Book 15, in Inspector Lynley series
After a disappointing read in “What came before He Shot Her” which centered around the life of Helen’s killer and left out our beloved protagonist , I was pleased to see his return in “Careless in Red”.
The story picks up several weeks after Helen’s death. Lynley overwhelmed by the death of his wife and his unborn child begins a solo walking tour of the Cornish coast. After several weeks wondering and looking like a homeless bum he stumbles across a dead body who appears to have fallen off a cliff while rock-climbing. With no one else in sight he seeks help from Daidre Trahir, a solitary woman who owns a cottage nearby.
As the story goes on, Lynley and Daidre develop a friendship, one born of mutual pain, tragedies they are both trying to put behind them. The pacing is very leisurely, with oodles of colourful pages describing the upcoming tourist season and the activities of a resort area including the personal side of a large cast of characters.
The story does pick up when we get into the nitty-gritty details of the rock-climber’s fate and Lynley’s involvement, his questions and theories raise alarm bells. Although Bea Hannaford is in charge of the investigation, she realises Scotland Yard has to be notified, guess who shows up, Barbara Havers, Lynley’s long-time colleague. The plotting does eventually burst to life with Lynley digging up old history and conducting interviews. All along Lynley struggles with his personal loss but he eventually realises Scotland Yard is his second love.
If you don’t mind Ms. George long winded style of writing you will probably enjoy this one. The plotting has many red herrings to stretch the suspense and keep you captivated from front to back. The cast of characters is very large, each one has their own peculiarity and I found it a mental challenge keeping track of them all. The core of the plot is love and revenge and great detail goes into describing how cunning and manipulative the perpetrator was.