Customer Reviews for

With No One as Witness (Inspector Lynley Series #13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

What can George do with her characters now?

The latest in Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley novels, "With No One As Witness", delivers a shocker about 3/5 of the way through the book. It's an event that, quite frankly, you will never anticipate, and it's completely unnecessary to the plot, unless Ms George got tir...
The latest in Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley novels, "With No One As Witness", delivers a shocker about 3/5 of the way through the book. It's an event that, quite frankly, you will never anticipate, and it's completely unnecessary to the plot, unless Ms George got tired of the way Lynley's life was going and wanted to be able to move him off in another direction. We'll have to see what happens in her next book - if indeed there is a next book.

That being said, and that plot twist aside, this is an excellent addition to one of the best British police procedurals being written today. Lynley and his two primary assistants, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata, have never been more human, more alive - especially considering the subject of this latest entry in the series. George writes her story with great tact, and most of what she says on the subject is implied. Of necessity there are some scenes that may turn your stomach, but these are kept to a minimum and George does not draw out her descriptions of these scenes.

Considering the hue and cry that emerged when this book came out, I will anxiously be awaiting news of the next book in this series - although as I said before, I wonder.....

posted by nprfan1 on November 23, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Depressing and tired

Writing a successful mystery series novel demands a rare blend of creativity and artistic steadfastness. It¿s possible to be an excellent writer and yet not be able to consistently deliver a fresh and compelling yet familiar universe. Sue Grafton, Dorothy Sayers and P...
Writing a successful mystery series novel demands a rare blend of creativity and artistic steadfastness. It¿s possible to be an excellent writer and yet not be able to consistently deliver a fresh and compelling yet familiar universe. Sue Grafton, Dorothy Sayers and PD James have that ability. Elizabeth George, sadly, does not. George¿s first seven novels in the Inspector Lynley series were a dazzling marriage of clever whodunits, lyrical descriptions of atmosphere, and rich psychological portraits of characters that readers came to love passionately. But as the series has gone on, George¿s books became longer, more elaborate, and more of a literary experiment than a good mystery story. After reading A Traitor to Memory, where much of the book is eaten up by a complicated and barely relevant subplot told from the viewpoint of a male violinist, I began to wonder whether she had the stamina to sustain a long-running series. After reading With No One As Witness, I¿ve concluded that she¿s not. Unlike PD James, she seems unable to steer her characters through a long lifetime. She has not devised a plot evolution that would blast Simon and Deborah out of the rut of their failed pregnancies and as a result their story has become boring over the last three novels. She has fallen into the trap of creating the same characters over and over again: in Witness, her description of the budding relationship between Winston and Yasmin is so similar to the description of Tommy and Helen¿s courtship that it provokes a groan of ¿oh, no, not again!¿ Writing a series requires some steadfastness of artistic vision ¿ if your series is a mystery, you must be able to continue writing in that genre and resist the temptation to morph it into science fiction or hard-core thriller. PD James has understood that boring but powerful rule George has not. In Witness, she goes for a new genre, part mystery and part thriller, and ends up with a confusing hybrid that doesn¿t satisfy on any count. In other recent books, George has experimented, unhappily, with stream of consciousness or with eccentric points of view. These efforts reek of an author bored with her creation, and leave her loyal readers wondering when, if ever, they¿ll see another ¿classic¿ George mystery. And readers are losing patience: each book sells less well than the previous one, and Witness¿s sojourn on the bestseller lists was uncommonly short for a book so long awaited. The series novelist must have the ability to live with her characters for a long time. Agatha Christie put up with Hercule Poirot for¿.40 years? PD James is still going strong with Adam Dalgleish after nearly 30. Yet barely 15 years after introducing Helen Clyde, Ms. George kills her off, and in a manner so implausible that it caused ¿ in me, at least ¿ just about the worst reaction a writer can engender in a reader: instead of wholeheartedly entering the world of the story, I pulled back and found myself wondering what on earth is wrong with Elizabeth George. Many critics of Witness have -- rightly I think -- characterized the series as ¿tired.¿ The book feels as if Elizabeth George is tired of the series, tired of her characters, tired of the constraints of being a mystery writer. Tired, even, of the tedium of good workmanship. Witness includes a number of egregious factual errors about her characters that are surprising to long-time series followers. Surely she has achieved a level of financial success that would enable her to hire a fact checking assistant, or perhaps even re-read her manuscripts herself? Boredom, fatigue, creative well run dry -- whatever the reason, Ms. George should take a looooong vacation before pushing out another book in the Lynley series.

posted by Anonymous on July 20, 2005

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  • Posted February 11, 2014

    What, Ms. George???....six corpses in one novel aren't enough? Y

    What, Ms. George???....six corpses in one novel aren't enough? You have to add Lady Helen for good measure???

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    Heartbreaking

    I've read all of Elizabeth George's books, accepting her intense topics because I love her ongoing characters. I even enjoyed the books that featured Havers and Simon & Deborah, which gave Linley a rest. But the distressing endings E.G. chose for this book seemed to me to betray my loyalty.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    A for effort

    Lots of plain hard work went into the creation of this story. With that in mind, it's difficult to fault an author's effort. Especially, a favorite author. But this was very disappointing to me as a George fan. The book was 50% too lengthy. While interesting and even riveting in many parts, it was weighted down by too many characters and too many sub-plots. All of them were woven into the story but not easily and it could've been much more 'Elizabeth George' without many of them. The two characters who shone were Havers and Nkata. I'm looking forward to the next Elizebeth George book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2005

    What was she thinking?

    I have followed Ms. George's books with avid interest, loving Thomas Lynley, Helen, Simon and Deborah St. James. And even enjoyed Barbara Havers. When I finished this book at 4AM today, I was so very sad. How could she have done this to her readers? I told my husband I will never read any of her books again. Is this her way of ending the series? Also, the story line was not up to her ususal standards.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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