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Crime Story - Fine: The Rest - Yawn!!
on 4 April 2007
Though Elizabeth George writes great crime fiction (and the main story of the murder investigation presented here is excellent), it's the rest of the book that I get bored with. There's just too much incidental stuff cluttering up the book - Barbara Havers and her next door neighbour, Winston and his girlfriend, Thomas Lynley and his wife, and, worst of all, Lynley's friends, Simon and Deborah St James. These last four, when they appear together, are just too anacronistic - as if they've stepped out of a Lord Peter Wimsey novel - and I think this really spoils the whole flow.
I was interested to note that Elizabeth George is an American writing about London (she mentions this in the Acknowledgements section at the end), because she doesn't portray London in a particularly flattering light - her narrative seems to mention beggers and various unsavoury locals on almost every page, and it comes across almost like an updated version of London from a Charles Dickens novel! I wonder if she would populate an American city in the same way?
If this could be trimmed by about 200 pages it would have been much better - any more than 450 or 500 pages is too long. Ian Rankin's Rebus stories or Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks books are generally around this length and work well.
So not bad in itself, just too bloated!