Careless in Red

Elizabeth George has long been one of my favorite authors, but her books have been becoming bleaker and bleaker. Even though I’ve read many — most? even all? — of her novels, I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed any of them. So there will be a good opportunity for a retrospective, as soon as I can find the time, which won’t be soon, in view of the size of George’s oeuvre. So let’s just record a few comments on her latest novel, Careless in Red, a somewhat unconventional entry in George’s Lynley-and-Havers series. I don’t recommend starting with this book, not just for the usual reason that the back story is helpful, but also because it is an atypical story in the series. Its pacing is slow and deliberate, there are many unconventional characters, and the setting is unusual. But the setting provides truly rich detail: you’ll learn a lot about Cornwall, rock-climbing, and particularly surfing, all tightly connected with the plot and the characters, major and minor. Most important is that you’ll gain insight into the lives of those characters, and that’s another reason why this shouldn’t be your first Lynley/Havers book: I don’t think you can appreciate the depth of the insight unless you’ve had a chance to experience the history of these characters. So put Careless in Red on your list, but wait until you’ve read some of its predecessors; I’ll write about the whole series soon. Well, maybe not soon, but within the year.

Categories: Books