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A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 11) [Paperback]

Elizabeth George
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 July 2002 Inspector Lynley Mysteries 11

Virtuoso violinist Gideon Davies has lost his memory of music and his ability to play the instrument he mastered at the age of five. One fateful night at Wigmore Hall, he lifted his violin to play in a Beethoven trio . . . and everything in his mind related to music was gone. Gideon suffers from a form of amnesia, the cure for which is an examination of what he can remember. And what he can remember is little enough until his mind is triggered by the weeping of a woman and a single name: Sonia.

One rainy evening, a woman called Eugenie travels to London for a mysterious appointment. But before she is able to reach her destination, a car swoops out of nowhere and kills her in the street. In pursuing her killer, Thomas Lynley, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata come to know a group of people inextricably connected by a long-ago crime and punishment no one has spoken of for twenty years.

Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (18 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340767081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340767085
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 11.4 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 596,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George proves that she belongs firmly in the upper echelons of crime writers. Her 10 previous novels of psychological suspense have carefully consolidated the character of her aristocratic detective Thomas Lynley, and with this book she creates for him a narrative more tangled and (seemingly) impenetrable than ever before.

Gideon Davies is a classical violinist who has lost his ability to play. In the middle of a Beethoven trio, his mind has been wiped clear of everything related to music. But what he can remember is the weeping of a woman and a single name: Sonia. Davies is soon involved with the death of a young woman called Eugenie, who is run down by a car in the streets of London. On the track of her killer, Lynley and his associates Barbara Ramiz and Winston Nkata become aware of a connection with the violinist and a mysterious group of people somehow linked with a crime and its consequences that took place over 20 years ago.

As always, George is faithful to the demands of the classical detective narrative, and the reader is challenged by the slowly unfolding revelations just as much as her struggling protagonists. But, unlike so many of her contemporaries, George never forgets that the sense of place is quite as intrinsic to a mystery story as any whodunit elements, and the panoply of England unfolded before us here is richly and vividly realised. In earlier books, Lynley has seemed almost preternaturally gifted, but here his desperate attempts to penetrate the dark secret have much more of the quality of a struggle - and perhaps this is why A Traitor to Memory is possibly the most satisfying outing for George's detective yet. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Absorbing . . . the pleasure of the book is the slow, surprising and often shocking unravelling of the various links between the main characters (Marcel Berlins, The Times)

A long and absorbing read that will please lovers of the traditional crime novel (Scotland on Sunday)

Elizabeth George orchestrates the family-secrets theme like a maestro . . . worthy of a standing ovation. (Amazon.com)

keeps the reader on the knife's edge of suspense, thanks to George's skill at weaving together intriguing characters, disturbing action, police procedure, psychological insight, and mordant wit. First-rate suspense with a stunner of an ending. (Booklist)

A very accomplished crime writer who is able to keep the reader's suspense right up to the last page. (Woman's Way, Dublin)

Thoroughly enjoyable. (Bookseller)

A Traitor to Memory is more PD James than Ruth Rendell . . . very convincing . . . the book makes a serious and valid point about what is left of the personality of a musical prodigy if the music is taken away. (Classical Music)

Plots of dazzling inventiveness are the hallmark of George's first-rate murder mysteries. A story to keep you engrossed al the way to Inverness and back. (Livewire)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, tangled and far-fetched. 8 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Having been a long time fan of Elizabeth George, I was disappointed with this book. It returns to the diary format of 'Playing for the Ashes' but lacks it's gripping story line. The plot of A Traitor to Memory is tangled and to me, far-fetched and it took a while for the diary entries to fit into the story, which made it hard going. Usually, I find it's hard to put down a new Elizabeth George, but with this story, I struggled to continue. Quite apart from the almost boring 'diary entries'and the seeming lack of a convincing plot, a major dissappointment is the side-lining of the usual characters. In the last book, it seemed that Barbara Havers was developing a relationship with her neighbour, but there was no mention of him or his daughter this time. Deborah and St James barely featured at all and even the relationship between Lynley and Helen is only briefly incorporated into the story.
Part of the enjoyment of this series has been following the lives of the main characters, to have them all-but-removed is disappointing, but would not have mattered so much had the main story been a good one. Unfortunately, it was not.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Experience 11 Aug 2004
Being a great fan of crime and mystery novels, I was pleased to see a book by one of my favourite authors of the genre on 700 pages. There's nothing like days and days of continuous suspense! I wasn't let down, quite the contrary - I've enjoyed The Traitor to Memory best of all George's novels. The plot is wonderfully complicated and finely balanced, the characters fully formed and convincing. It was the best possible break between two 'proper' novels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly...A Perfect Title 9 Aug 2001
It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. After waiting two years for the next installment in the Lynley/Havers saga, I feel betrayed. This book reads more like a stand alone than part of Ms. George's excellent series. It was as if Lynley and Havers were afterthoughts and really didn't have much to do with the story. At over 700 pages, the book tends to wander, be repetitive, drag and, in total, was not a pleasant reading experience. Perhaps if the book had been written as a stand alone and was at least 300 pages shorter, it might have worked.
I read an interview with Elizabeth George where she discussed how she wrote this book in a different style. I can only believe that Ms. George was trying to write a psychological thriller. While I respect her desire to spread her wings, my advice is to leave this genre of writing to Minette Walters, Barbara Vine or Nicci French. None of these authors were able to write the wonderful series that Elizabeth George created.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having been a fan of Elizabeth George's books for a long time now, I was disappointed by the previous Lynley novel and was hoping for a return to old times with this one. After a great start, however, "A traitor to memory" failed to grip this reader. It is longwinded and even though I usually love the psychological approach to crime solving, this time it was too much. Every time I came upon one of the frequent "diary" sections and another description of a nightmare, I just wanted to fast forward.
The biggest failure of the book to me however is the lack of involvement of our favourite characters. The story line with Lynley and Helen is continued briefly, but then forgotten through most part of the book. Barbara, St. James and Deborah rarely appear at all. If this were a film, I doubt they would even be considered for best supporting roles.
I don't know how quickly the next instalment will follow, but I feel that Elizabeth George has left me hanging with too many loose ends. The worst thing is that this time I felt that I had to wade through a whole lot of badly constructed plot (the killer was obvious after the first few chapters) waiting for at least some b-plot to reward me, only never to get it.
I haven't given up on her yet, but unfortunately the wait for the next Elizabeth George is no longer full of excited suspense but more of hoping against hope that things will get better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long and a bit disappointing 5 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Frankly, after two weeks of finishing the book, I can't remember exactly whodunnit. OK, I know that isn't the most important thing, but I'm left with a sort of vagueness about most of the characters in this book. Lynley doesn't develop much. Havers neither and Winston - well, I couldn't quite work out where Winston's got to. Basically flunks it, yet in line for promotion? Not her best. I got fed up with the Gideon flashbacks. Too long by about 200 pages.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Serious disappointment 2 May 2002
By A Customer
I too am a great fan of Elizabeth George's previous work and couldn't wait for this one. However, it turned out to be a serious disappointment. None of the characters were believable or even likeable and the diary entries were tedious and unbelievable as well. No one would write a journal for his psychologist in such incredible detail as to include complete dialogues. No one would serve 20 years for a crime they didn't commit without once speaking out. The holier-than-thou mother would have gone to the police to set records straight instead of just walking away, and then suddenly after 20 years she becomes a threat after all? And the most irritating thing is that Gideon has his life covered in television documentaries and tabloids, but not once would any of these exposees refer to this horrible crime that took place within his family when he was a kid, when the crime itself was equally tabloid covered, so that Gideon is conveniently not confronted with it for 20 years? I don't think so. It seemed to me that Elizabeth George was seriously struggling with this one. I hope for her next Lynley mystery she'll go back to what she does best and stay away from this psychological mumbo-jumbo.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing
Couldn't put this down quite fascinating with twists and turns up to the final page don't miss a great read
Published 2 months ago by Sue Fulcher
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment
The earlier books were so good. What happened? The first chapter or two were OK, and then it just seemed to wallow about forever. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Trigg
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit long winded
Not one of her best It took a long time to get into the story with lots of characters I nearly gave up but stuck with it
Published 7 months ago by Miss Gizmo
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This book jumps around from different scenes and people at the beginning but once your into it, it is very griping. I find I can't put it down. Excellent book, would recommend.
Published 8 months ago by Bidas
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I have read all of elizabeth george books and have enjoyed every one Would recommend this book to anyone would likes mystery books
Published 11 months ago by higgy
3.0 out of 5 stars Traitor to memory.
I found this book well written but very depressing I prefer a book with a good solution at the end..
Published 12 months ago by charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspector Lynley does it again
Elizabeth George at her best. Unusual approach but a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable read, as always. Highly recommended to George fans or newbies looking for a great read.
Published 12 months ago by Susie
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappinting
This is the worst abridgement I've ever listened to. It's hard to believe the author endorsed it. Please don't waste your money.
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by heather s
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long for Nothing
Book 11 in the Inspector Lynley series

"A traitor to Memory" is a complex novel, large in scope and one that encompasses the psyches of many of its characters. Read more
Published on 1 July 2011 by Toni Osborne
3.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and unsatisfying
George is an uneven writer and here I think she's trying to hit above her weight. So while sticking to a crime mystery format, she also tries to write a psychological portrait of a... Read more
Published on 4 April 2010 by Roman Clodia
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