Barbara Havers puts her career on the line while DI Thomas Lynley attempts to straighten her out before it's too late.
When Hadiyyah Upman disappears from London in the company of her mother, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is as devastated as the girl's father. They are her close friends as well as neighbours, but since the child is with her mother, nothing can be done.
Five months later, Hadiyyah is kidnapped from an open air market in Lucca, Italy, and this triggers an investigation in the full glare of the media spotlight. Barbara's clever manipulation of the worst of London's tabloids forces New Scotland Yard to become involved. But rather than Barbara herself, her superior officer DI Thomas Lynley is assigned to handle a situation made delicate by racial issues, language difficulties, and the determination of an Italian magistrate to arrest and convict someone - anyone - for the crime.
©2013 Elizabeth George (P)2013 Penguin Group USA
I was hooked, no doubt, it was a good read from that point of view but the ending did have a sort of "with a single bound Jack was free" feel to it. Davina Porter is right up there on my list of favourite narrators, she manages male and female very well and certainly makes the plot come alive. I did want to smack Barbara Havers (as, I suspect, did Lynley!) from time to time but it looks as if the talented duo are destined to ride again in the future. I hope there is more with Lynley's romantic state the next time too, I like Deirdre!
Someone should have mentioned to Davina Porter that this book was not written by Enid Blyton and that she didn't need to act out every blade of grass, car, brick, house, mood or expression. Very bad read. Don't even start me on the clumsy Italian .... not her fault entirely, Elizabeth George shares much of the blame for putting it there in the first place.
Utter frustration. I have never yelled at a book so much. Barbara Havers used to be such an interesting, quirky character now she's just a moron.
I think the Lynley series has finally jumped the shark.
"Agreeing with other listeners......."
No. As other reviewers have said, there's far too much Italian. I can read Italian a bit but couldn't follow the speech. It would have been better if the author had translated somehow where necessary because sometimes the Italian was relevant to the plot. Also the names would be easier to follow in print.
I have always loved Elizabeth George's books and grabbed this one before there were any reviews. It is a disappointment.
Her voice wasn't suitable to the book - a man would have been better. Maybe she was chosen for her Italian?
Too long and complicated for one sitting.
I am just at the end of Part 3 and no longer really care who did what to whom but am gritting my teeth to get to the end. This seems quite different from Elizabeth George's previous Lynley books and seems a bit self-indulgent.
"What a struggle!"
Elizabeth George a writer whom I have admired until recently is really scraping the barrel with this one. This is a shame because she could have cut 50% of the unnecessary verbiage & possibly ended up with a half decent novel. As it stands this is painfully long and crammed with verbal detritus which badly detract from the essential storyline. I only stuck with it because of a feeling of loyalty and the constant hope that at some point she would return to form. Sadly it never happened.
Davina Porter's stiff uber plummy narration has always been a major downside to Elizabeth Georges audiobook repertoire. In this book though my patience finally snapped. The reading was ill prepared and Ms Porter's control of her material was poor but the coup de grace was her truly execrable Italian accent - each time she switched to Italian it was like listening to fingernails scraping down a blackboard! Is it too much to expect that narrators do a bit of research & preparation before the reading?
"What a disappointment"
I've not even finished this (still on first download section), and am already suspicious that I may not return for the rest. I've loved George's Lynley novels for a long time, although had seen a gradual downturn over the last 2-3 books. But this is a train-crash of a book.
The story: should have been interesting, as I have enjoyed the Havers/Haddiya/Azhar storyline. However the Lynley/new girlfriend thread is just not gelling at all. And now the storyline has moved to Italy - and we have the pseudo-Italian lessons. A seemingly random selection of Italian words being thrown in, with translation/context not always provided. Why on earth would the author think readers want to be distracted by this? Added to her increasing habit of pretentious use of long words and her tendency to not use 1 word where she can throw in 10.............. I'm really struggling so far.
And now we come to the narrator - OMG. The story might have just about kept me engaged (hence the 2 stars), but the performance is awful. There is a complete mangling of accents for Havers, Ardery, even Lynley, on top of the most unconvincing London accents for the minor characters that I've ever heard in 5 years of audiobook listening. Maybe the Italian accent is better to native Italian speakers, but to this untutored ear it sounds rather forced. Based on this performance, I'd actively avoid anything with this narrator in future - sorry Ms Porter.
So I'm unable to recommend this to anyone but the most die-hard of George fans, and might suggest purchasing the book rather than the audiobook. Sad to be striking a favourite author off my future purchase list.
"Narrator needs to prepare!"
Not necessarily. Plot was good, narration was poor..
The only sensible ending that could happen, I believe..
Crispin (who narrated Careless in Red) who was excellent.
This narrator had not prepared the significant amount of Italian spoken in the book. The pronunciation was often awful and significantly wrong in most instances and particularly important when several tracts of Italian was not translated into English. As a Brit who speaks Italian fluently, even I could not understand some of the very badly spoken phrases! Bring back Crispin I say!
No - only because I do not enjoy going to the cinema.
Having a completely different narrator.
Yes. I've enjoyed her books - particularly in audio- book format - before.
Never. A simply shocking perofrmance. I turned off after forty-five minutes and will not bother with the rest. (I've never done this before with any audio-book.)
I only got a short way into this book, so this cannot answer this.
An average book, dragged further down by an awful narration.
"A story better read than heard?"
The story is fine - not perhaps Elizabeth George's best, but still worth a read.
Unfortunately the book is let down by the narrator, who sounds like an older lady with a rather old fashioned way of reading better suited to 1950's cosy murder mysteries than modern crime novels. It just doesn't do the story justice.
Additionally, there's a lot (a lot!) of usage of Italian which is untranslated. I somehow think it would be easier to get a gist of things, and also to remember the Italian names, if the reader actually saw the text in black and white.
In summary: I suggested listening to a long sample before purchasing. (When will I ever learn that I always need to do this?!)
As I was unable to listen beyond the first couple of chapters, I don't feel able to say who might enjoy it more.
As someone who speaks no Italian, I found my mind switching off from all the Italian phrases and couldn't say if they were places, people or conversation and lost chunks of the story at these points, although, with hindsight, don't feel that I missed a great deal worth listening to. Perhaps Elizabeth George could consider how much value this added to her storyline compared to the confusion experienced by, I am sure, other listeners.
Absolutely not. The narrator's shrillness of tone and attempts at regional accents made the book impossible for me to listen to. I really should have read the reviews as I have since read the same point raised several times. Lesson learned.
Very disappointing. I have read all of the Inspector Lynley books and this is the first that I attempted to listen to. Aside from my previous comments about the narrator, even in the first few chapters that I tried to follow, my lasting impression is that I would have been disappointed in the story had I been able to grit my teeth and carry on for longer.
"Twists and turns aplenty"
I wondered from about half way how this book was going to conclude and I have to say I was not disappointed in the least. Beautifully written you feel got the character. Even the bad ones! I loved it
"Good listen despite plodding Italian!"
Its not the best audio book I have listened to, but the story was enough to keep me interested
I like the characters of Inspector Linley and Sgt Havers and their interaction
I wasn't a fan of her plodding rendering of the Italian phrases.
It was all a bit pedestrian although I liked the sinister nature of the plot. I felt a bit uncomfortable about the constant reference to race and religion- 'the muslim man....' the Pakistani.... etc etc It seemed a bit over the top and not how we speak in England.
even though it wasn't my favourite, I'm still looking forward to the next one.
"Barbara Havers in self destruct mode"
I have enjoyed all the Lynley mysteries and although this is more about Barbara Havers and her headlong dash for the cliff edge, I found it very entertaining. Unlike other reviewers, I did not find the Italian off-putting since the following text made the meaning obvious and I actually thought the Italian accent rather good.
I nearly did not buy this as a result of some of the bad reviews it got. That would have been a mistake. It was a well read and complex story and up to the usual George standard. It is almost impossible to believe that she is not British and my usual game of trying to catch her out with misplaced Americanisms is never disappointing - mostly there are none but this time I found one ! There was a good twist in the tail at the end and it was quite an engaging story. I did find Barbara's antics a bit irritating at times and sometimes not too plausible.
I have listened to Davina Porter reading other stories and I find her an expressive and intelligent reader. It is difficult to be consistent in books of this length but she achieves this remarkably well.
It is rather long to listen to all in one sitting but if I had the time I probably could. It was certainly a story I looked forward to getting back to.
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