Elizabeth George

Careless in Red

". a substantial and absorbing read"


Chief Inspector Thomas Lynley, mourning his murdered wife, is walking the South West coast path to try to assuage his grief. On his walk he sees a climber fall to his death in an apparent accident. When it is proved that the climber's ropes were deliberately cut, the first persons on the scene, Lynley and the mysterious Daidre Trahair come under suspicion by the local police force. When Lynley's identity is revealed he is reluctantly co-opted onto the case along with his Scotland Yard colleague Barbara Havers. While the police want Lynley to dig into Daidre's past, he is convinced that an accident that took place twenty years ago may be of more relevance to the case. Furthermore, the private life of the fallen climber, Santo Kerne, seems to hold the key to his murder - his promiscuity having touched the lives of the local Cornish residents.

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With No One as Witness saw the murder of Lynley's wife and, although George's sequel What Came Before He Shot Her dealt with some of the aftermath of the killing, it is a relief to return to the Lynley/Havers partnership in this book. It must have been a difficult book to write as most of the plot involving Lynley should naturally revolve around the grief he feels. However, George manages to deal with this while allowing him to play a key role in the investigation. Moving the action away from London is an inspired touch, although I am not sure whether real life policing allows such flexibility in its investigations. Barabara Havers is as dishevelled as ever and her relationship with Lynley falls into its usual pattern of exasperation and affection. The conclusion of the murder is slightly disappointing for the reader, not just because there is no justice for the killer but because this plot line becomes less interesting than the revelation of Daidre's history. But the book is a substantial and absorbing read and will be enjoyed, I am sure, by all Elizabeth George fans.

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