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Posted November 22, 2002
A Big Disappointment
Can this be the same writer who penned the wonderful Missing Joseph, A Great Deliverance, and Playing for the Ashes? I am a great fan of Ms. George's, and have avidly followed the Inspector Lynley novels. But even the Inspector's appearance (along with the charming Lady Helen Clyde) in the first story can't rescue this mess. Short stories and novellas simply aren't the author's forte. In two of these, the "surprise" endings are telegraphed almost from the starting point. Most of the characterizations are closer to cartoons, with little depth or understanding - SO unlike the sensitive handling of character in her novels. Each story starts with an intriguing premise, then runs out of steam due to (horrors, Ms. George!!) just plain sloppy writing. I will try to overlook (or forget) this brief lapse on the author's part, and anticipate her next novel.
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Posted December 9, 2002
Elizabeth George has been my favorite author for a long time now,and I have eagerly awaited the publishing of her books. Her finely drawn, multi-faceted characters and timely and fascinating stories haver never let me down, until now. What happened? These short stories are filled with one dimentional characters living one dimentional lives. The stories are boring, and the endings are obvious. I was very dissappointed. This didn't seem like her writing at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 7, 2002
Tales From The Crypt Revisited
Having read the eleven novels which preceded "I, Richard" I had long felt completely confident that any book by Elizabeth George was, and could be recommended as, a thrill and a treat to be looked forward to and savored. Sadly, I can no longer say that. "I, Richard" a book of five tales demonstrates both Ms. George's great writing and a degradation of her skills to, most hopefully, their complete and utter nadir. Read "Good Fences Aren't Always Enough" first so as to get the worst out of the way. It is not a mystery. It is a rodent remnant from Tales From The Crypt. Reading the last page first may minimize the disappointment inherent in too many aspects of this sorry story and also free the mind to focus on what good stuff is hidden and available for finding. The first two paragraphs are mindless, meaningless, meandering leading no where. Ignore them. The story contains ten parenthetical which are as full a proof as a proof can be that parentheticals are too often a sign of weakness in thinking, style, and writing. As for her gift with simile, who of her fans could believe that Ms. George would write, "... a bank of fog was rolling determinedly down the street like fat man looking for a meal." or "The old house sat like Miss Havisham fifty years after the wedding that didn't happen ..." The story preceding "Good Fences" is "The Surprise of His Life." It too has a "Tales From The Crypt" aroma. No doubt it was meant to set up "Good Fences" but the writing here is so much better that it only makes "Good Fences" seem so much the shoddier. The first tale is entitled "Exposure." The writing is bright and brisk even if the crime and it's, excuse me, execution seem stolen from the pages of Agatha Christie. Ms. George's other readers will, as did I, enjoy the introduction she provides to each story. One gets to learn interesting things about her. In the intro to the forth story, "Remember, I'll Always Love You" Elizabeth assertively and pleasantly identifies herself, "My third reaction was something typical to anyone who is born to write ..." The nodding of this fan is done in that assured manner of finding irrefutable proof of something more than suspected over the eleven novels. Then there is the content of "Remember I'll... ." Another Tale From The Crypt but updated via the biological weapon content and a mention of Iraq and North Korea. The final tale, "I, Richard" is Ms. George's attempt to overcome the old axiom, "first impression, last impression." Does she? Well, I do love the way she writes about sex; the psychological and social agenda of the individuals is always far more important and, I think, compelling to the interested reader than whatever Ms. George states about the act itself. In "I, Richard" Ms. George the writer is seen to be alive and well. But this story too gives me the impression that Ms. George was far to great a fan of you know what comic book. The potential and probable victim becomes the victor. The murder goes undiscovered. The murderess excapes the law. And, most importantly, in the old Crypt series, he who plotted victory is vanquished in every sense. The Crypt Keeper chuckles. Irony is served. But in total the meal is unrewarding and it contains only some memorable spice and not one memorable dish. For me "I, Richard" damages Ms. George's golden reputation and I am sorry that she allowed it to be released. Two stars for the volume. Four stars for the novelist Elizabeth GeorgeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.