Elizabeth George: Biography & Books

Instructor: Natarielle Powell
In this lesson, we will discuss the biography and books of mystery writer Elizabeth George. Read on to find out how Elizabeth George stands out from another writer of the same name.

Elizabeth George: Early Life and Education

Can you imagine having the same name as another person who does the same type of work you do? What unique characteristic would set you apart from the other person?

There are two authors named Elizabeth George: one writes mysteries and the other writes Christian books. The novelist described in this lesson writes mysteries.

Susan Elizabeth George was born in Warren, Ohio, but her family moved to San Francisco, California, just before her second birthday. Elizabeth remained in California after graduating from high school. She later graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a teaching certificate.

She got her master's degree in counseling/psychology from California State University at Fullerton. In 2004, George received an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from California State University at Fullerton.

Career as a Teacher

If you had the opportunity to become a high school teacher, would you accept the challenge? What subject would you teach? How would you deal with the politics of the learning environment nowadays? All of these questions and more may have flooded Elizabeth George's mind when she decided to enter the teaching profession.

George worked as a high school English teacher for over 13 years. She was fired from her first school due to union activity. She and her colleagues wanted to ensure fair treatment and wages, but her efforts caused George to lose her job.

Even though she was fired from her first teaching position, George was hired at another school and worked with remedial students, who are students behind in knowledge for their appropriate grade level.

George worked so well with the students that she was honored as the teacher of the year for Orange County. She continued teaching until her first novel, A Great Deliverance, was published.

Mystery Novels

You might think that growing up, attending college, and working in California would make Elizabeth George want to write novels featuring celebrities on Rodeo Drive or muscular lifeguards of the Bay Area tanning in the summer sun.

George chose a focus completely different from what you might expect from a Cali girl. Her novels are set in England, and the main character in most of them is a British detective named Inspector Lynley. These murder mystery books were later made into a series for British television.

Inspector Thomas Lynley is a tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome detective who is a descendant of royalty. He takes his position seriously and works hard to figure out who committed the crime, how it was done, and the motive behind it.

A Closer Look at the Books

George's first novel, A Great Deliverance, was published in 1988. Usually, the detectives have to search to figure out who the killer is, but in this novel, the killer reveals herself.

Roberta Teys, a rather plump and plain woman, is found in a barn sitting next to her father's dead body. Wearing a silk nightgown, she makes her initial statement and stops talking: 'I did it, and I'm not sorry.' What a confession!

The trouble is that based on the girl's background and previous behavior, it's unbelievable that she did, in fact, kill her father. Uncovering the truth reveals years of town scandals and unfortunate situations, but Lynley, with his sidekick, Sergeant Barbara Havers, gets to the bottom of it.

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