søndag den 12. juli 2009

Elizabeth George, Careless in Red (2008)


At the beginning of George´s fifteenth novel in this series, Thomas Lynley, eighth Earl of Asherton, is walking along the Cornish coast forty three days after the killing of his pregnant wife. He finds a body on the beach, a young climber who has apparently fallen off the cliffs above him. Noblesse oblige, we know, so of course Lynley has to stop his Odyssey in order to contact the local police. At first they are not quite sure who this unkempt vagabond is, which gives them a good reason to keep him for a while. Later the local DI Beatrice Hannaford is short-staffed and orders him to stay and assist her, whether he wants to or not. Realistic? – I am not sure.

From then on the book continues for hundreds of pages while we meet several young people drifting aimlessly around. No wonder, however, as none of the adults seems to be more sensible. The fathers try to make their sons into copies of their none too successful selves while the grown women of this story are busy having affairs with men of all sorts and ages. Surprising how they are carrying on in Cornwall.

Near the ending, one of these confused father figures remembers an old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” which seems to be an important message of the story.

The story is probably called Careless in Red for two reasons: when the victim, Santo Kerne, goes for his fatal climb, he wears a red windbreaker. The most important reason, however, is that his mother always wears red when she feels a need for male company.

All in all, the book is not too bad if one doesn´t mind the very slow pace. 568 pages for a story which could have been considerably better if the author had cut away a few hundred pages – for example a few of the side stories. It has its moments, but it is difficult to find excuses for this average work of fiction written by an author who could have made a better job of it. IF Elizabeth George has any true friends, they should encourage her to renew herself a bit and let her battered old noblemen rest in peace.

Some other reviews in English:
Petrona
Reactions to Reading
Mysteries in Paradise

Elizabeth George, En løgner i rødt (2009)
Ved begyndelsen af Elizabeth Georges femtende roman i den samme serie, er Thomas Lynley, den ottende jarl af Asherton, på en lang travetur langs Cornwalls kyst treogfyrre dage efter drabet på hans gravide kone. Han finder et lig på stranden, en ung klatrer som tilsyneladende er styrtet ned fra klipperne over dem. Adel forpligter, som vi ved, så Lynley må afbryde sin odyssé for at tilkalde det lokale politi. Først er de usikre på, hvem den uplejede vagabond er, og benytter lejligheden til at tilbageholde ham. Senere er den lokale politiinspektør Beatrice Hannaford underbemandet, og beordrer Lynley til at blive på stedet for at hjælpe hende, uanset om han har lyst eller ej. Realistisk? – det er jeg ikke så sikker på.

Her efter fortsætter bogen over mange hundrede sider, mens vi møder adskillige unge mennesker, som driver omkring uden mål og med. Måske er det ikke så underligt, da ingen af de voksne omkring dem lader til at være mere fornuftige. Fædre prøver at forme deres sønner som kopier af dem selv (selv om ingen af dem er kommet særlig godt igennem livet), mens de voksne kvinder i bogen er travlt optaget af affærer med mænd af alle slags og i enhver alder. Forbløffende, som de har gang i den i Cornwall.

Romanen hedder sandsynligvis ”En løgner i rødt” fordi offerets mor altid klæder sig i rødt, når hun er på jagt efter mandligt selskab.

I det store og hele er bogen nogenlunde underholdende, hvis man ikke har noget imod, at tingene udvikler sig så langsomt. 568 sider (den engelske udgave) til en historie, som kunne have været langt bedre hvis forfatteren havde forkortet den med et par hundrede sider – for eksempel ved at fjerne et par af de mange sidehistorier. Den har sine gode punkter, men det er svært at undskylde dette gennemsnitlige stykke arbejde skrevet af en forfatter, som kunne have gjort det bedre. Hvis Elizabeth George har nogen rigtige venner, burde de opmuntre hende til at forny sig selv, og lade de forslidte gamle adelsmænd hvile i fred.

6 kommentarer:

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

you were paying more attention than me Dorte - thanks for the heads-up about why it was called Careless in Red. I totally agree with you about her needing a good, honest friend

lilly sagde ...

I haven't read this one yet but all the Lynley books I did read I enjoyed tremendously. George is one of my favorite British detective mystery writers.

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: with regard to the title I noticed that you and Maxine discussed it so I thought about it while reading (you know my methods, Sherlock)

Lilly: I have enjoyed her for ages, but I think it is time for her to renew herself. And in Careless in Red she focuses too much on too many side stories in my opinion. But some readers have enjoyed it a lot, e.g. Kerrie whose review I link to.

Beth F sagde ...

I haven't read any of these books yet! I have watched the BBC productions.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth, the TV series is quite different from the books. Not the plots as such, but Inspector Lynley. The nobility aspect has been downtoned a lot by BBC - which is a very sensible idea if I may say so. I think you might enjoy the first many novels written by her, however. They are not at all bad.

Jane sagde ...

I bought this book for a very long day of transportation from Alabama to Silkeborg but did not finish it - it is indeed way to long! I totally agree with your review. I still have about a 100 pages to go and I keep reading because I want to know who did it. But this book seems very uneven to me. I should have read your review before I got started on this monster :-)
BTW Dorte, what can you recommend for me to read next? My best crime fiction of the year has been Johan Theorin, and I have enjoyed Mankell (some of his books) and Nesser recently. I would like to try something new, perhaps non-Scandinavian and non-British?