#1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George offers the latest in her Inspector Lynley series: a gripping child-in-danger story featuring fan favorite Barbara Havers.
Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold.
Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace. The Italian police are investigating, and the Yard won't get involved, until Barbara takes matters into her own hands. As she attempts to navigate the complicated waters of doing anything for the case against her superior's orders, her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, is dispatched to Italy as the liaison between the Italian police and Hadiyyah's distraught parents.
In time, both Barbara and Lynley discover that the case is far more complex than just a kidnapping, revealing secrets about Angelina; her new lover, Lorenzo; and even Azhar - secrets Barbara may not be willing to accept. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most and how far she's willing to go to protect it.
©2013 Elizabeth George (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I used to put the Lynley novels at the top of my wish list, and couldn't wait to grab the latest book as soon as it was out. Not any more! The book prior to "Just One Evil Act" - "Believing the Lie" - was such a disappointment that I returned it and got my credit back (Thank you Audible!) as soon as I was done. "Believing the Lie" was full of "unbelievable" subplots and distractions, Lynley's behavior was totally out of character, and Barbara Havers was barely in the story at all. I thought "Believing the Lie" would be my last Lynley, but when I saw that "Just One Evil Act" featured Barbara Havers and sounded much more like the familiar solid plots of the earlier books in the series - I took a chance, hoping to be rewarded with the excellent story-telling that Elizabeth George is capable of. Nope. Anyone who knows the series knows that Lynley's wife was killed off in a senseless murder several books ago. Now it seems that George is equally determined to kill off (figuratively speaking) the rest of her main characters by having them behave in ways that completely contradict their personalities that developed as the series progressed. Barbara Havers had never been portrayed as stupid, yet in this book she does one unbelievably stupid thing after another. Emotional attachment is a fine motive for poor decisions, but Havers' behavior in this book makes her seem like a complete idiot. Lynley has been a deeply troubled soul, but also not stupid. His brains, like Havers, have gone by the wayside in the past two books and he, too, behaves like a cardboard caricature of his former self. Add to this the fact that "Just One Evil Act" is about twice as long as it needs to be, and George arrogantly inserts entire conversations in Italian that are not translated for the reader who expects the book to be in English - and I was left with the distinct impression that the author no longer cares what her readers think. I'm sure her books will continue to sell based on hype and past reputation, but for anyone who read the series when it was truly good, this descent into mediocrity is painful. I can easily overlook a book or two in a series that aren't quite as good as some - anyone can have a slump - but the last few books in this series have been a downward plummet as opposed to a temporary slump. If this had been the first book in the series I read - I would never have read another one. If you read the reviews on Amazon you'll see lots of 1 and 2 star reviews from former fans of the series - I wish I'd read them before I wasted my time on this lengthy slog. I'm done with this series. There are so many better books out there.
The book was not up to par with the other books in this series. I struggled to finish it and I usually look forward to George's books.
The whole storyline was tedious. The characters were uninteresting and the regular characters were doing things "out of character" and made the story a bit far fetched to this reader. The move to Italy and the kidnapping was an uninteresting plot for a Lindley book. Also, the book opened with Inspector Lindley at a roller derby ring; and, he was there because he's a a crush or love interest in one the roller derby skaters. Did I forget to mention that he's an Earl. Oh my, all the things that made him interesting when he was wooing his deceased wife Deborah made this a very disappointing read. I'm not very interested in the direction the characters are taking.
The reading was fine; the book was uninteresting.
I will not buy the next book. Very sad, because I really did enjoy this series.
Less Italian language, much less of Havers flaunting any reasonable police procedure without seeming consequences
I have enjoyed E. George's books for years. This book and the one with Freudinger's cat were both far beyond a good mystery read - more like a college class for which I had not taken the introductory course.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I have followed Elizabeth George's Linley/Havers series since the very first book, and I have been a fan.
"Just One Evil Act" will be my last adventure with these two detectives.
I will try in this review to avoid any spoilers for those who will still want to try this book (as I did). In this listening experience I was left with several mysteries of my own. How many of us who have been acquainted with Barbara Havers all these years can believe that her reaction to being used and betrayed by a good friend would lead her to protect that friend? Our prickly, hotheaded, emotionally self-protective, untrusting Barbara?
Who could accept that the demanding new head "Gov" at Scotland Yard would overlook again and again dereliction of duty, lying, and actual law breaking? And, alas, who would have thought that this fan could actually find herself fed up with the actions and stupidity of a favorite character?
"Just One Evil Act" is simply too, too long. And I didn't believe it.
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.
This is my dog Zoe. Zoe and I cannot bear it when narrators pronounce words incorrectly.
I started listening to this series because of Lynley. Over time, I have found Barbara Havers to be even more interesting. This time, I'll leave a review of the book to others. My comments here concern the narration. Normally, I like Davina Porter. This time, I want to strangle her and I'm not even halfway through the story. A large part of the story takes place in Tuscany, which I was looking forward to. Before we even board the plane, however, Ms. Porter is tossing out mangled Italian words with abandon. The main problem is a misplaced accent, which takes me right out of the story. The latest cringeworthy words are "macchina" (car) and "aspettami" (wait for me). The former word is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable and not the second, which is where Ms. Porter places it; the latter word is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable and not the third. She stresses the wrong syllable in "Jacopo" (Porto San Jacopo). Aha! Someone must have corrected her, because she just pronounced it correctly. This problem of mispronounced words is not restricted to Italian. I have heard it with French, most recently, when a reader pronounced the "grâce" in "coup de grâce" as if it were written "grah." Even native English speakers routinely mispronounce some words; for example, I have never heard a narrator pronounce "primer" correctly. I refer to the primer that is a reader (textbook), which is pronounced as if it were spelled "primmer." Narrators would do themselves, and their listeners, a favor if they checked out Forvo.com before reading books that contain words in a language other than English or, for that matter, books that contain unfamiliar English words.
I have been a fan of Elizabeth George and her main characters, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, for many, many years. But I fear that EG is running out of steam. This book was too long (I can't believe I said that); the ending was facile; and I found the choices some characters made difficult to believe (out of character). I actually found myself drifting off periodically because the story simply didn't hold my interest.
The narrator was excellent.
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.
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