Monday, December 27, 2010

Careless in Red by Elizabeth George

Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley #15)Careless in Red by Elizabeth George
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall a better-than-average read. This book's weaknesses, for me, were inborn in the fact that is modern British fiction. In my experience, modern British fiction is universally irritating in two ways: The TONE is flippant, irreverant, and haughty, which is a definite obstacle for me to overcome to enjoy the book. Also, the apparently pervasive class-consciousness of the British culture permeates the story and affects all the characters' relationships to a distracting degree. In addition to these two flaws, the book was too long. A good editor could have shaved at least 50-75 pages off this 721-page book without hurting the plot or character development. The result would have been a much-improved book.

HOWEVER, the strengths of the book overcame those flaws for me. The author wove at least 5 different storylines into a strong, cohesive, and fascinating overall plot. None of the intersections of the stories seemed forced. This book was a true "Whodunit" - this reader was considering several viable suspects up until the last 50 pages or so. The final revelation was not a surprise, but the clues leading to it were not obvious either. Another strength of the book was the character development. There were several strong characters in each thread of the storyline rope and presented at least 15 well-developed characters. Some writers have trouble developing so many characters meaningfully. Elizabeth George did a magnificent job of acquainting her readers with her characters. The final strenth of the book to this logophile was the vocabulary. I enjoy preciseness of language and seldom run across entirely unfamiliar words. In this book however, in addition to the British lingo, I discovered many very precise and formerly-unfamiliar terms for my future use. In addition to the new-to-me words, many vaguely-familiar, but dusty-from-disuse, words settled themselves comfortably into the narrative. I enjoyed visiting with them again after the long separation.

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