|Hardcover, 610 pages|
Acquired September 2012
Read February 2014
by Elizabeth George
George's Inspector Lynley novels seem to alternate between great and terrible, so it seems inevitable that after enjoying This Body of Death, I'd really struggle with Believing the Line. Like the worst Lynley novels, it just takes forever-- there's a lot of perspectives outside of Lynley (and sometimes Havers), and since each character is given equal time, that means Lynley pops up very rarely and thus does very little investigating. Indeed, I can barely remember him talking to anyone; Sergeant Havers and Deborah St. James (gah) doing most of the actual legwork here. It's also really hard to care, because it's not very certain that a murder even happened, and that uncertainty never goes away.
I get it, Elizabeth George, you're trying to upend the mystery genre... but you're not good enough to get away with it. Leave it to Paul Auster and Julian Barnes. Also, I refuse to believe this book was actually written and set in 2012; a key plot point is that Barbara can't perform even rudimentary translation of Spanish-language web pages on her own, because she's working on the case outside of the Met and its resources. Resources like Google Translate, I guess?
That said: Barbara Havers is always awesome, and there's a decent sideplot about a divorced couple trying to care for an orphaned kid. And the last 100 pages or so are pretty good, as everything comes into focus. But man, a lot more sure needed to happen in the rest of the book.