Another world-class mystery by the master. Her stories are an excuse to display her magnificent use of the language. I went to one of her readings once and she was quite unpleasant, which was refreshing. No audience ass kisser, our Elizabeth. Sir Thomas Lynley is back, somewhat changed, and so is my favorite EG character, Barbara Havers. Barbara comes into her own in this book.
The actual story is as complex as the other Lynley books, but this time written with a background of devastating grief the detective feels over the violent death of his wife (in a previous book). He has resigned from his post at Scotland Yard and this case is his path to personal redemption. He becomes a suspect in the untimely death of a young rock climber as he walks listlessly along the Cornwall Coast that George describes so well it makes you want to go there immediately. Especially if you are bereft and gloomy.
The novel takes deep looks into the psyches of all the many characters, and all of them have secrets, which are deliciously discovered and revealed. It makes you think about the people you know and look at them in a new way. Hmmm…they look normal, but…
The book picks up to a zippy pace after you’re about a third of the way through, when Barbara Havers appears. As always, she is an obsessive, overweight, badly dressed, clumsy smoker and the perfect counterpoint to the elegantly morose Inspector Lynley. I just love her. What’s missing is her continuing non-romance with her East Indian neighbor. Darn.
Elizabeth George has produced some duds. This isn’t one of them.