From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller George's richly rewarding 16th novel to feature Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley (after Careless in Red) offers an intricate plot that will satisfy even jaded fans of psychological suspense. Aggressively career-minded Isabelle Ardery, the new acting superintendent of London's Metropolitan Police, boldly manages to lure Lynley, who's been grieving over his wife's murder, back from Cornwall to look into a murder case. The body of Jemima Hastings, a young woman recently relocated from Hampshire, has turned up in a London cemetery. With suspects in both locales and numerous leads to follow and interviews to conduct, Ardery succeeds in raising the hackles of Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers, Det. Insp. John Stewart, and other members of the investigating team. George tantalizes with glimpses of a horrific earlier murder case; showcases Lynley at his shrewdest, most diplomatic best; and confounds readers with a complex array of evidence, motives, and possible solutions. 6-city author tour. (May)
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Rarely can a conventional mystery sustain itself over nearly 650 pages. Some P. D. James novels have been almost that long and have succeeded in maintaining suspense and holding the reader, but this latest from George—acclaimed crime writer and winner of the Anthony Award, Agatha Award, and France’s Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière—fails on both counts. There is a too-leisurely feel throughout, a sense that the author is luxuriating in extra space, and that’s not a good fit for suspense. Detective Inspector Lynley returns, still grieving the deaths of his wife and unborn child in Cornwall, but moving forward, assisting New Scotland Yard in an investigation involving a young woman whose body was found in a London cemetery. George intersects this plotline with a real-life case, the Bulger kidnapping, involving the harrowing kidnapping and murder of a toddler by three boys. Reimagining this case, with all the details a novelist can bring to bear, seems in bad taste at best. Except for Inspector Lynley, whose character is always intriguing, the two plots limp along, making little headway. In addition, the new love interest that George provides for Lynley seems contrived. This very bloated effort will interest only George’s longtime fans. --Connie Fletcher
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