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becke_davis
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Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

[ Edited ]

      Inspector Lynley is known to frequently defy his superiors in order to pursue an investigation according to his own rules. In “Limbo,” he conducts searches without warrants and even withholds forensic evidence in order to avoid his own arrest as a murder suspect.

 

      Do you think Lynley is always justified when he avoids protocol or defies his superior officers? Are his actions governed by ego or by more altruistic motives?

 

      In general, do you think that officers or inspectors should operate “above the law”?
Message Edited by becke_davis on 08-04-2008 12:35 AM
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groover
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

I think Inspector Lynley is always thinking outside the box, and his family ancestry aside, thinks only of what is best for the case, and what is the most expeditious means of solving it. In all past books, I have always his integrity is above aboard.
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IBIS
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

[ Edited ]
Is anyone above the law, especially those who have sworn to defend and uphold it?

In A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, Thomas More is asked if breaking the country’s laws was worth catching the devil in order to punish him? Someone said that, YES, it was worth it to catch the devil and punish him.

But Thomas More said that NO, trying to punish the devil is not worth breaking the laws. The country’s laws are created to protect EVERYONE, not just the criminals. If the laws are broken, they won’t be worth much. They won’t, in turn, protect YOU. Especially if the devil decides to come after you, and in this state of lawlessness, no laws will protect you from him.

Lynley breaks the nation’s laws to suit his immediate concerns; but, despite his actions, he knows what a slippery moral slope he’s on. He is fascinating to watch because he KNOWS that what he’s doing is wrong… he knows that he’s walking very very closely on the precipice, on the edge of the abyss that drops down into total lawlessness… but he does it anyway. For what he considers altruistic motives. He does it because he hopes that his actions will end this particular sequence of criminal activities.

If he were morally blind, or plain stupid… it would be boring ….he would be just another cog in the law-breaking machine. But he’s not. He’s a consciously moral man… he is very much aware that what he’s doing is wrong, and he understands the full implications of his actions.

Even the victory of catching the criminal will not bring him forgiveness. He is quite willing to pay the price he incurs by breaking the laws. He even feels that he deserves to be punished.

Watching him operate on so many levels… emotional, moral and psychologically…. I don’t think I will ever fully understand the emotional and moral cost that his actions weigh on him. But it is fascinating and cathartic to watch... and try to understand.
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Message Edited by IBIS on 08-04-2008 12:58 PM
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

Another thought I had was to compare Lynley with Jack Reacher.

They're both fine examples of protagonists who care about justice and fair play, who will defend the innocent against the guilty... but they travel on opposite sides of the law to achieve their goals...

Lynley as an English aristocrat, and a police detective, operates within the English legal system; so going outside the law is for him a serious betrayal of his basic core values.

Reacher, however, is a vagrant who lives outside society... and of course, outside its rules and laws. He thinks nothing of breaking the law to suit his personal view of justice.

It's interesting for a homebody like me to read, and admire, such polar opposites.

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becke_davis
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

I love the comparisons you are making in these posts.  You've really got me thinking about Thomas Lynley's character!
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it only in the TV show that Lynley has broken the law or at least seriously bent the law/rules for his own purposes in the pursuit of justice?   The only time in the books that Lynley has bent the rules was in "A Traitor to Memory" when he withholds the letters written by Webberly to the victim and not immediately logging the victim's computer as evidence; and in "In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner" by giving more leeway to Andy Maiden then he should have, on how to investigate the murder and what to tell Mrs. Maiden.  I don't recall any where else, except for how he used the press in "Playing for the Ashes" that Lynley didn't follow the law or the rules. 

 

Though he did ask for some leeway in talking to his borther in "A Suitable Vengeance" he didn't break the rules or the law.

 

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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

Beth, you're absolutely right that the question that Becke posed was based on what she saw in LIMBO, the television show. I don't actually remember him breaking any laws in the novels. It does actually pose a more interesting question: in the novels, would Lynley break the law, being the person, with his background and training? IBIS
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becke_davis
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

He comes close to it in a lot of books.  Even in Careless in Red he isn't exactly forthcoming with the detective in charge of the case.
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

[ Edited ]

As I mentioned, there are some instances in the novels where Lynley bends the rules but never breaks them, to suit the investigation purposes, as in the withholding of potential evidence in "A Traitor to Memory", but he never breaks the law or comes close to it (except maybe parking in no parking zones with a police placard in the window or perhaps speeding while chasing Jimmy until he gets out of the car to chase Jimmy on foot, in "Playing for the Ashes" ) in the novels as the TV show has him doing.  In "Careless in Red" he is not officially on the case and is even a possible suspect.  He isn't breaking any rule by not being forthcoming with his information on Daidre, especially considering he doesn't have the information the DI wants until the end of the novel.

 

If Lynley had persistently broken the rules or the law in the novels, he wouldn't have the excellent record that he has with the only black mark being the arrest for his brother-in-law's murder, which evidently shouldn't/wouldn't have happened if Nies hadn't taken to disliking Lynley.

Message Edited by BethWalp on 08-07-2008 03:55 PM
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Re: Week One: The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Discussion - "Above the Law?"

What's happening here is what usually happens when we confuse the book's characters with those created for television.

Just as movies are very different from the actual books, so have the television writers and producers created a "Tommy" Lynley who is not Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley.

I've read some of Elizabeth George's comments about the disparity between the actors and her creations... she seems to have made peace with the television's producers' decisions...

But for us readers and tv-show fans, it can be very confusing to keep the two Thomas Lynleys and Barbara Havers clearly separate.

IBIS
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