Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Careless in Red by Elizabeth George

Never a disappointment to read an Elizabeth George mystery, crime saga and this one published in 2008, 621 pages following Chief Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley of Scotland yard as he attempts to walk off the grief from his wife's death  along the Cornwall coast was  my choice for this summer. Discovery of a body draws Lynley out of his dismal disguise of the drifter on the seacoast as local Detective  Bea Hannaford enlists his reluctance assistance. True to her  other marvelous crime sagas, Elizabeth  George weaves a cast of characters mixed with individual dramas that enfolded me page by page.  When I think of surfing and the sea I think of Hawaii or perhaps southern California, so to imagine that sport and related commercial activity  in Cornwall was an eye opener to me.  Besides the intrigue her writing is superb  with  her adherence to  true English style, using the Brit spelling for many words and Brit sayings.  It's one way she is authentic, such as the  term "windscreen wipers" instead of windshield wipers.  I was introduced to Elizabeth George novels way back in my career days at Health Services by Sherrie Pittman, a colleague in county government  and so every time I settle into one I remember Sherrie who in turn discovered these in search for deep mysteries in the British style.  Truly a suspenseful writer who weaves multiple characters through to the end, George has another  stunning ending that twists along rocky shores and washes in and out like the waves of the sea tide.  .

Marvelous philosophical phrases abound throughout-- pages 52-53  "The constable was young,  probably  less than 25.  He thought he knew the ways of the world but he had no clue, absolutely not the slightest idea what was there and what could happen.  He didn't know there was no way to prepare and no way to control.  At a gallop, life came at you on horseback and there you were with two options only.  You either climbed up or you were mowed down.  Try to find the middle ground and you failed."  It amazes me  to find horsemanlike imagery in this setting but that is the excellence of a George novel. 

Pg. 61,  " This was a part of the world where you were a visitor until you had become a permanent resident and you were a newcomer until your family had lived in the place for two generations."  This could describe where we live today, so unlike melting pots of US urban coasts.

Pg 343.." The devil of young people.....They take a decision, they make a mistake, and if no one rushes like the fire brigade to save them from the outcome, they learn from the whole experience.  That's the job of the dad--or the granddad.--to keep them from learning what they got to learn, mate.  What they got to do to help work out the end of the story...." as Jago consuls a father about dealing with his son "..agreement was a process of intellect.  It had nothing to do with heart...."

Pg. 589.."Pictures were the things of happy memories.  They were also the instruments one used retrospectively to avoid the truth...."

Pg. 596.."..trying to stay one step ahead of loss didn't prevent loss from happening, did it?"

Pg. 598 .." Things change.....even when it had seemed to him that nothing was ever going to change at all.  He'd wanted a career in the Royal Navy to escape what he'd seen as a life of unfaltering drudgery,  but the fact of the matter was that the details of that life had altered in minute ways, which led to big ways, which led to life not being drudgery at all if one just paid attention."

This book is a 5 ***** entertaining, suspenseful, educational,  and philosophical