Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some plus points, but more minuses, 31 Mar 2011
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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