Progress Report: Elizabeth George’s Careless in Red

I’ll admit I wasn’t brimming with excitement at the prospect of reading the 15th installment of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley mysteries. careless in redPartly this is due to my own disappointment at the previous book (that wasn’t really in the series at all but did relate to a character) and partly this is because reviews by people’s whose opinions tend to coincide with mine haven’t been glowing (see Maxine’s review from earlier this year). But mostly it’s because the damned thing is enormous.

I chose to listen to it rather than read the print version (I’m desperate for audio books and I’m too cheap to buy as many as I need so make do with what’s at the library) but it’s 23 hours and 15 minutes long! I have to assume she was paid by the word. I also have to assume she’s too ‘big’ to warrant an editor these days. I don’t know what else would account for the kind of wandering down rabbit holes and meandering off on tangents that have, so far, filled the book (I’m somewhere in the middle of CD13). No first time author would get away with this.

There’s not a whole lot of story to date and I’m not nearly as interested in the sex lives of a bunch of dreary Cornwall residents as George seems to be (seriously the woman’s obsessed). There have been some decent moments but the book doesn’t have nearly the punch (nor the brevity) of the excellent earlier books in the series like For the sake of Elena and Deception on his Mind. All the regular minor characters are missing (even good old Havers took until CD 11 to make her presence felt) and their replacements haven’t grabbed me much. The DCI investigating the case, Bea Hannaford shows potential but it’s a toss up whether I find out how she finishes up or pour superglue into my own ears to make it all stop.

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4 Responses to Progress Report: Elizabeth George’s Careless in Red

  1. Dorte H says:

    Even though I have read Maxine´s review and remembers it vividly, I am also determined to read the book before or later.
    Why do we torment ourselves like this? 😉


  2. Maxine says:

    We’re just masochists! I keep on reading her, even though I had read some reviews of Careless in Red that were very negative when the HB came out, I still bought the PB and read it. I think, Bernadette, you are on the nail when you refer back to her earlier books. For the Sake of Elena was the first E George I read (bought on holiday when had run out of books – had not heard of her before) – and I loved it. Good mystery, good characters and a very strong depiction of post-natal depression. The books got a bit more bloated but I was totally compelled by Deborah’s attempts to have a child etc. (Will say no more for spoilers.) Now, they seem empty and self-regarding compared with those earlier works, but I just keep hoping she’ll return to form one day. But, probably she won’t, as it didn’t happen to P Cornwell or J Kellerman (other authors whose earlier books I loved but “went off” with fame and the annual “bestseller”).


  3. bernadetteinoz says:

    I can’t decide if it’s loyalty or fear I’ll miss something good that makes me keep coming back to these authors. I agree with your two Maxine and would add Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter as well. I’m both exceited and terrified at the prospect of Sara Paretsky’s new V I Warshawski novel due out soon – will it too be all bloated and irrelevant? I hope not as the V I series was the first I really fell in love with as an adult – I loved the strong female character which you just didn’t see a lot of way back when.


  4. Kerrie says:

    Bernadette, I have chosen you for a meme – if you read back to peter’s post in the comments you’ll see it is all Maxine’s fault.


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