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CARELESS IN RED


By Elizabeth George

Harper, April 2009 ($7.99)

ISBN-10: 0061160903
ISBN-13: 978-0061160905

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley's friends and family would dearly love to be able to comfort and console him after the tragic death of his wife and son yet no one can seem to reach him. He resigns from Scotland Yard and one day literally walks out the door, taking nothing with him, not even his ID, and begins a journey along the harsh Cornish coast. One wonders if he intends to throw himself off a cliff into the raging surf below. He is clearly lost in his own thoughts, wrestling with demons only he can see, until the public world intrudes in the form of the dead body of a young cliff climber. I, for one, wanted Lynley to just keep on walking but he feels he must report the incident. Was it an accident or something more sinister?

In his unkempt state, Lynley is not trusted by the locals. Why should he be? He has no identification on him and he looks dangerous. No one knows him and he hasn't told anyone who he is...yet.

Can the local police trust him? Can he trust the local police? Who is the young man lying dead at the base of the rocky cliff? And, why has no one seemed to miss the fallen climber? The truth of the matter reveals itself slowly. Very slowly.

I wanted to like this book, but it was impossible to do so. Not only is the book at least two hundred pages too long, I couldn't keep the numerous locals straight. There were too many uninteresting and unimportant characters and too many subplots. I didn't find any of the major characters likeable or interesting either, except for Lynley and Detective Inspector Bea Hannaford. Barbara Havers arrived too late on the scene for my liking. By the time she breezed into town, I was so disappointed in the story that nothing could have saved it. I kept thinking, "Just walk away, Thomas, walk away..."

As Dr. Watson once remarked to Sherlock Holmes, "this case is unworthy of you!"

And for goodness sake, if you aren't already a die-hard fan of the Inspector Lynley series, this is no place to start. Go back and read the series from the beginning.

Edcom: This review is based on the hardcover edition.

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