Poor Barbara Havers! Followers of the Lynley mysteries by Elizabeth George will recognize a familiar predicament faced by one of George’s most beloved characters in The Punishment She Deserves, the twentieth entry of the series. Detective Sargeant Havers always seems to be making poor decisions and annoying those in power who don’t care for her manners, comportment or tendency to venture beyond her authority. Not only is Havers being set up by her superiors who wish to transfer her, she also is suffering the indignity of being drafted into a tap dance performance by her co-worker Dorothea. The book opens on a fateful night in a small college town, where events converge to result in the apparent suicide of a local clergyman. The deceased’s father believes that the arrest and investigation into the death of his son requires further scrutiny, and he demands a review of the internal affairs file. DCS Isabelle Ardery is called in to travel to the town of Ludlow to examine the matter. She drafts Barbara Havers into accompanying her, hoping that Havers will slip up again and thereby justify her banishment from the department. Ardery has her own personal reasons for wanting this trip to be quickly concluded, and she is very willing to accept the existing findings at face value. The problem is, Havers is bothered by the many inconsistencies and unanswered questions in the case. She wants to probe further, but is conflicted because she knows she has to remain in Ardery’s good graces. Thomas Lynley, Barbara’s direct supervisor and mentor, supports her assertion that more scrutiny is needed. The second part of the novel reunites these two characters as they return for a more thorough (and illuminating) look at the tragic events. There is no question that George is a fantastic writer who knows how to slowly build tension in plot and between characters. Lynley and Havers are extremely well drawn, and their unlikely friendship has become so comfortable to George’s fans that they will be able to maintain interest through this long work. First time readers of the series might find it more difficult to stick with the book, however, especially if they are looking for a faster pace and constant action. There are many layers within themes of personal failings, obligations to others, and atonement. Each of the many characters are fully developed, and much of the novel is spent creating a deep portrayal of their individuality and inter-relationships. A patient reader will be rewarded at the satisfying conclusion of this solid entry in the famous series.