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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian adventure
Poor Hadiyyah - she almost drowned in the chilly North Sea in Deception on his Mind and now she has been kidnapped in Italy. This episode in the Lynley/Havers saga involves Havers more than Lynley, although he is initially despatched to Lucca to liaise with the Italian police. Of course he speaks Italian whereas Barbara Havers does not, though this doesn't prevent her...
Published 10 months ago by maggiefb

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Masquerading as an Inspector Lynley novel.
I've been an avid reader of Elizabeth Geoge's Lynley books for quite a number of years now but this will probably be the last book I will purchase in this series.
It just didn't hold my interest at all, the whole Italian setting and the complexities of the relationships of all involved was just so convoluted, and totally unbelievable.
I just couldn't finish it -...
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Masquerading as an Inspector Lynley novel., 10 Jan 2014
I've been an avid reader of Elizabeth Geoge's Lynley books for quite a number of years now but this will probably be the last book I will purchase in this series.
It just didn't hold my interest at all, the whole Italian setting and the complexities of the relationships of all involved was just so convoluted, and totally unbelievable.
I just couldn't finish it - and that's rare for me.
As much as I once loved Lynley and Haver, I won't justify wasting any more time on any future books in this series if they continue to be written like this one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Happened Here?, 17 Jan 2014
By 
Anne Crofts (Harpenden, England) - See all my reviews
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I realised within the first hundred pages that this was going to be a long drawn-out read, as indeed it proved to be. I have read all Elizabeth George's other books, except 'Before He Shot Her', which I didn't think I needed to get involved in. I did finish this book but it has been a struggle, I'm a quick reader but it dragged on and on and I was losing the will to live at some points. I tried to skip some of the pointless narrative to hurry it up and keep it tighter but it was still a struggle. I know this book is fiction but, really, it delved into the realms of fantasy in many instances. Barbara Havers has become a caricature of herself and unbelievable, which is a shame because, in the earlier books of the series, she was just eccentric. Shame about all this, I really enjoyed the first few of her books, except, maybe 'Playing for the Ashes', which was over-the-top, in my opinion. I shall consider reviews carefully before buying another.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The end of a Lynley era for me, 14 Nov 2013
By 
Ms. Nancy Buckland "foxymissb" (Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have long been a fan of the Inspector Lynley series. I know that writers have to move forward but there are some keys aspects that readers always enjoy - Lynley's obvious wealth that contrasts with his love for his job, his strange but very loving relationship with Havers, and the fact that the pair of them will go on adventures to solve crimes, often bending the rules along the way. After the truly awful 'What Came Before He Shot her' I hoped that a classic Lynley book would be just what us fans needed. Firstly, we have Lynley pursuing this farcical romance. Then we move onto the plot about Hadiyah. George has built the relationship between Havers and the little girl and his father so sensitively over the years. When she goes missing it gives the perfect chance for a storyline about her search, which you hope Havers will be at the frontline of, ready for action. Instead you get what all authors do when short on story - take it abroad. The moving of the story to Italy, involving a cast of characters that you do not care about, is just adding insult to injury. By this point there are far too many characters to speak of, and to be quite honest, you give up hope of caring. It is a long book, and I was already giving up just a quarter of the way through, but I stayed with it. If I could ask for my money book I would and itis was great sadness that I will not purchase another Lynley mystery. I have been such a loyal and avid reader but sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars George's Ghastly Medicine., 31 Oct 2013
When Hadiyyah,the daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar, is taken by the girl's mother, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is in no position to help since Azhar has no legal claim as he and Angelina had never married and his name does not appear on the girl's birth certificate. Five months later things take a sinister turn when Angelina turns up in England and accuses Azhar of kidnapping their daughter from an Italian marketplace where Angelina has been living with her Italian lover, Lorenzo. Havers is distraught for Azhar but also very concerned about Hadiyyah as she has grown to care deeply for the young girl.

Readers of Ms. George's novels will not be surprised that Barbara immediately sets out on a course of action that could well place her career in jeopardy in order to clear Azhar of suspicion and to find his daughter alive and well. However, the case is far more complicated than Havers could possibly imagine.

This book is a complete mess and is perhaps the worst novel I have ever read, largely due to Ms. George's writing style. There are other factors such as a ridiculously far fetched and needlessly complicated plot and the novel, comprising more than 700 pages, is far too long and over-written; I had lost interest in the story and had been driven to distraction by page 150. Elizabeth George has always been guilty, even in her better and earlier novels, of using words out of context and squashing as many obscure words as possible into each chapter- presumably to show readers just how erudite and well-read she is. Does she not realize that the best writers use beautiful, clean, uncluttered English.

What sets this novel apart and gives rise to my unadulterated dislike of the story is the Ital-inglese she employs in those chapters set in Lucca. It was an excruciating and cringe-inducing experience trying to wade through her mish-mash of Italian/ English and what purpose does this Ital-inglese serve except to drive readers insane!

Obviously Ms. George must feel she is being very subtle as she employs a certain cumbersome and predictable technique to enable readers to understand all those Italian words, phrases and, yes occasionally, even sentences.

To give but a few examples, she describes a character buying a "cintura" and then proceeds to describe this man as passing the "cintura" through the loops of his trousers; she also writes of his stomach hanging over the "cintura" of his trousers- why not his stomach hung over the belt of his" pantaloni"? She mentions another man buying foccacia al cipolla and then has to go on to say he had to buy mints to disguise the odour of onions on his breath... and so on and so on ad infinitum. This also begs the question "what led her to chose to write certain words and phrases in Italian and not others." It also explains to some extent why this book is so horrendously long-winded.

The only possible explanation for this egregious infestation of carefully selected Italian words and phrases, which detracts hugely from any enjoyment of the story, is that Elizabeth George wished to demonstrate to readers her fluency in Italian or even that she has a smattering of that beautiful language. This is a remarkably selfish indulgence and shows a deplorable lack of empathy with fans of her books. I speak Italian and studied it for years so while I had no difficulty with the Italian per se, it was unbelievably irksome. I had to exercise great restraint to prevent myself from flinging the book against the wall and labour on through the never-ending gruel of what passes for prose in this novel. It was with a great sense of relief that I finally reached page 710.

Barbara Havers is my favourite character and having a great passion for Italy I was looking forward to following Barbara's exploits in Tuscany and was therefore predisposed to like Just One Evil Act but alas... I enjoy reading many authors whose novels are written in English and set in Italy including David Hewson..

Elizabeth George's last few novels have proved disappointing and I have found her style increasingly annoying but all previous efforts pale into insignificance when compared to this uniquely appalling offering.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Class Act? I think not..., 3 Nov 2013
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I have read Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley mysteries for years, and each time eagerly awaited the next release. No longer. This reads as if it has been written by someone else and has turned Barbara Havers into a -supposed- comedy act. That,s the last one I will buy unfortunately.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, 23 Nov 2013
By 
Columbyne (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
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I suggested this to a thriller readers' group - and wished that I had not, as no-one liked it. In fact I may be the only member of the group who finished it! Excluding the spoiler, here is what I reported back to the group:

At last I have reached the end of `Just One Evil Act' and it has been a real rollercoaster of a ride. I am left wondering what to say about it - simply because it is SO long and parts of it are so tough to get through. The last quarter of the book is the best by far. I think that the entire book could have been cut right back with some judicious editing. I could also have been made much easier to read by the exclusion of Italian words - you have to ask yourself WHY she felt the need for this when it actually detracts from the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the book. Bizarrely in the first part of the book the description and behaviour of Barbara Havers drove me mad and, I believe, has put some readers right off the book - and yet once she arrives in Italy this all seems to change. The character of the Italian policeman Salvatore Lo Bianco is beautifully drawn and his interaction with Barbara is intriguing as it combines compassion with a fierce intelligence.

Am I glad I read to the end? Yes, and I actually enjoyed the last 20%! Would I recommend it? Er... probably not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where Is Lynley?, 16 Oct 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
When we last left Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, his wife, Helen had recently died, shot down in front of their home. He is in mourning and trying to move on, both at the same time. We meet him today at a Rollerrink Derby. A rather new friend, a veterinarian, is skating under the name of Kickarse Electra. Seems normal, doesn't it?

At the same time DI Lynley is watching the skating, Detective Sargeant Barbara Havers is phoning again and again. It is not until early in the morning 1 am, that Lynley returns her phone call. He finds a distraught Havers. Her friend, Taymullah Azhar's girlfriend has left with their daughter. They are nowhere to be found. He is overcome, and Havers who is secretly in love with Azhar's, promises to help. Lynley feels she has overreached, Azhar's and this woman were not married and there is no law that was broken. Havers,won't have it, and silently thinks she will find them.

Havers, in some sort of anger fit has chopped her hair off and left clumps of hair. She had been counseled by her immediate supervisor, that she must dress as a professional and must have her hair done. All these things she had done, and was beginning to look lvely, and now look what she has done. She wears a winter cap to work the next morning and her her supervisor insists she take it off. She is astounded and stricken at Havers appearance. She also refuses time off for Havers to assist her friend. Havers has taken much time off to assist Lynley with his personal issues This is all beginning to look like a mess.

This was not my favorite book from the Lynley series. Havers is Havers and the chase she and Azhar's go on takes them to Italy, where Lynley follows. Cat and mouse games ensue. The process is sometimes unwieldy and very unusual. Some parts were difficult to believe. I much prefer DI Lynley 's stories and cases.

Recommended. prisrob 04-07-14
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian adventure, 22 Oct 2013
By 
maggiefb (Famagusta, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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Poor Hadiyyah - she almost drowned in the chilly North Sea in Deception on his Mind and now she has been kidnapped in Italy. This episode in the Lynley/Havers saga involves Havers more than Lynley, although he is initially despatched to Lucca to liaise with the Italian police. Of course he speaks Italian whereas Barbara Havers does not, though this doesn't prevent her from flying over there against orders to support her friend and neighbour Azhar, Hadiyyah's father.
So the action mainly takes place in a picturesque part of Italy, while things are happening in London: Barbara's involvement with a tabloid journalist; Azhar's complicated personal life; Lynley's new relationship as he attempts to get over his wife Helen's death.
Barbara Havers is the star of this show - the real Barbara, not the slimline TV version - and although it's hard to believe that someone so scruffy and unkempt, with such disregard for rules and procedures, would have survived for this long and been promoted to sergeant in Scotland Yard, this is fiction after all - and enjoyable fiction at that!

I wasn't expecting this to end the way it did, and look forward to finding out what happens to all the characters in the next book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just one evil act, 1 Nov 2013
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
The books about Detective Inspector Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers of New Scotland Yard are a well established series which has mainly been enjoyable. New readers should definitely start a long way back. American author Elizabeth George has of late been drawing all her inspirations from the news so takes her setting to Italy for part of the story, the rest of the time wandering around London with Havers.

Havers has a friend and neighbour, a girl aged nine of half-Pakistani origin. When little Hadiyyah goes missing, the girl's father believes that his daughter has been taken by her mother, his estranged partner. It's not Havers's job but she gets involved and even arranges a private investigator. Someone else abducts Hadiyyah from her mother's care in Italy, and the woman immediately assumes that the girl's father has taken the child to Pakistan. He hasn't, but where, then, is little Hadiyyah?

Braving the wrath of a female superior officer, Havers tells a tabloid newspaper - presented here as scum - about the situation so that publicity will force the British police to act. Lynley, who speaks Italian and has diplomatic ways, is foreseeably sent to act as liaison to the police in Italy. Brixton-born cop Winston Nkata makes only a couple of appearances, which is unfortunate.

Lynley is starting to recover from the untimely death of his wife and we'd think the interlude abroad might be good for him. Given that the Italian scene will be a mere tangent to the whole series, though, we don't care about anyone there so it is easy to skip lightly over the many pages of descriptive matter, musings of Italian police, issues of legalese, tedious repetition of phrases in Italian and English. Crime scene technical work is minimal, unlike earlier books, but perhaps George has got tired of writing depressing details about violent death. I am amazed however that George still sets a newspaper office in Fleet Street.

When Havers and the girl's father visit the private investigator, he sets chairs for them precisely lined up; it occurred to me instantly that they were being filmed. Why didn't Havers, a cop, see that? This character also uses the same childish swear words over and over, just like Ron in the Harry Potter books. It never once occurs to her while arranging for computer hacking and getting followed by police, that her phone could be tapped, nor does it seem to occur to a hacker while he's conversing with her. That man was impossible to believe. The one character who has not altered since the first book - when she did - is Havers, and I keep wishing she would grow up and clean up her act, which would make her much more likely to find a boyfriend. Why does she have so many pathetic t-shirts, when it would actually be quicker to grab a pack of six plain t-shirts? Why is she so filthy and her home so unhygienic? Her actions in this tale are frankly unbelievable and she has long since passed the point of being a reliable police officer, so I can't see how she keeps her civil service job.

JUST ONE EVIL ACT is an unnecessarily lengthy read and contains too much Italian - we don't read it - and not enough to hold our attention. George has also fallen into the appalling habit of robotic punctuation coming with American books now, her characters saying "Let. Them. In." She has a new editor, but where would one start when handed someone whose previous many books have all sold well, and whose books will cost more the wordier they run?
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3.0 out of 5 stars A better effort in the Lynley series, 4 May 2014
By 
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
After a disappointing last few instalments, Elizabeth George regains some of her previous good form in this latest Inspector Lynley novel. It takes up exactly where the last one ('Believing the Lie') left off and it would not be the right place to start the series, so new readers should go back to one of the earlier novels first. A lot to do with the relative success of this book is the character selection - there is much more focus on Barbara Havers, and the dreadful St James' get only five or so pages out of 623 (although that's still five too many in my view). There's also less of Lynley's love life and more of him doing his job. She also introduces a sympathetic and likeable new character, an Italian detective.

It's very much a book of three parts, which starts with a parental kidnapping of Havers' neighbour's child, and develops in a convoluted and unexpected way. It's a long novel, rather too long, with some of the repetitive machinations of shady private detectives double crossing each other and journalists and police crossing swords feeling unnecessary. The middle section drags a little, but there are some genuinely gripping sections.

As well as the actual machinations of the plot, the book takes on the broader themes of the relationship between the police and the media, and between police forces in different countries when an incident befalls a foreign national abroad. It also advances the personal storylines of the established characters considerably, and in an interesting way. George is bold about making radical changes to her characters' circumstances, and this is one of the factors that has enabled her to keep the series going for so many books.

It's an inventive plot, although there are a couple of holes and inconsistencies that challenge its believability. The Italian setting is well described, although there's too much dialogue rendered in Italian without any translation. George researches meticulously (although she doesn't show a complete grip on the world of microbiology, which I know something about) but sometimes her desire to prove she's done so gets in the way of the readability of the novel.

Overall it's an enjoyable enough yarn, and one worth reading for those who like detective stories and are already invested in the series. It does have its faults and it doesn't recapture the standard of some of her earlier books, but nevertheless I did enjoy it and it shows there is still some life left in the Lynley 'franchise'.
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Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley)
Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley) by Elizabeth George (Paperback - 10 April 2014)
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