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Hailed by The New York Times as "a master of the British mystery," American writer Elizabeth George's work has intrigued readers and television viewers alike. As PBS's Inspector Lynley Mysteries comes to a close, and George marked the publication of her newest Lynley novel Careless in Red, she reflected on the pleasures and surprising challenges of bringing Lynley to television, and hinted at what the future may hold for the Scotland Yard duo.
Adapting Inspector Lynley for television
One of the things that I was aware of when I sold my book to television was the fact that you have to really let go of any kind of preconceived notions that you the writer have about what this is going to look like when it comes to film. So, I knew that the visual representation of Lynley and Havers would not be my visual representation.
Nathaniel Parker as Thomas Lynley
I think that Nathaniel Parker has done a really good job bringing Lynley to life. What's interesting about Nathaniel, is that personally, if you're just one on one with him, he isn't anything like that character, so it is fun to see him play the character, and how he has created a real nuanced performance.
Sharon Small as Barbara Havers
Sharon Small is probably the more controversial of the two actors because she looks nothing like Havers. I was concerned about that initially when they told me they were going to cast Sharon Small because I had seen her in other things and my reaction was she is far too pretty. However, she has given the character a real air of vulnerability that I didn't put there in the first place, and I have to say that by and large I've been really pleased with their performances.
Chemistry between Lynley and Havers
I think one of the reasons Lynley and Havers make such a great team is that they are so different. Lynley is from the upper class, Havers is from the working class. Lynley is Oxford educated, Havers is public school (or what we would say high school) educated. He is urbane and gracious and well dressed. She is dumpy with a chip on her shoulder and a mouth to match it.
The future of Inspector Lynley
Once the PBS series ends, Havers and Lynley continue in the books and I hope that people will be interested enough in what happens to these two characters to pursue the books. There are many things in store for them in their personal lives and in their professional lives. In the book I'm working on right now, the person who is going to replace their Superintendent who was critically injured, is now in position and it's a female, and she is the person who will become their superior officer, which will put both of them into an interesting position, not only with her but also with each other because this is a woman who is only 38 years old, who has been on the fast track, and I will say who has appeared in another one of the novels once already. So I hope people will continue to read and see what happens once this character is brought on board.