Old school loyalties entangle Thomas Lynley in a case that promises to be both tragic and troubling. A boy has gone missing from Bredgar Chambers, an independent school in the heart of West Sussex, and John Corntel, the lad's housemaster, has turned up at New Scotland Yard to ask for Lynley's help. Because West Sussex is not within his jurisdiction, Lynley knows he should keep well clear of the case, but the boy within the man remembers his own school days at Eton and his former close ties with John Corntel. Thus, in Well-Schooled in Murder, Lynley finds himself deeply involved in the search for a child and, too soon, for that child's murderer.
With the assistance of Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and forensic scientist Simon Allcourt-St. James, Lynley seeks the identity of an amoral killer. As the inspector and his sergeant question school prefects, the Headmaster, and both teachers and pupils closest to the dead boy, they begin to sense that something extraordinary and evil is going on at this privileged enclave of the elite's children. And the key that will unlock the reality of Matthew Whateley's death lies in uncovering the secrets and undermining the loyalties of a closed society.
For Lynley, who is mourning the absence of Helen Clyde, for Sergeant Havers, who is trying desperately to escape the responsibilities of her claustrophobic family life, and for Simon St. James, whose marriage is disintegrating for reasons he cannot understand, the investigation into Matthew's death will lead perilously close to their own emotional wounds. It will be these personal issues, as much as the cryptic clues that refuse to yield a definitive suspect, that may blind them all to the signs of another murder in the making-and to a terrible act of desperation that will break down the barriers of the past to expose a truth too long hidden in the name of love.
This is a highly charged work of dark motives, powerful feelings, and treacherous infidelities that takes the reader even deeper into he interlocking lives of Lynley, St. James, and Havers.