Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Suggestions

Though she already has legions of fans, Elizabeth George is my Saturday Suggestion for this week. Have you ever read one of her books? Usually, I prefer my books to have historical settings (as I am sure most of you know). But I'll read anything Ms. George cares to write. She has a wonderful mystery series that is set in present day London and features Inspector Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers. Her settings are impeccable, when you read one of her books you would swear that she is British, but she is not, she is American and from California. I don't think that she has ever even lived in England. Obviously, her research is excellent.
Elizabeth George

The unusual thing about Elizabeth George is that she does not hesitate to devote entire books to the point-of-view of side characters. If you are a series reader (as I am), there is nothing more interesting than to get inside the other characters. It provides a whole new dimension to the stories, a depth and richness that is not normally achieved. I read scathing reviews of her recent book, What Came Before He Shot Her, which is devoted entirely to the perpetrator of a horrible crime, his family and background. Lynley and Havers are largely missing from the book, which was the chief complaint. It is true that if you were a new reader, just picking up that particular book as your first Elizabeth George experience, you might be completely lost, but I thought the book was a fantastic addition to the series. I DO recommend that you read them in order, the characters grow over time and it helps to have started at the beginning. The series, so far, consists of:

A Great Deliverance
Payment In Blood
Well Schooled in Murder
A Suitable Vengeance
For the Sake of Elena
Missing Joseph
Playing for the Ashes
In The Presence of the Enemy
Deception on His Mind
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner
A Traitor to Memory
A Place of Hiding
With No One as Witness
What Came Before He Shot Her
Careless in Red

I picked up Careless in Red last time I was in London. It is sitting by my bed, I haven't had time to get to it yet. When I do, you can be sure I will post a review here. The BBC has a successful television series based on this series, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. They are aired on PBS in the United States from time to time. I haven't ever had a chance to watch one but they seem to be popular. I'll have to put them on my DVD list, it would be interesting to see how they translate to television.


Molly said...

As luck would have it -- I discovered an indedepenent book store that specializes in mysteries back in October. The staff was ever so helpful and among the many authors suggested --- the one I chose to purchase that day was Elizabeth George. I absolutely LOVED the first Linley novel, but have not dared to read another as I am afraid that I would accomplish nothing else until the entire series has been read. I have already purchased numbers 2 and 3 in the series and I am planning to read them once I complete my summer courses.

The Tome Traveller said...

Molly -
how I wish I had time to read them again, they are that good. I'm so glad you have started on them, let me know what you think as you go on! I'll be interested to know if you like the way the main character changes from book to book.


Ruth @ Bookish Ruth said...

I got hooked on Elizabeth George by watching the Inspector Lynley Mysteries on PBS. I loved the episodes and decided to read the books. I adored A Great Deliverance and am looking forward to reading the rest of the books.

Amy said...

I'm a few books behind at this point, but I LOVE these books...I need to get caught up on the series!

jenclair said...

I'm a fan, too. Especially of Barbara Havers!

And you have won a copy of The Reluctant Widow! Send me your address, and I'll get it in the mail to you. Congrats!

Lenore said...

You know, I have never read E. George. I really should!

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.