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I, Richard Paperback – July 29, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055338242X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382426
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first story collection, eminent British author George (A Traitor to Memory) presents five nimbly written and gripping tales, each with a stunning conclusion. "Exposure" concerns declining sexual prowess, as gossipy architecture students speculate about Polly Simpson, who is suspiciously friendly with elderly men touring Abinger Manor, where one oldster dies mysteriously just as some historic silverware is stolen. In "The Surprise of His Life," high-powered CEO Douglas Armstrong, obsessively jealous and mistrustful of his young wife, learns too late that she's planning an astonishing final surprise for both him and the reader. Similarly, a young widow in "Remember I'll Always Love You" is horrified to discover the secret double life led by her late husband, purportedly a sales director for a biotech firm, but in reality something far more sinister. A melancholy tone pervades "Good Fences Aren't Always Enough," in which an elderly Russian refugee, Anfisa, scandalizes her socially conscious neighbors in fashionable East Wingate with her determination to live life her own way. In the title story, ambitious and murderous schoolteacher Malcolm Cousins is determined to perpetuate the reputation of his hero, Richard III, while also absconding with the wife and substantial legacy of a former school chum. A brooding, gloomy dust jacket suggests gothic themes, but the tales are thoroughly modern in setting and subject.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

George, author of the deservedly popular Thomas Lynley/Barbara Havers mysteries, tries her hand at the short story form with this collection of five tales. Each story is introduced by George, who describes how she came to write it. "Exposure" is a condensed version of a Thomas Lynley mystery, while both "The Surprise of His Life" and the title story mix horror with humor to portray the desperate acts of men at mid-life, ending with a wittily vindictive twist that will appeal to fans of Ruth Rendell. "Good Fences Aren't Always Enough" probes a clash between a fiercely family-oriented young mother and her new neighbor, an aging, eccentric Russian immigrant. In "Remember I'll Always Love You," Charlie Lawton, a grieving young widow, sets out to find her deceased husband's estranged family and discovers a deadly secret. George, whose last novel, A Traitor to Memory, ran to nearly 800 pages, excels at writing in a more condensed way. Satisfying and memorable, this collection is highly recommended for most public libraries.
--Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Smith on March 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm a great Elizabeth George fan. She is one of a small number of writers whose works I buy in hardbound.
But I'm afraid she's no short story writer.
The collection gets off to a bad start with "Exposure," which ought to be interesting to George fans because of the presence of detective Thomas Lynley. But the story is a mess. I don't understand the perpetrator's motive. The "puzzle" aspect is poorly presented--we're not really given enough of a clue to solve the puzzle ourselves. The perpetrator actually commits two crimes--and I don't believe that the methods used to commit either crime would have worked in real life.
Three of the the stories feature "O. Henry endings," none of which, in my opinion, quite come off.
The title story, "I, Richard" intertwines a sort of pseudo-mystery story concerning the truth about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, with a modern-day murder story. Unfortunately, to someone who isn't a "Ricardian," the Richard III part is muddled and boring--and the framing murder mystery is unbelievable, except for the ending--which is all too predictable.
Similar motifs recur in several of the stories--giving a slightly stale or repetitious flavor to the collection.
Perhaps the best is "Good Fences Aren't Always Enough," which comes close to being sad and touching. But all of them, even this one, read more like extended jokes than like real stories. The characters in them are paper cutouts. The author's attitude toward her characters is remote and almost contemptuous. She never seems involved with them, nor do we. The stories succeed neither as slices of life nor as clever little clockwork gadgets.
And, incidentally, the book is a rather poor value. There are only five stories in it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. Griffin VINE VOICE on December 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fans of Elizabeth George will be disappointed in I, Richard. The quality of the short stories may not be George's best work, but they are an enjoyable read if you like either the approach or want to read everything written by a favorite author.
What was very disappointing is that all of these stories have been published previously (one was slightly changed from the original version), but this is not noted anywhere in the book. This slim book appears to be not much more than an attempt to take advantage of unknowing buyers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By bett on December 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited when I saw that another Elizabeth George book had been published I wanted to read it right away - but what a disappointment it was! I was willing to give her plenty of leeway because I'd enjoyed all her other books so much. But some of the stories were not even well written, and none of them are up to her usual fine writing, characterization and plot development. I do hope she is at this moment working on a mystery novel that will make me forget that this one ever saw the light of day.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on October 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Three of the stories in this collection have actually appeared before, in a book entitled "The Evidence Exposed". (These titles are, "Exposure" (although the story featured here is a slightly rewritten, altered version) "I, Richard", and "The Surprise of His Life".
If you're looking for stories of substance or great depth, this probably isn't the collection to go for.
"Exposure" has a good premise...this second version is much better than the first, but it is still disappointing. the ending is anticlimatic, and the motive for the killing is not actually explained. The plot lacks great depth, as does the character developement. (Which is a surprise from George...who is usually the mistress of character and plot development.)
"The Surprise of His Life" has a nice twist to the end, and the main character is interesting if a bit dislikeable. However, the story once again lacks development. The same can be said of "I, Richard". This one is a very interesting piece (contains good information on English history) but both its central characters arent at all likeable, and overall the story is too long and drawn out. However, the ending is a nice display of irony.
The two new stories in the collection are far more sucessful. "Good Fences Aren't Always Enough" is a very good story. It's interesting, original, and more than a little creepy. It's well written with a good atmosphere, and good characters. Theres also a nice subtle sting in the tail, which works very well. It's certainly my favourite of the collection.
"Remember, I'll Always Love You" is another strong story. It's got a very good plot, and the central character is well drawn even if the others are not.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For the Elizabeth George fans who have been disappointed with her increasingly long-winded and convoluted novels - take note!. This latest offering - her first ever collection of short stories (to appear in the U.S. at least) - contains five stories which average around 30 pages each. This is indeed refreshing! George includes an introductory preface to each story explaining her inspiration for writing them. The first one is a reworking of an earlier story she did and is, in my opinion, the weakest of the five. It involves a murder among a group of architecture students visiting a manor estate. Thomas Lynley makes an appearance in this one and solves the case with ease. "The Surprise of His Life" was inspired by a famous celebrity murder case (and it is obvious from George's description that it was the O.J. Simpson case) and involves a man who, prompted by a psychic, becomes increasingly paranoid that his wife is cheating on him. The third story (and my personal favorite) shows what happens when an eccentric old woman with a peculiar fondness for rats moves into a cozy New England neighborhood. "Remember I'll Always Love You" is the story of a woman who discovers that her recently deceased young husband led a mysterious life outside their marriage and the final story, "I, Richard", follows a man whose literary masterpiece, an enlightenment on the life of Richard III, results in dire consequences. All of the stories are page turners and most of them end with surprising conclusions. Many are psychological in nature and reminded me of the works of Ruth Rendell. Recommended!
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