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A Traitor to Memory Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

278 customer reviews
Book 11 of 19 in the Inspector Lynley Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Families can be monstrous and their secrets dangerous, as New Scotland Yard detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers have discovered. The pair are puzzled that the Hampstead police need their help investigating the vehicular murder of a middle-aged divorcée, until they find evidence that one of their own superiors once knew the dead lady very well indeed. But the circumstances of Eugenie Davies's murder appear to center on her children: Gideon, a famous violinist now undergoing psychoanalysis for his sudden inability to play, and the long-dead Sonia, a disabled baby whose drowning death was shrouded in secrecy for her virtuoso brother's sake--at the insistence of their father, Richard--but also trumpeted in the press as the infamous "nanny murder" of its day. The nanny, Katja Wolff, has recently been released from prison, having never spoken of the night Sonia drowned. Lynley, Havers, and their colleague Winston Nkata know that whatever secret Katja Wolff has been hiding must be the cause of Eugenie Davies's death, but before they can find out what it is, another deliberate hit-and-run occurs in their own backyard.

The suspects are many: Wolff; Eugenie's most recent suitor; her ne'er-do-well brother; Gideon's longtime mentor, who kept in contact with Eugenie in the years after she abandoned her husband and son; and a gentleman of many monikers who boarded with the family at the time of the drowning. Even Richard Davies, the dead woman's ex-husband, is under suspicion. But it's violinist Gideon Davies's quest into his family's past, undertaken to save his career, that sets the book's events in motion. His own telling of the story runs parallel to the author's own voice but is time-shifted. Along with the details of the police investigation, this paints a disturbing picture of what happens when the truth is obscured and a child's normal instincts sublimated.

A Traitor to Memory is massive, and it's hard not to spot a few flaws in a plot so complex. The dual narratives force abnormally slow reading, the motive for one murder and two near-murders is inexplicably glossed over, and many doughty Lynley/Havers fans will still wonder by the end what exactly happened in Sonia's bathroom. Yet Elizabeth George orchestrates the family-secrets theme like a maestro, and at least one of the second-chair players--such as Katja Wolff's beautiful, scarred lover Yasmine Edwards--may be a rising star in the series. George's fans will no doubt find this 11th entry in the series worthy of a standing ovation. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

HClassical music, cybersex and vehicular homicide figure prominently in this sprawling epic, the latest in the bestselling Thomas Lynley series that has won George an enviable following on both sides of the Atlantic. This can only add to her growing reputation as doyenne of English mystery novelists. When Eugenie Davies is killed on a London street struck by a car, then viciously mangled as the driver backs over her Detective Inspector Lynley investigates. The suspects include J.W. Pichley, aka TongueMan, a cyber-roue with a penchant for older women; Katja Wolff, convicted murderess of Davies's infant daughter; and Major Ted Wiley, a bookstore proprietor in love with Davies. Inevitably, the trail leads to the dead woman's son, Gideon, a former child prodigy on the violin, now a renowned virtuoso suddenly and inexplicably unable to play a single note. Lynley and his longtime partners, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata, unravel the mystery in their inimitable fashion, as the narrative turns backward, ever backward, in search of clues. Although some plot developments are initially confusing due to the book's occasionally non-linear style, the author's handling of narrative is consistently inventive. There are some amusing character sketches (including the skewering of an American Valley Girl to whom classical music is as foreign as Sanskrit) and some particularly moving moments. Faithful readers of George's previous mysteries should find this the most ambitious of the lot. (July 3)Forecast: With the BBC adaptation of the first Lynley case, A Great Deliverance, due to premier on U.S. TV this fall, George stands to scale new heights in sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (June 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553528211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553528213
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,834,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels of psychological suspense, one book of nonfiction, and two short-story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, the Grand Prix de LittÉrature PoliciÈre, and the MIMI, Germany's prestigious prize for suspense fiction. She lives in Washington State.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who are hooked on Elizabeth George's characters and closely follow what happens to them will get a lot for their money in this book, although maybe quantity does not always best quality. This time, the spotlight centers on DI Lynley and his new wife, Helen, and his superior, Superintendent Malcolm Webberly and his wife, Frances. My personal favorite character, Constable Barbara Haverly plays quite a minor role, unfortunately for me. Other reviews outline the plot, so I won't reiterate it, just say that in my opinion, this book could have done with a bit of editing. No matter how outstanding the writing (and Ms. George is an outstanding writer), that in itself cannot hide the fact that the plot is draggy and repetitious. I had to force myself to continue around page 483, although I did find it worth it to get to the end, page 719. Also, unlike her earlier books, a sentence here or there seemed a bit awkward or self-concious. If you are new to the Elizabeth George detective series, I wish you the joy of finding a mine of truly superb mystery stories, with all the finest examples of plotting and characterization and supense. However, I would suggest first reading "Playing for Ashes" or "In the Presence of the Enemy". In my opinion, these are much more finely honed examples of her craft.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By KM on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Linley, Havers, and Co. are on the hunt for a vehicular killer...they need to figure out why someone killed Eugenie Davies, and the solution lies 20 yrs in the Davies family past. To make matters worse, their Chief, Webberly, is connected to the case. Somehow, the events also connect to the fact that Gideon Davies, then an 8 yr old prodigy, now a world class violinist, has lost his ability to play music.
The plot is convoluted, needing 700+ pages to reach its end. Tho there are some interesting characters, the style can be annoying---Gideon's psychiatric analysis via a journal he shares with his doctor alternates with the traditional narrative chapters. One problem seems to be that the time frame for the journal chpaters doesn't mesh neatly with the "real time" narrative chapters. In addition, I saw the major plot resolutions coming very early--which is fine if the characters and story offer some other strong interest....but I'm sorry to say that this time George fails in that department...
And for those who like to see a lot of character development with Linley, Havers, and the other recurring just isn't here this time.......Nkata gets the most action on the personal canvas, and even that is limited. There's a bit about Linley and Deborah that resolves an old issue tho....
If you've read the rest of the George Canon, then you'll like this book well enough, but it won't be a favorite......I advise new readers to try her earlier works....this one is NOT a good place to start....even if you aren't interested in the development of the recurring characters.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on June 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Eugenie Davies death was no accident. Someone struck her down with their car, and then continued to run over body, leaving nothing behind but a gruesome crime scene, and many questions.
What was Eugenie doing on the street that rainy night? Why was she carrying the name of the name that found her body? Who in her life would want her dead? And, is there a connection between her death and the brilliant violinist who lost the ability to play?
Detective Thomas Lynley wants answers, and once his investigation has begun he will discover more questions without answers, one of which will challenge him both professionally, and personally.
For the first time, Lynley's career is put on the line, as his superior, the man who put him on this case, had a connection to Eugenie Davies many years before in a major criminal trial.
Lynley enlists the help of his long time partners, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata to untangle the web of secrets surrounding Eugenie's death.
'A Traitor To Memory' is a good, but VERY, VERY long mystery. Those familiar with George's previous works may be a bit surprised at the slow start the novel has, but as each secret is revealed, a new piece of the intricate puzzle falls into place. Well written (as usual), featuring a large cast of characters, and many plots twists, 'A Traitor To Memory' is a good book for a long weekend.
Elizabeth George has made a career of writing smart mysteries, that contain interesting characters, and gripping plots, and her latest is no exception. Fans should enjoy this new addition to the Lynley series despite it's length, and somewhat slow pacing.
Nick Gonnella
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on February 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like many of the other reviewers here, I find this novel disappointing after some of the very high standards George has set in previous novels.
I was not jolted by the shifts in time or the disjointed narration at all--that worked just fine for me. I was mostly and absolutely disappointed by what I have seen George do very well in the past: really explain characters and their motivations so that everything makes sense.
This work, however, has several characters who seem to behave inexplicably and the conclusion is so inconclusive. I mean, yes, there's a conclusion, but one keeps asking Why? So what? What for? How does this make sense? And, finally, what about all those other characters who just quietly dropped out of the story.
I agree with other reviewers who suggest tighter editting; although I was never bored and I did not feel myself lapsing into longeurs, I felt cheated at the end by the lack of conclusion. You have about 700 pages and I feel that I want, and need, some sort of conclusion about the characters to whom we are introduced.
To the best of my knowledge, this lack of satisfactory closure is NOT a characteristic of George and I have never really felt disappointed before. Her book MISSING JOSEPH was the only one I really got bogged down in; A TRAITOR TO MEMORY did not bog me down, but I tossed it across the room when I was done well and truly disappointed.
Also I am not that brilliant and rarely try to guess the outcome of a mystery; this one just seemed very obvious to me from close to the beginning. Everything that seemed obvious turned out to be just that...obvious. I like to be tricked and played with by an intelligent mind.
Of course I plan to read the next George book when it comes out. Almost all prolific writers have a tendency to be uneven.
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