Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: A Great Deliverance

This books marks the beginning of the Inspector Lynley series, though the focus of the book is very much Lynley's partner, Barbara Havers. He and Havers are sent north to investigate the murder of a reclusive farmer, seemingly killed by his daughter.

Havers loathes being paired with Lynley. She is unattractive and argumentative, dealing with mentally ill parents. She sees Lynley as the beneficiary of unearned class privilege.

I wanted to like this book. I usually like books like this, but it was hardly one of my favorites. The novel is written in absolutely purple prose, and this is a case in which the prose interrupts the reader's ability to enjoy the book. There are also character issues. Havers is irritating and angry. There's no subtlety to Havers. Everything seems to devolve into full-on vitriol. We learn that Havers was kicked out of CID because of anger issues. By the end of the book the reader is supposed to understand Havers's issues. While I certainly felt some sympathy, I still found the depths of her pathological anger to be inexplicable. Her class issues are never really explained either. Finally, the American couple at the hotel is simply ridiculous. George is American; she should know better.

Elizabeth George, A Great Deliverance (Bantam, 1989) ISBN: 0553278029

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