Over the years I had read each of Elizabeth George's books as soon as they were on the shelf. I grew fond of Linley and Havers and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, characters and how the relationships moved on through the books.
Then there were a couple of her books that just did not appeal at all, I suppose I did not like the subject matter or the departure from her usual. So I was not really prepared to buy this book.
However, I am glad I did. I really enjoyed it. I wanted to pick the book up every evening when I got home and although I wanted to know what happened next, I was disappointed when I reached the last page. Linley and Havers were back, but it was different as the dynamics have changed. I had "sussed" out the connections between the seemingly quite separate "stories" (which I will not reveal here) but that did not stop me from being a bit surprised at a couple of outcomes!
So, in essence, I was pleased Elizabeth George was back to her old storytelling self!
After a number of duds Elizabeth George has finally returned to form. Here she returns to the formula which, in her hands, is anything but predictable and delivers another great crime novel which is intricate, compelling and multi-layered.
Lynley is brought back to Scotland Yard by Isabelle Ardery (from Playing for the Ashes) and though he is now working for her, the dynamic between them is anything but stable. Havers and Nkata are also back as well as cameos for the St James.
Here a young woman is found dead in Stoke Newington cemetery and the investigation stretches between London where she now lives and Hampshire where she came from. Interspersed with the main narrative is a detached analysis of a child-killing based on the Jamie Bulgar case. The connections between the two strands are gradually made clear (perhaps not as gradually as I'd have liked) thus giving the story a chilling contemporary resonance.
Long-time fans might not necessarily like what George allows her characters to do here but I think it's a mark of a fine novelist who allows them to have a life of their own, even one which we may not approve of. This is an excellent read - too bad that we'll have such a long wait for the next one!
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.
Having been a fan of Elisabeth George for many years I was deeply dissapointed with this novel. Far too convoluted, why use twenty words when one will do. I tried to plough through it but eventaually gave up on the confusing style of writing. I think Miss George has lost the plot, I shall not be buying any more of her books until she reverts to her earlier winning format.
I said when I'd ploughed through Careless in Red that I would never buy another book of EG's and I didn't buy this one but borrowed it from the library. So at least the author didn't get a penny of my money for her meandering tasteless revisit of the Jamie Bulger murder. Has she no shame? perhaps next time she'd like to rewrite a version of The Moors Murders, or create her own thinly disguised Peter Sutcliffe or Fred West. Apart from the obvious lack of judgement in the subject matter this book also contained many of the faults that have been developing over the last few books; too long, too much research on subjects not of general interest (New Forest Ponies in this instance), too great [and misplaced] a belief in her own knowledge of Britain and finally tedious tedious characters, in particular for me the new problem ridden alcoholic boss Isabel Ardery. For the first time ever I didn't finish one of EG's books, so I don't know whodunnit. And you know what? I don't care.
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.