Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harper, 2010

I am going to have a difficult time reviewing this book. I have always loved the Inspector Linley series by Elizabeth George.  I was dismayed when George killed off Linley’s wife Helen in With No One as Witness, disappointed in her previous novel Careless in Red and really, really disappointed in This Body of Death. I’ve kept reading this series because I have much enjoyed the characters -Inspector Linley, Barbara Havers, Simon St. James and his wife Deborah. They are well drawn and rich in detail.  The nuances of class in British society are well described.  But I think this might be it for me. This book is 600 plus pages long. It moves at a glacial pace. There is a murder in a London cemetery. The girl who is murdered is from the countryside. There is a historical story that is told in alternating chapters with the real time murder mystery. The historical story speaks to some of the problems of children raised in poverty. It all comes together at the end but it is tortorous. There are numerous characters many of whom are extraneous to the plot. Almost all of the characters seem to lack passion, only Barb Havers delivers in expanding her character in her relationship with her neighbors and her new boss. A new character, Isabelle Ardery, the acting superintendent is introduced. She appears to be a complex person, but the author really doesn’t develop her well. Inspector Linley is oddly passive throughout most of the story and not the protoganist. By the time the murder is solved I bet very few of the readers even care. The motivation for the murder is murky and the murderer is one dimensional.  I hate to be this negative about a book and maybe if the earlier books in this series were not excellent and my hopes so high for this one I would be less disappointed.    I miss the Elizabeth George of old - characters we care about, tight plot lines, and less social commentary!

1 comment:

Carole said...

Sorry to hear that the Inspector Lynley books have lost their charm. I was looking forward to another great book in the series, but I don't have time to waste on a 600+ pager that isn't topnotch. Disappointing if EG has lost her form. (The same thing happened to the Patricia Cornwell books and I no longer bother with that series either.)

Thanks for the review.