pinpoint the murderer to stop a second senseless killing. A Suitable Vengeance When a local shopkeeper is found dead, a celebration of the Inspector?s engagement to Helen at his impressive family estate becomes a murder investigation. But the biggest surprise is the key suspect: Lynley?s drug-addict brother, Peter. Deception on His Mind While Lynley is honeymooning in Mexico, the body of a young Asian man is found on the beach, leading to a trail of racial tensions, family loyalties and illicit sexuality. Havers, after discovering an old police school chum is on the case, sets off to ensnare the killer. Special DVD features include: link to the Mystery! Web site; scene selections; and closed captions. On four DVD5 discs. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.« less
Brilliant Character Roles Make These Mysteries Top Notch.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 09/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Series 2 of the "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" brings 4 more of Elizabeth George's mystery novels to the screen, leaving only two Lynley/Havers novels that have not been dramatized as of this writing. Nathaniel Parker stars as suave and aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, and Sharon Small is his more crudely mannered working class partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. Parker is perfection in his role. Fans of the novels (I have not read them) often find fault with Small's appearance and delivery. But film is a visual medium, and the D.S. Havers of the books may not lend herself well to it. Her character has been watered down a little for film.
The four films were directed by four different people and written for the screen by three. Yet they maintain an relatively consistent tone and style. "A Suitable Vengeance" might be the best of this series, followed by "Deception on His Mind". Ironically, these stories are the most sordid and, in the hands of lesser talent, would be the most crass. They wouldn't be out of place on a daytime soap opera. Yet they are the most successful at creating tension and emotional impact. Credit is due directors Edward Bennett and Tim Leandro, as well as the films' casts.
The supporting casts of all four films do wonderful character work throughout. They elevate the films from what could easily be gaudy melodramatic murder mysteries. There is one conspicuous exception, however. Lesley Vickerage is hopelessly miscast as Inspector Lynley's love interest Helen Clyde. It doesn't help that her character is not written especially well either. Helen is frumpy and neurotic. She and Lynley have no chemistry. We are left wondering what on Earth the attraction is. Helen features prominently in two of these films and appears in three. That bit of poor casting should have been rectified after the first Inspector Lynley Series.
"Playing for the Ashes" revolves around the dirty laundry and hidden dysfunction of two families, a common theme in Elizabeth George's mysteries. A star cricket player, Kenneth Waring (Mark Brighton), is murdered, apparently by arson, at the same time animal rights activists torch a nearby puppy farm. The investigation leads Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers to Kenneth's estranged -and obsessed- wife Jeannie (Ruth Gemmel) and his aristocratic foster mother, Miriam Whitelaw (Phyllis Logan), who doted on Kenneth while shunning her own daughter, Olivia (Neve McIntosh). The story unfolds nicely and keeps us guessing until the end. There is an interesting theme about the motives behind philanthropy. The character work of this accomplished cast is truly impressive. The film's flaw is its scenes between profiler Helen Clyde and Lynley. They are grating. The audience should be interested in seeing this handsome gentleman pursuing a lady. Instead, we dread it.
"In the Presence of the Enemy" is a case of child kidnapping that appears to be politically motivated. The young daughter of Labor Party government minister Eve Bowen (Sophie Okonedo) is kidnapped and threatened with death unless the child's biological father, conservative newspaper editor Dennis Luxford (James Hazeldine), publishes an article acknowledging his secret child. Suspects include the parents' spouses as well as their political and professional rivals. Sergeant Havers works closely with a country cop, Robin Payne (Robert Whitelock), who is assigned to the case in the area where it is believed the girl was held, while Inspector Lynley chases down leads in London. Whitelock gives an impressive supporting performance.
"A Suitable Vengeance" finds Inspector Lynley revisiting his aristocratic roots and Sergeant Havers out of her element. They have traveled to Lynley's family estate for his and Helen Clyde's engagement party. Also in attendance are an assortment of relatives: Lynley's junkie brother Peter (Matthew Goode), photographer cousin Sidney (Claire Cox), her boyfriend Justin (Dominic Mafham, Lynley's mother (Gabrielle Drake), who presides over the estate, and her longtime companion Dr. Trenarrow (Peter Egan). While the guests attend a play, the husband of an employee of the estate is murdered. Lynley and Havers, though outside of their jurisdiction, can't help themselves but investigate. Things are complicated by Lynley's strained relationship with his mother, suspicions of his brother's involvement in the crime, and a black carrying case that seems to turn up everywhere. Although it is decidedly sordid, "A Suitable Vengeance" is the most successful of the Inspector Lynley films to date in creating tension.
"Deception on His Mind" takes place in the Pakistani community of a seaside city. When she suspects that her neighbors are related to the victim, D.S. Havers ingratiates herself into the case of a murdered Pakistani businessman, via an old acquaintance, Emily Barlow (Emily Joyce), who is the Detective Chief Inspector on the case. Inspector Lynley, fresh from his honeymoon, is only peripherally involved in the investigation. Havers is frustrated by the negligence and apparent political motivation of her would-be friend, D.C.I. Barlow, who seems to have decided upon the guilty party before the investigation has begun. So she risks her career to sort out the complex hidden relationships between the deceased, his fiancé, her brother, and their various lovers. The outwardly conservative community in "Deception on His Mind" comes across as an exotic Peyton Place. The fact that the characters are credible and the tension truly affecting is a credit to Elizabeth George, as well as director Tim Leandro. Emily Joyce and Tarek Rumini, as Munir Malik, are memorable and suitably despicable in villain roles. There's even an action sequence in this one!"
Thank you - More please !!!!!!
Film Fan | Florida United States | 09/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series just keeps on getting better and better. I realize that there are readers out there who will never be satisfied with any television adaptation of a well loved series of books -- but as a huge fan of Elizabeth George's work, I find that this new series of stores based on her "Inspector Lynley" series is a wonderful translation of her work. Is it a word-for-word translation - no. But it doesn't need to be. The heart of her stories -- the relationship between Lynley and Barbara Havers -- for me actually works better on screen than it does in the books. It thrills me to no end to see a man and a women work together as partners and not have the silly, usual "hormones are racing in silence" theme running throughout that is all too common these days whenever a male and a female are working together. You get to see two people who are mismatched actually work together to become a true partnership, a partnership that was starting to form in the first series of televised stories that becomes stronger through these new stories.
Even though I knew prior to viewing what the stories where, and how the mysteries were going to be played out, I still was facinated to see them transformed on screen. (Note, however, that one story, "A Suitable Vengence," deviates from the original story in a rather big way, but it still plays out beautifully).
So, as last time, I strongly urge you to view these four new adventures. If adaptations are not your cup of tea, then, I'm afraid, you will not like these stories (and there is a section of Elizabeth George's fans who do not like these Lynley Mysteries simply because they are "not the book.") But if you adore a a thrilling mystery told in a splendid manner, you will not only watch these new adventures, but buy them. (I'm afraid there are no bells and whistles on these DVDs, but, frankly, you don't need them - the four shows are plenty!!). And, like me, you are anxiously waiting for more mysteries from Lynley and Havers to come our way in the future. "
SERIES GROWS AND GROWS ON A PERSON
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've really grown to love this series more and more. I'm completely besotted with the character of Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers as played by Sharon Small. I feel she has truly come into her "own" as the "of common folk" Barbara Havers supplying "basic reality" to the detective work portrayed in "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries" series. A fine example of what I am talking about is the DVD titled "A Suitable Vengeance". In the aforesaid story the difference between the two classes of the two detectives is very prominent with their work comrade always evident with maybe a whiff of romance being also in the air between the two characters. Series two is simply wonderful! I can't wait to view series three and I really look forward to more from this most intriguing mystery series."
A Thriving Partnership...
D. S. Thurlow | Alaska | 09/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Set 2, "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries" really hit their stride with four hard-hitting, emotionally-charged mysteries for the odd crimefighting duo of aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley and working class Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers.
In "Playing for the Ashes", a famous cricket player's murder puts the two detectives into the middle of a complex web of family and business ties, complicated by drug abuse and animal rights activism. Lynley's gut instincts put him up against his partner's sleuthing and his girlfriend Helen Clyde's criminal profiling, leading to a surprising suspect.
"In the Presence of the Enemy" starts with a kidnapping seemingly gone wrong. The two detectives navigate a politically sensitve murder investigation, while a local policeman develops a crush on Sergeant Havers that badly complicates the case. At case's end, Lynley has a surprise for girlfriend Helen.
"A Suitable Vengeance" brings Havers to the Lynley Cornwall estate for a family celebration. The viewer is introduced to the Inspector's disfunctional family and to a local murder with family ties. Havers overcomes her sense of social awkwardness to guide her boss to the right solution.
In "Deception on his Mind", Havers takes advantage of Lynley's absence to insert herself in a case being run by an old Police Academny chum. The murder of a Pakistani businessman about to marry into a prominent immigrant family is complicated by possible police misconduct and Havers' relationship with her own Pakistani neighbors. Havers's insistance on solving the case her way puts Lynley into a life-threatening situation at sea.
Set 2 advances the subtle, entertaining relationship between Lynley and Havers. Havers' graceful conduct at a tumultuous Lynley family gathering is rightly balanced by Lynley's gallant behavior in installing Havers' new refrigerator while ignoring the squallor of her tiny apartment. Lynley's evolving relationship with Helen Clyde only emphasizes the intense personal loyalty at the core of his partnership with Havers.
"Set 2" is very highly recommended to fans of the Inspector Lynley Series as first class enterntainment.
Inspector Lynley Mysteries
Judith K. Langer | Souteastern Arizona | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We are so delighted with the Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers mysteries. We have all four sets and absolutely waiting eagerly for the next series. Hurry up!