Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley Series #15)

Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley Series #15)

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by Elizabeth George
     
 

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He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk . . .

Devastated by the senseless murder of his wife, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley retreated to Cornwall, where he has spent six solitary weeks hiking the bleak and rugged coastline. But no matter how far he walks, the painful memories do not diminish.

Then, at the base of a cliff near a

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Overview

He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk . . .

Devastated by the senseless murder of his wife, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley retreated to Cornwall, where he has spent six solitary weeks hiking the bleak and rugged coastline. But no matter how far he walks, the painful memories do not diminish.

Then, at the base of a cliff near a town better known for its surfing than its intrigue, Lynley discovers the body of a young man who has fallen to his death. First a witness, then a suspect when the hand of a killer is revealed, Lynley remains, above all, a policeman willing to aid the gruff head of an understaffed local constabulary in her investigation. But the secrets in this community run dark and deep—and Lynley must somehow find a way to let go of the past long enough to solve a most devious and dreadful crime.

Editorial Reviews

Some mystery writers want their readers to feel as if they've been pushed out of a plane, suddenly catapulted from the very page into tightly calibrated action that never seems to stop. Elizabeth George approaches her writing differently: "When I'm working on a novel, I plot out ten scenes at a time, which is generally as far as I can go. I know who the killer is, but I don't always know how my detectives are going to figure it out. I also don't know how the subplots are going to work out until I get into the rough draft." Careless in Red unfolds slowly, luring us in with realistic experiential details that heighten the suspense. Set on the rugged Cornish coastline, the mystery finds Thomas Lynley in an unexpected role as a witness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062087560
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Series:
Inspector Lynley Series, #15
Pages:
896
Sales rank:
177,464
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Careless in Red LP
A Novel

Chapter One

He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk. By then, the end of April had arrived, although he had only the vaguest idea of that. Had he been capable of noticing his surroundings, the condition of the flora along the coast might have given him a broad hint as to the time of year. He'd started out when the only sign of life renewed was the promise of yellow buds on the gorse that grew sporadically along the cliff tops, but by April, the gorse was wild with color, and yellow archangel climbed in tight whorls along upright stems in hedgerows on the rare occasions when he wandered into a village. Soon foxglove would be nodding on roadside verges, and lamb's foot would expose fiery heads from the hedgerows and the drystone walls that defined individual fields in this part of the world. But those bits of burgeoning life were in the future, and he'd been walking these days that had blended into weeks in an effort to avoid both the thought of the future and the memory of the past.

He carried virtually nothing with him. An ancient sleeping bag. A rucksack with a bit of food that he replenished when the thought occurred to him. A bottle within that rucksack that he filled with water in the morning if water was to be had near the site where he'd slept. Everything else, he wore. One waxed jacket. One hat. One tattersall shirt. One pair of trousers. Boots. Socks. Underclothes. He'd come out for this walk unprepared and uncaring that he was unprepared. He'd known only that he had to walk or he had to remain at home and sleep, and if he remained at home and slept, he'd come to realise that eventually he wouldwill himself not to awaken again.

So he walked. There had seemed no alternative. Steep ascents to cliff tops, the wind striking his face, the sharp salt air desiccating his skin, scrambling across beaches where reefs erupted from sand and stone when the tide was low, his breath coming short, rain soaking his legs, stones pressing insistently against his soles . . . These things would remind him that he was alive and that he was intended to remain so.

He was thus engaged in a wager with fate. If he survived the walk, so be it. If he did not, his ending was in the hands of the gods. In the plural, he decided. He could not think that there might be a single Supreme Being out there, pressing fingers into the keyboard of a divine computer, inserting this or forever deleting that.

His family had asked him not to go, for they'd seen his state, although like so many families of his class, they'd not made any direct mention of it. Just his mother saying, "Please don't do this, darling," and his brother suggesting, with his face gone pale and always the threat of another relapse hanging over him and over them all, "Let me go with you," and his sister murmuring with her arm round his waist, "You'll get past it. One does," but none of them mentioning her name or the word itself, that terrible, eternal, definitive word.

Nor did he mention it. Nor did he mention anything other than his need to walk. The forty-third day of this walk had taken the same shape as the forty-two days that had preceded it. He'd awakened where he'd fallen on the previous night, with absolutely no knowledge where he was aside from somewhere along the South-West Coast Path. He'd climbed out of his sleeping bag, donned his jacket and his boots, drunk the rest of his water, and begun to move. In mid-afternoon the weather, which had been uneasy most of the day, made up its mind and blew dark clouds across the sky. In the wind, they piled one upon the other, as if an immense shield in the distance were holding them in place and allowing them no further passage, having made the promise of a storm.

He was struggling in the wind to the top of a cliff, climbing from a V-shaped cove where he'd rested for an hour or so and watched the waves slamming into broad fins of slate that formed the reefs in this place. The tide was just beginning to come in, and he'd noted this. He needed to be well above it. He needed to find some sort of shelter as well.

Near the top of the cliff, he sat. He was winded, and he found it odd that no amount of walking these many days had seemed sufficient to build his endurance for the myriad climbs he was making along the coast. So he paused to catch his breath. He felt a twinge that he recognised as hunger, and he used the minutes of his respite to draw from his rucksack the last of a dried sausage he'd purchased when he'd come to a hamlet along his route. He gnawed it down to nothing, realised that he was also thirsty, and stood to see if anything resembling habitation was nearby: hamlet, fishing cottage, holiday home, or farm.

There was nothing. But thirst was good, he thought with resignation. Thirst was like the sharp stones pressing into the soles of his shoes, like the wind, like the rain. It reminded him, when reminders were needed.

He turned back to the sea. He saw that a lone surfer bobbed there, just beyond the breaking waves. At this time of year, the figure was entirely clothed in black neoprene. It was the only way to enjoy the frigid water.

He knew nothing about surfing, but he knew a fellow cenobite when he saw one. There was no religious meditation involved, but they were both alone in places where they should not have been alone. They were also both alone in conditions that were not suited for what they were attempting. For him, the coming rain—for there could be little doubt that rain was moments away from falling—would make his walk along the coast slippery and dangerous. For the surfer, the exposed reefs onshore demanded an answer to the question that asked why he surfed at all.

Careless in Red LP
A Novel
. Copyright © by Elizabeth George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Elizabeth George is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels of psychological suspense, one book of nonfiction, and two short story collections. Her work has been honored with the Anthony and Agatha awards, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and the MIMI, Germany's prestigious prize for suspense fiction. She lives in Washington State.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Seattle, Washington
Date of Birth:
February 26, 1949
Place of Birth:
Warren, Ohio
Education:
A.A. Foothill Community College, 1969; B.A. University of California, Riverside, 1970; M.S. California State University
Website:
http://www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com

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