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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A top detective novelist on great form
There are of course a number of different types of detective novel out there in the market - the classic whodunnit (where characterisation is not terribly important) the police procedural, the chiller, the fully characterised novel with detection at the fringes - and so on - and with shades in between.
Elizabeth George started life as a great exponent of the cleverly...
Published on 18 April 2010 by bookelephant

versus
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and brilliant but...
After the murder of Helen I almost parted company with Elizabeth George. However I gave Careless in Red a chance which it richly deserved. Now I'm unsure whether I'll continue my love affair with George's books. Her earlier novels were by far the best and whilst she writes with assurance and her prose is beautiful parts of the plot are unneccessarily convoluted and could...
Published on 17 May 2010 by Jane Baker


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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and brilliant but..., 17 May 2010
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
After the murder of Helen I almost parted company with Elizabeth George. However I gave Careless in Red a chance which it richly deserved. Now I'm unsure whether I'll continue my love affair with George's books. Her earlier novels were by far the best and whilst she writes with assurance and her prose is beautiful parts of the plot are unneccessarily convoluted and could be condensed without harm to the storyline. Reading the sub-story made me feel uncomfortable with such close parallels to the Bulger story and the police chase after the paranoid schizophrenic was too close to the Jean Charles de Menenes incident. George is taking chances here it seems to me. And an ACC drinking on the job - acting ACC, but even so, I certainly hope not! Was this all a bit over-imaginative? Pushing the boundaries a bit too far. And Lynley acting out of character even given the madness of his grief with the alchoholic Isabelle robbed me of some of my sympathy for him. George's style is evolving, as this must for an author,but it's into something less wholesome than the novels which brought her to prominence.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars George bombs-again, 15 Feb 2011
What is with with these successful churn-em-out authors? Do they eventually think they are above editing? Do their fans stick to them no-matter-what? Do they believe that more is more and fail to see that it is less? Elizabeth George lost her touch long ago. It has been many years since I manage to wade past the first few chapters, though, bless me, I always make the effort. I really gave this one a good try, but I have to say-what is good is not original, and what is original is not good. The story is a direct lift of the tragedy of James Bulgar, and the subsequent resurfacing of John Venables in the news.She sets the scene well at the start of the novel by moving between seemingly unrelated stories. The social worker's reports are always the most fascinating. But does this story have to be spun out quite so mercilessly? Does George think we have nothing else to do but wade through her verbosity?I gave up at about page 200, and just picked up on the social worker reports to the end to find out what ensued. I did, and it took all of 10 minutes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DISGRACEFUL, 19 Feb 2012
This review is from: This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16) (Paperback)
I love crime and forensic novels, and can enjoy the grisliest Patricia Cornwell and Martina Cole books. But when I started to read this book, my first by Elizabeth George, I felt uneasy as the opening chapter, on the death of the little boy seemed to be so reminiscent of that of little James Bulger. This was a crime that horrified all of the UK and I believe we were, and always will be, ashamed that such could be committed in our country and by two who were so young and broken themselves. I plodded through several chapters, each time I got to another chapter about the little Dresser boy I had to take a deep breath to plough through it. I did stick with it for three quarters of the book and each time the description of the activities of the perpetrators got more and more gratuitously graphic. At last I came to my senses and thought "Why am I reading this trashy and totally unnecessary re-enactment of a tragic and almost incredulous true life crime?" and I threw the book into our non recycling bin, along with the bags of our dog's waste...they suddenly seemed quite sweet smelling in comparison to the nearly 800 pages of wasted trees!. How does that woman sleep at night if this is what she enjoys writing, aren't authors supposed to think up their own stories? To have this American writer use this dreadful real life tragedy as a back drop to a long winded, ridiculously drawn out tome seemed to me unbelievable. What were her publishers and agent thinking of to allow it to ever be printed. I shall not be reading any more of Elizabeth George since she has no compassion for real life victims and families or pride in her trade.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For me!, 29 Dec 2011
I am a great lover of Elizabeth George. I have all the Lynley books, I also have the all the DVDs. But I found this book a little odd. After two or three chapters i felt as though someone else was writing the book,and worse, like some other reviewers I felt uneasy at the the similaritiy to the Bulger case.
As the book progressed more things made me feel that it was not Ms George writing >> An ACC drunk on the job AND Lynly aware of this AND overlooking it ?!? Even a grieving Lynley would not do that.
And a superior trying to make over Havers. Oh please!!!
The last straw was Lynley hopping into bed with this obnoxious drunk so soon after Helen's daeth.
It is as though the writer did not know her characters.

i hope Ms George's next book is back on track or I shall be off.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some plus points, but more minuses, 31 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16) (Paperback)
This was the first - or maybe second - book by Elizabeth George I had ever read. I doubt whether I shall be reading any more. The book is intricately plotted, too intricately for my liking in fact: I find that all the apparently unrelated plot lines being slowly and painfully drawn together add up to a tiresome read. Ms George's research on the New Forest was, I must admit, extremely well done. I spent my teenage years in New Milton (mentioned once in the book), and know that all of the geographical references and other area-specific aspects are very accurate. But, and this is a big but, two aspects of the novel were a complete turn-off for me. First, like many other reviewers, I found the thinly disguised use of the James Bulger tragedy extremely distasteful. I need say no more about that; others have said it all. Second, I find some aspects of Ms George's style - so highly rated in some quarters, apparently - irritating to the point of tempting me to hurl the book into outer darkness (except that my Kindle would have had to go with it). If an author is going to set her novels in a country other than her own - but one where basically the same language is spoken - she should make sure a 'native speaker' carries out meticulous editing. This would have avoided the most irritating mistake: the constant use of 'likely' as an adverb rather than an adjective (even in the mouth of the upper-crust Lynley!). In the UK, despite our steady drift towards the mid-Atlantic, we do NOT say things like "Mary will likely be coming back this evening". We say "probably", Ms George, and PLEASE don't forget it. Also, we do not describe upholstered furniture as "overstuffed", as Americans do; it sounds very odd to an English ear. And another thing: McHaggis is not a credible Scottish name; it sounds like a very unfunny joke. Finally, on the style aspect, could the author not find some other words that mean the same as "comprise" ("consist of", "be formed of", "be made up of" spring instantly to mind)? The verb is used over and over and over again, sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. Another reviewer mentions a plot-point that goes wrong. Like him or her, I cannot say what it is, but it was the point that made the main plot-penny drop for me, yet, when I looked back, I discovered that it had been applied to the wrong person ... All in all, this novel endeared to me all the more my beloved mystery writers who choose a milieu they know, with speech habits they master fully, and stick with it, whether it be Chicago, North Carolina, Seattle or Santa Teresa (I hope you can guess which ones I'm talking about!).
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A top detective novelist on great form, 18 April 2010
By 
bookelephant (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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There are of course a number of different types of detective novel out there in the market - the classic whodunnit (where characterisation is not terribly important) the police procedural, the chiller, the fully characterised novel with detection at the fringes - and so on - and with shades in between.
Elizabeth George started life as a great exponent of the cleverly plotted whodunnit, but in her early books her characters, though engaging, seemed to me maybe a little lacking in nuance. Over the years however she has become more and more accomplished as a writer of fully formed characters. I suspect (while I will never forgive her for this piece of plotting, which seemed to me cruel in the extreme) that her killing off of Lynley's wife Helen a few years ago was a necessary staging post on the road to the books she writes now, which are superbly plotted and full of well drawn characters, about whom one cares. By now, for example, I am quite as fond of Lynley's team as I have ever been of Adam Dalgleish's satellites. And in this novel she produces a number of characters to people the mystery who seem very real, and sympathetic, and whose story one really wants to know. But this has not led to any weakening of her powers in the plotting department - far from it. As a detective novel loving friend once said to me "With her books you actually have to think to work out who is the murderer" - and I could not agree more!
So this time out we are just a few months down the road from her last Lynley novel - he has not long returned from Cornwall and the Yard is still trying to fill the Superintendant's position that Lynley won't take. They bring in Isabelle Ardery (who provides a lovely illustration of the stresses and strains of trying to get to the top in a very macho job). She perspicaciously realsises that her relationship with the team may work better if Lynley is not the ghost at the feast, and persuades him back to help out with the new case, a very bloody murder of a young woman who has mysteriously abandoned her boyfriend without any explanation to her friends and family. The boyfriend, his new girlfriend, the best friend and the brother of the victim are all beautifully portrayed against the backdrop of the still more beautiful New Forest (whose tourism department should write Elizabeth George a thank you note!). So too are the eccentric characters in and around the house where the victim has gone to live in London. Two mysteries present themselves - who killed Jemima - is it a London or a Hampshire crime? And how does this relate to the story of a past horror which is interspersed with the modern action - a murder of a toddler which will bring vividly to mind the Bulger case.
This second line of the story is one of my few reservations - the story is told chillingly and compellingly - and in some considerable detail. That being the case the parallel with the Bulger case seemed to me almost too close - is it right to recreate such a horror for the purposes of fiction when all involved in that case are still enmeshed in its consequences? Wouldn't a more historically distant story have provided a more suitable theme (and as The Suspicions of Mr Whicher shows, there are examples which could be used!)? My other grouch is that the motive for the murder seemed a little thin (but that may be because I had come up with a version which seemed to me to provide a more forceful motive!)
Apart from these points however (and one other aspect which I wont tell, since it would ruin a plot point) I thought it terrific.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have her back, 1 May 2010
By 
Ruth Ibañez "mystery lover" (Vitoria, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was a little afraid to read this book, as I am a big fan of Elizabeth George and I was very disappointed with her last novel. But I am happy to say I've loved this book from beginning to end, especially -as always- my dear Barbara Havers and her great personality, although she is mellowing down a bit and I kind of miss seeing her pissed at someone. I'm not sure where George is trying to go with Linley's character, or if he will ever be back to being the decision maker he once was; if she's planning on leaving him like he is, I have to say, I'll have to switch my liking to Nkata, although he was terribly mellow on this one and a mere extra in the whole process.
I'm also expectant with what is going to happen with Barbara and her nice neighbour, because I know something has to happen with them, or at least I hope so. She deserves a nice boyfriend and he seems to be the perfect one for her, along with Haddiyah.
All in all, a good return. Thank you, Ms George.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unresolved questions - don't read if you don't like spoilers, 31 Dec 2011
This review is from: This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16) (Paperback)
Sorry if I'm missing something here (I read very quickly, so miss details, and it's not easy to go back and check in such a voluminous - er, volume):

Much hangs on Gordon's inability to read or write - how did he create the postcards? Anyway, why can't he read and why doesn't the Home Office know it (hence the literally incredible slip-up over the letters of reference), after years of intense institutionalisation?

What was the point about Gordon's eyes and the sunglasses? We are carefully told that there is something odd about young Richard's eyes - are we supposed to overrule Frazer's indentification of Gordon as Ian? What's the point of that?

What was the point of Matthew Jones?

If Winston's ancestry is West Indian - how did his family manage to hang onto an African surname? If he's from the West Indies then his ancestors were slaves, and as such they would have been given English surnames. This one could so very easily have been avoided by making his ancestry African instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of Elezabeth George's better books, 5 Dec 2011
I prefer the TV screen adaptations of Elizabeth George's novels. The character of Helen has more depth. I find her trite and irritating in the books. In one book, the morning after a murder, she is wondering what shoes to wear and makes the comment that the green ones are rather sweet. She sounds more like an airhead than a professional and intelligent woman.

In this novel there are characters with a couple of unusual occupations, a thatcher and a man who looks after the wild ponies on the moor. The descriptions of locations and characters are excellent.

Although I did enjoy this novel I had a problem with the back story and was well into it before I understood why it was there. Once that became clear, the novel became more tense and thrilling.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sickening, 18 Dec 2011
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This is the first time that I have ever refused to continue reading a novel on moral grounds. This book started so well and I am usually a fan of Elizabeth George, but I have been left sickened by the sections so obviously based on the James Bulger murder case. How could any author stoop so low as to use that little boy's vile murder as a means of both entertainment (which is why we all love crime novels) and money-making (as, after all, she will profit from this book)? I am utterly disgusted and will never buy an Elizabeth George title again. In fact, my copy has gone in the bin as I don't even want it remaining on my bookshelf.
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This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16)
This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 16) by Elizabeth George (Paperback - 17 Feb 2011)
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