May 8, 2010

This Body of Death - Elizabeth George

I love Elizabeth George's series of murder mysteries featuring the team of Lynley and Havers (and others), so when a new one was released 2 weeks ago, I rushed out and bought a copy. I have read all of the books to date, and one thing that I love is that the main characters aren't static - they have lives outside of their work, and you can follow what is happening in their private lives as they solve the mystery.

This book didn't disappoint in that respect - Havers and her neighbour Hadiyyah (my two all-time favourite characters!) feature thoughout the book, as does Lynley as he slowly recovers from the death of his wife (3 books ago, I think). A new character, Isabelle Ardery is introduced as the Acting Superintendent, and the end of the book implies that she will be appearing in future books. I will say now that I really don't like her, but her presence adds an interesting dimension to the team.

The other thing that Elizabeth George is brilliant at is the art of the red herring, and they are present in abundance throughout this book.

The plot was interesting - the body of a young woman is found in a graveyard with her carotid artery slashed, and no identification on her, which eventually leads to her home and family and friends. I don't think that it is one of her strongest plots though, as I had pretty much guessed the ending half way through the book. But I don't think that it's a case of an author running out of plots - What Came Before He Shot Her (2 books ago) is my favourite book that she has written.

My other critique of this book is in its length. At 689 pages, it could have easily been 100-200 pages shorter with some better editing. There seemed to be a lot of repetition that did nothing to forward either the plot or the character development.

But overall a decent read, and I look forward to the next book in the series whenever it might come out.

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