Careless in Red
Harper, May 2008, $27.95
Following the homicide of his beloved pregnant wife Helen (see WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS and the companion piece without Lynley in it: WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER), a grieving Thomas Lynley quit Scotland Yard. Time has not proved a healer as the former detective spends his days aimlessly wandering around his hometown of Cornwall.
While on one of his senseless treks to numb the pain especially when he returns home at night, Lynley finds the battered body of teenager Santo Kerne, who it appears fell of a cliff while mountain climbing. When evidence affirms that someone sabotaged the victim’s equipment, Detective Inspector Bea Hannaford looks in the direction of the person who found the corpse. However, the cantankerous consummate professional also knows Lynley had no motive so looks to see who might. Lynley provides some limited assistance, as he is unable to do much more even understanding that he is the prime suspect.
The key to this police procedural that follows up on the tragic events of WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS is that in spite of the situation he finds himself in, Lynley still mourns deeply and the case does not stop that nor turn him into super-cop. Instead he plays second fiddle (some might say audience) as Hannaford conducts the investigation. The whodunit is cleverly devised and would stand out on its own as a strong English police procedural, but it is the realism of the two cop-characters who make Elizabeth George’s latest thriller a terrific tale.