Sunday, March 11, 2012

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George

Elizabeth George just gets richer and deeper in her character development and scene setups as her extensive oeuvre grows. While mystery series by other writers may develop to the point that plot or character begin to take on a sameness (haven’t we had this plot development before?), George’s series remind readers of the infinite variation in shades of light, of emotion, of personality, of murderous intent. In this latest addition to the Inspector Lynley series, George swerves into the “wildly improbable,” a phrase that she puts in the mouth and mind of more than one of her characters. That does not stop us from enjoying welcome news of the flawed but graceful Detective Inspector Lynley and his sidekick Barbara Havers, and their constantly changing personal lives and professional personae.

I listened to the audio of this title , read by Davina Porter. Porter also reads the Scotland Road series by Alexander McCall Smith, and has such a distinctive voice that cannot help but remember other things she has worked on. Porter is as skilled a reader as George is a writer, so the two are well-matched. It is a wild ride, this tale, and however improbable, George manages to keep us hanging on through Barbara Havers’ fashion makeover (!) and enough lies, misdirection, and wealthy-family weirdness to make one glad to be simply a proletariat.

This story unfolds in the Cumbrian region of Britain, cold and full of lakes, thick with history and veins of resentments. There is much sex, straight and otherwise, in this—enough to keep one’s eyes peeled wide (How on earth did she do her research into this? Reading the tabloids?)—but it makes me like George more…she seems like someone I’d like to meet. There is always a risk with crazy plots, but George is so competent that one knows she did it for a reason. It is a little, perhaps, tongue-in-cheek (what if the tabloids were true?), but she’s already proved her skill as far as I am concerned. Now George is just a friend helping us through withdrawal from missing some of our favorite characters, and her book is like a letter from a friend telling us what she thinks has become of them. Or what becomes them, in the case of Barbara Havers.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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