Saturday, April 13, 2013

Believing the Lie, by Elizabeth George

Believing the Lie, by Elizabeth George

The Lynley novels have been uneven lately, but I haven't quite given up yet. Believing the Lie is just good enough to stand on its own, but still not as impressive as the earlier outings. The mystery is solid—George keeps us guessing as to the outcome until late in the novel—and the side-plots with one exception are intriguing as well. Homophobia is a major plot driver, with several minor characters showing a violent intolerance and others fully accepting; sadly nobody is ambiguous towards the topic at all removing the opportunity for any serious comment on the issue—everyone is a stereotype on one side or the other. At this point, though, we don't read this series for the plot but for the characters.

Inspector Lynley continues to act out after his wife's death, continuing his ill-advised affair with his alcoholic and unlikeable boss. Simon St. James is largely in the background here which is unfortunate. Deborah St. James however remains virtually intolerable; I don't understand how the reader is expected to believe people with the character and intelligence of the other leads would put up with the self-centered antics of Deborah who seems to exist only as a plot device. Barbara Havers continues to be my favorite; here she demonstrates the same grasp of Spanish I do: "I can't—of course—read the caption since it's in Spanish, in which language I can actually say una cerveza por favor but, believe me, nothing else."

Believing the Lie is better than the last few outings, but still not what I'd hope. The last few pages, however, cause me to eagerly await the next volume which looks to focus on Havers and Lynley. Hopefully Deborah will stay off page and quiet!

First Sentence:
Zed Benjamin had never been called into the office of the editor before, and he found the experience simultaneously disconcerting and thrilling.

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