Elizabeth George is the best-selling author behind the internationally acclaimed Inspector Lynley series.
Her works have been translated into more than thirty languages and sold millions of copies worldwide, making her one of the most recognized names in mystery fiction today.
Who is Elizabeth George?
Elizabeth George is an Ohio native who moved to San Francisco before the age of two.
Growing up, she fell in love with books, and eventually, after graduating from university, she became an English teacher, working in public schools and community colleges across California.
But in 1988, George’s career took a different path when her debut novel, A Great Deliverance, was published.
It marked the start of her smash hit Inspector Lynley series and became an instant bestseller.
As a debut author, she took home multiple awards, including an Agatha and an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, plus a nomination for the coveted Edgar Award.
This strong start was a sign of things to come, and since then, her books have sold millions of copies around the globe.
But her success as an author didn’t stop George from following her other passion in life; teaching. She’s taught creative writing in colleges and universities across America, and even today, she regularly speaks at conferences and writer’s retreats worldwide.
And to give something back, the author has set up her own foundation, which provides grants to emerging writers, ensuring that the next generation has the same opportunities to pursue a career in literature that she did.
Elizabeth George is most famous for her Inspector Lynley series, which is set far away across the pond in Great Britain.
Yet she’s also penned a series of young adult novels which take place on Washington State’s Whidbey Island, where she and her husband, Tom McCabe, lived for many years.
But nowadays, George, McCabe, and their two miniature dachshunds, Titch and Lucy, have swapped island life for the big city of Seattle.
Elizabeth George in Reading Order
In this post, I’ll give you a full list of every Elizabeth George book in publication and reading order, from her debut novel all the way through to her latest 2022 release.
But before we begin, let’s take a closer look at this prolific author and her career so far.
The Complete List of Elizabeth George Books in Reading Order
|A Suitable Vengeance (1991)||• Publication date- June 1, 1991|
• Print length- 371 pages
|A Great Deliverance (1988)||• Publication date- May 1, 2007|
• Print length- 432 pages
|Payment in Blood (1989)||• Publication date- May 1, 2007|
• Print length- 413 pages
|Well-Schooled in Murder (1989)||• Publication date- June 1, 1990|
• Print length- 356 pages
|For the Sake of Elena (1992)||• Publication date- July 1, 1992|
• Print length- 388 pages
|Missing Joseph (1992)||• Publication date- June 1, 1993|
• Print length- 496 pages
|Playing for the Ashes (1994)||• Publication date- July 1, 1994|
• Print length- 624 pages
|In the Presence of the Enemy (1996)||• Publication date- March 1, 1996|
• Print length- 519 pages
|Deception on His Mind (1997)||• Publication date- March 24, 2009|
• Print length- 624 pages
|In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (1999)||• Publication date- September 1, 1999|
• Print length- 608 pages
So now that we know a little more about the author and her life, let’s dive into her work.
Here is every book Elizabeth George has ever published, beginning with her beloved Inspector Lynley series.
The Inspector Lynley Books
This is the series that put Elizabeth George on the literary map and made her one of the most celebrated mystery authors of today.
The twenty-one book saga is set in Great Britain and follows the adventures of Thomas “Tommy” Lynley, a Detective Inspector for Scotland Yard, who also happens to be the 8th Earl of Asherton.
But his noble bloodline and aristocratic roots don’t stop him from doing the tough and dangerous job of solving some of Britain’s most grisly crimes.
Working alongside him is Detective Inspector Barbara Havers, whose working-class background and short temper often put them at odds with one another.
At the start of the series, Havers is Lynley’s partner, but after countless clashes with her colleagues and run-ins with authority, she’s demoted to the role of Lynley’s assistant, which strains their relationship even further.
And all the while, the charismatic Inspector Lynley struggles to reconcile his blue-blooded lineage with his genuine desire to serve up justice and fairness through the rule of law.
He has a natural ability to read suspects and solve the most complex of cases, but he’s often misunderstood. Lynley comes from a different world than his co-workers, and they often mistake his confidence for arrogance.
But that never stops Inspector Lynley from putting his all into his job at Scotland Yard, and twenty-one books later, he’s still going strong.
The most recent installment of the series, ‘Something to Hide,’ was published earlier this year, and with any luck, we can expect more to come.
BBC TV Adaptation
Even if you haven’t read this addictive mystery series yet, you might recognize Inspector Lynley’s name.
That’s because many of the earlier titles were picked up by the BBC and transformed into one of the most successful crime drama television series of the 21st century.
Entitled ‘The Inspector Lynley Mysteries,’ seasons one, two, and three closely follow the first eleven books before the storyline departs. Later episodes still feature George’s classic characters, but they have a brand new and original set of mysteries to solve.
Reading Order of The Inspector Lynley Books
If you’re just getting started with the Inspector Lynley novels, you’ll be pleased to know that the perfect reading order is pretty simple.
The books are intended to be read in the order they were published, with the only exception being ‘A Suitable Vengeance,’ which is a prequel to book one, ‘A Great Deliverance.’
So, even though it hit the shelves four years after the first book, I’ve placed ‘A Suitable Vengeance’ in the number one spot on this list, so you know where to begin.
1. A Suitable Vengeance (1991)
2. A Great Deliverance (1988)
3. Payment in Blood (1989)
4. Well-Schooled in Murder (1989)
5. For the Sake of Elena (1992)
6. Missing Joseph (1992)
7. Playing for the Ashes (1994)
8. In the Presence of the Enemy (1996)
9. Deception on His Mind (1997)
10. In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (1999)
11. A Traitor to Memory (2001)
12. A Place of Hiding (2003)
13. With No One as Witness (2005)
14. What Came Before He Shot Her (2006)
15. Careless in Red (2008)
16. This Body of Death (2010)
17. Believing the Lie (2012)
18. Just One Evil Act (2013)
19. A Banquet of Consequences (2015)
20. The Punishment She Deserves (2018)
21. Something to Hide (2022)
The Whidbey Island Saga
After writing for an adult audience for well over two decades, in 2011, Elizabeth George decided to reach out to a brand new set of fans and pen a series of young adult mystery novels.
This four-book saga is set in Washington State’s Whidbey Island, where the author was living at the time.
But depending on where you live, you may know these books by their alternative titles; The Saratoga Woods series and The Edge of Nowhere series.
No matter what you call them, these four books have proved that Elizabeth George is a powerhouse in the mystery and thriller genre, and she’s more than capable of captivating a teenage audience in the same way she has with her adult reads.
The Whidbey Island saga centers around protagonist Becca King, who has the extraordinary ability to hear other people’s thoughts. But her conniving stepfather has used Becca’s ‘whispers’ for his own criminal gains, and at the start of book one, she and her mother are forced to flee their home for the safety of Whidbey Island.
But safety was just an illusion, and Becca is forced to live a life of secrecy in her new home.
Soon after she arrives, she meets Derric, a sixteen-year-old Ugandan-born boy with his own secrets to hide. Becca and Derric quickly form an unbreakable bond that lasts throughout the series, and together, they face an onslaught of strange, paranormal events that will shake their small-town community to its core.
This action-packed coming-of-age mystery saga has captivated audiences both young and old and earned Elizabeth George several more prestigious awards.
So, even if you’re a fully grown adult, if you’re a fan of this author’s gripping Inspector Lynley series, then the Whidbey Island saga is well worth a read.
Reading Order of The Whidbey Island Saga
To get the most out of this four-book series, it’s best to read them in the order they were published, listed below.
- The Edge of Nowhere (2011)
- The Edge of the Water (2014)
- The Edge of the Shadows (2014)
- The Edge of the Light (2016)
Along with her full-length novels, Elizabeth George has also penned a selection of short stories that feature her trademark themes of murder, mystery, and intrigue in a quick and easy read.
There are two short story collections to explore, listed in publication order below.
In these two nonfiction titles, the author calls upon her many years of teaching to share the secrets of what it takes to become a bestselling novelist.
So, if you want to write like Elizabeth George, be sure to pick up a copy of these insightful reads.
- Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life (2004)
- Mastering the Process (2020)
Elizabeth George has been keeping readers on the edge of their seats with her gripping mystery novels since 1988, and she’s still churning out bestsellers to this day.
Are you a fan of this author’s page-turning reads? If so, which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!