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Believing The Lie Book Review

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Title: Believing The Lie
Author: Elizabeth George
Published: 2012, Penguin books
No. of Pages: 608
Cover Price: $16.00 US



Inspector Lynley, the beloved character in the popular series written by Elizabeth George, is back, and this time he is on a mission to investigate the suspicious death of Ian Cresswell. Although the death isn’t necessarily believed to be a murder, the victim’s uncle, Bernard Fairclough, a very wealthy and influential close friend of David Hillier (Lynley’s nemesis and Isabelle Ardery’s Boss), has requested an investigation for reasons that become evident by the end of the novel. Lynley’s investigation is supposed to be kept secret from everyone in the Department, including his self-centered, loathsome boss and lover Isabelle Ardery. Isabelle knows something is up, and is furious that Lynley is keeping whatever it is from her.

Lynley does involve his partner Barbara Havers and uses her to get some information for him. When Isabelle discovers that Barbara is involved, she becomes even more incensed that Lynley is keeping things from her, and, as is typical in her selfish quest for power, imposes sanctions designed to punish Lynley, but which actually thwart the investigation. Lynley also requests the help of his best friend, Simon St. James and his wife Deborah, who have played roles in the earlier novels, and they meet him at the investigation site to help out.

There are several - too many, actually - sub-plots going on in the course of this novel: Lynley’s relationship with Isabelle Ardery; Barbara’s problems with Ardery, and Ardery’s orders that she improve her appearance; Barbara’s friendship with her neighbor Azhar, his daughter, Hadiyyah, and the fact that Hadiyyah’s mother Angelina has returned and is striking up a friendship with Barbara; a newspaper reporter, Zed Benjamin who is trying to write an award winning story; Deborah’s tiresome problems conceiving a child; and family dynamics in the Fairclough family.

Although the charming British settings and scenarios are evident in this novel as they have been in those preceding it, there is little to keep the real interest of even the most ardent fans of the series. George committed literary suicide when she killed off Lynley’s wife, Helen (a character who epitomized elegance and refinement, and who complemented Lynley perfectly), in What Came Before He Shot Her, and no matter how she tries to resurrect what had been a touch of upper-crust British style through the other characters, she fails miserably. Helen and Lynley were a class act, and since Helen’s death, Lynley has become a commoner with extremely poor taste, evidenced by his affair with Ardery.

Having read every book in the series, it is difficult to let one go by without finding out what Lynley is up to and holding out some hope that George will revive some of the classiness that existed in the previous books. That is probably wishful thinking, but perhaps is the only reason to read this book. The charm and class died with Helen and no matter how much goes on in this novel, it seems Lynley is no longer what he used to be. The ending is frustrating, since the focus is not on Lynley who is supposed to be the main character, but on Barbara Havers. The interactions of the Fairclough family make up the main plot, and are semi-interesting, but certainly not worth 600 pages.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: Believing the Lie (Inspector Lynley)

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