This story has so many charactersit would be easy to confuse the listener. However Davina Porter is so masterful that each one comes alive with his or her distinct voice. If you are a fan of Elizabeth George Lynley mysteries be aware this novel fo cuses mostly on Barbara Havers.
The trajectory follows one evil act by another and a series of bad if not evil acts by most of the characters. There is a lot of Italian which is not translated but adds to the story as a counter point to the constant miscommunication that occurs between/among all of the characters.
Elizabeth George and her Lynley series have kept me entertained for years--and I was really looking forward to this one. It seemed to run off the track a bit from what is typically expected with Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers solving crimes and bailing each other out of all sorts of situations.
This story is mostly based on Barbara's neighbor, Azhar, and his missing daughter, Hadiyyah. She was taken to Italy by her mother, Angelina.
Barbara jumps in with both feet to help him get Hadiyyah back. Ignoring her superiors orders not to get involved (this is nothing new) she seems to lose all sense of reason and concern for her own life and job this time--and Lynley is not a great deal of help.
One source of frustration in the first half of the book are the Italian phrases which are never translated for the reader, even though I could sort of understand what was being said from the rest of the conversation. Still, it was almost enough to make me stop listening--almost. The second half was much better and after all was said and done, an interesting story.
I haven't given up on this series yet--however--if the next novel doesn't return to some of the flavor of the original Lynley novels, it will probably be my last.
I am a fan of Elizabeth George, but the telling of this particular mystery is convoluted and self-conscious. It makes me want to ask the author to reread some of her earlier mysteries. I suspect there will be a follow-up to this involving spiriting her Pakistani friends out of danger in some foreign land, but I hope not. That boat has sailed, and did so a few books ago. I found myself saying aloud: "How can Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley be so stupid and still have 'jobs'?" At least Lynley is getting over the death of his wife (a few books ago), but a roller-derby veterinarian? Really?
Davina Porter is a wonderful reader. She saves this book.
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
Many things made this book captivating. I liked the focus on Barbara Havers. I loved that most of the "action" took place in Lucca, Italy. I liked that Lynley had a new love interest. There was just so much about this book that I adored. I liked the new character, Salvatore.
When Barbara Havers is up all night trying to figure out what to do next. I won't reveal more as no reader wants to know in advance too many details!
Davinia Porter is one of my favorite readers. As I am legally blind and have no option but to listen to books, the reader is key. Ms. Porter is excellent.
When Barbara sees Lucca from the rooftop terrace. Also, the various emotional encounters.
A brilliant read. I especially enjoyed that the book was not hurried and that it was long. I liked this very much. As always with Ms. George, the characterizations were marvelous. She is such a grand and enjoyable author.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
What is up with Elizabeth George recently? Her last FIVE books have been awful. The hard copy versions can be better used a toilet paper!!! I went back and re-read George's earlier books in this series. Some are several decades old but one can see how much better this author was in her prime. These recent books have convoluted story lines, way too many characters (most forgettable), and all are just too long. The earlier books are abridged and, while I usually hate abridged books, it is the only solution for Elizabeth George's books. She wastes hours with characters pondering, speculating, daydreaming, wondering, analyzing, considering, brooding, reflecting, mulling over, deliberating, cogitating on, puzzling, contemplating, ruminating, musing, dwelling on, reviewing, overthinking, etc., etc., etc.!!! None of which has anything to do with the story. And there's often only one or two murders but it takes George 24 audio hours to wrap the mystery up. Agatha Christie killed off about 10 people in 6 hours in "And Then There Were None"! A much better book, by the way. Several listeners have complained about the abridged versions but they obviously haven't had the torture of listening to 18 hours of minutiae in a 24 hour unabridged Inspector Lynley book. I have read and/or listened to all 18 of this series and I can state unequivocally that the earlier books and the abridged versions are so much better.
As for this one, it's more about DS Barbara Havers than Inspector Thomas Lynley. Personally I think it's time for DS. Havers to have her own series. However, this story has very little to do with New Scotland Yard as Barbara has gone rogue, investigating a domestic "kidnapping" on her own. What makes this book a 1 star effort is because I can't give it NO STARS!!! Once again, George's racism is on full blast, this time directed at a Pakistani chemistry professor whose biggest mistake is impregnating a white woman. The fact that she is as cray-cray as hell is less important than his "brown skin".
Much of the story takes place in Italy. Rather than establish that fact to the reader in the beginning, then express the action and dialogue in English, for some bizarro reason, George wrote these parts in Italian! We are left to guess what is going on! I've read tens of thousands books in my lifetime and I've never come across anything like this! That's why the book is so long - at least 1/3 is in Italian. You need to pay for language lessons from Rosetta Stone to understand this book! Donna Leon's "Commissario Guido Brunetti" series takes place in Venice but we aren't forced to learn both Italian and Venetian in order to enjoy her great crime mystery series.
What the hell is going on with Elizabeth George?!? Even if she's slipping artistically, her editors and publishers, along with Audible.com, should be exercising some kind of quality control. She's only 66 years old but she is writing like someone who is 85 with dementia! I'm 65 and still sharp enough to see that something is very wrong. Elizabeth George has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time. One bad book wasn't enough for me to let her go. But I've just listened to FIVE in her Inspector Lynley series - both early and recent releases. She has seriously dropped the literary ball.......
"Disturbingly innacurate pronunciation of Italian dialogue marred performance and enjoyment of the book"
I normally find Ms Porter a delightful narrator, but she did not receive adequate coaching in pronunciation of Italian dialogue, of which there was unfortunately a lot. Anyone who knows Italian must grimace at her attempts at accurate pronunciation. It would have been better to have a different narrator, conversant with Italian, to read the dialogue. Otherwise, the book and narration were very good.
Elizabeth George is dependable. She always writes excellent crime stories and this is another.
The reader reads well fr most of the book but the reader of this book needs to speak Italian. Davina Porter does not and this is painfully obvious. This makes part of the book most annoying.
everything was excellent. great narrative twists and turns. Putting Barbara Havers in Italy was a brilliat touch. the perormance was outstanding.
I am a big fan of this series. This book concerned me in the beginning. Some of the plot seemed much too obvious and I was tempted to be disappointed feeling like it was so clear where the story was heading. However, this author is truly excellent and nothing was as it seemed. Very very good book, and another great adventure for all the beloved characters in this series