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A Traitor to Memory
By Elizabeth George

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A Traitor to Memory

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A Traitor to Memory
Large Print Edition
By Elizabeth George
Random House Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-375-43113-6
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 12, 2002

A Traitor to Memory is Elizabeth George's eleventh book in her outstanding Lynley & Havers mystery series. In this volume, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley is detailed to investigate the brutal murder of Eugenie Davies. Lynley is assisted by his partner, Barbara Havers. This duo is aided by Winston Nkata, who is rapidly become an indispensable third to the Lynley - Havers investigation team.

This is a complicated story, into which George has added hidden agendas, lots of 'ghosts' in the closet', and a fair smattering of danger. Eugenie's family life is as complicated as the events surrounding her murder. For instance, not long before her murder, her son Gideon, a famous violin virtuoso, lost the ability to play! Does this have anything to do with her murder? And what is the connection between Lynley's boss, Superintendent Malcolm Webberly and Eugenie - and how will it affect the investigation?

Or what about the death, or murder, of Eugenie's daughter, who drowned as an infant. The baby's nanny, Katja Wolff, was convicted of the crime of killing the infant - but did she really do it - a question that Lynley finds that he must also answer. And to complicate matters, Katja has just been released from prison. Could she have taken revenge on the family by killing Eugenie? Katja is just one of the numerous suspects who had a motive, and the opportunity, to kill the enigmatic Eugenie.

The twists and turns of this novel will have you taking notes just to keep everything straight. Best yet, George will keep you guessing till the very end over why Eugenie died - and who did the dastardly deed.

As with the other Lynley - Havers book, George also lets us get to intimately know her characters, and the home lives of the main detectives plays a prominent role in the story line. While A Traitor in Memory may not be the best book in this series, it is still a great mystery. This is because this book does not read as fast as her other books due to the inclusion of numerous, self-retrospective, sections told by Gideon that are not as fast-paced as George normally writers. Other than these sections, the book simply flies along, as one would expect with a Lynley - Havers novel. George is skilled at weaving numerous subplots into her stories, and she is an expert at handling the monumental task of keeping all the subplots straight, and of wrapping them up satisfactorily. She also does an excellent job of keeping you off balance, presenting numerous, plausible suspects and then hitting you in the gut with the 'truth' only at the very last moment.

If you've not read any of the other Lynley - Havers books, you can easily start with A Traitor in Memory. Once you finish this book, you'll probably want to go back and start at the beginning as the characters have matured greatly since the first book and it is only by reading the books in order that you can really get to know them and their histories. However, this information is not necessary to follow the mystery, or to enjoy George's skill at telling a good story.


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