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Aoife

Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Stephen and Matilda
Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262 pages
Krieg und Frieden
Michael Grusemann, Leo Tolstoy
Progress: 579/1024 pages
Believing the Lie - Elizabeth  George Surprisingly there aren't that many books that keep me really awake. I don't mean in the “reading two or three more chapters than I probably should have considering I need to get up early the next day”-sense, I mean the “Yes it is already half past eleven and I have over a hundred pages left but I just can't go to sleep before I finished that book.”-sense. In fact the only authors who do manage that on a regular basis are Elizabeth George and JK. Rowling (and occasionally Pratchett). Go figure. Believing the Lie was no exception, though I admit it did start a bit slow (not the first of her newer books to do so) but after I passed the 450 pages mark or so yesterday I could not stop, despite telling myself that I should really sleep now.Believing the Lie is an incredibly fitting title for this book. Nearly every single character (including the main protagonists) believes a lie...or perhaps rather chooses to believe a lie, some have suspicions, possibly even knows something but they all choose to ignore their feelings because it's easier that way. The Fairclough-family (to which most characters belong) has managed to build a jenga-tower of lies, constantly adding more and more parts. When Lynley appears and starts poking around the tower starts to tremble and after some resistance comes crashing down with full force. As it's a Elizabeth George-novel the crashing down is not pretty at all.So, having bored you extensively with a strange comparison let's now come to the real review-part: What did I like and what did I not like?Complaining is always easier for me than praise, so let's start with something I had troubles with: The characters, or at least some of them. Characters are hugely important an Elizabeth George-novel and George is usually great a writing gray characters. Characters you can't help but feel some sympathy for. You might not like them very much but with all their back-stories and everything you learn about them during the books you can't blame them for all their bad decisions or actions. So even if they do something extremely horrible or highly stupid “on screen” it's hard to despise them completely.This book, however, had two characters I couldn't bring myself to feel only a spark of sympathy for them. First Niamh, I mean yes, if your husband thinks that your son's birthday party is the best opportunity to come out of the closet and tell that he's leaving the family that sucks. Hard. But from that point on (and possibly even earlier) Niamh makes everything just about her, she thinks her husband's family should have forced him to stay with her, she thinks her husband should have just kept on pretending, she punishes him by being horrible to the children...basically every-time she appears you wish she had been the victim, not him. Now I could have lived with one character that I hated with a passion but apart from Niamh there's also Mignon whom I loathed almost as much (and she really doesn't have anything or anybody to blame...unless you count having been given a rather horrible name). She was just manipulating her way through live and didn't even consider doing anything else.Now it is probably better that these characters inspire so much rage in me than if I simply wouldn't care about them at all but after all it's also about the joy in reading...and my joy diminishes somewhat when every-time a certain character appears I'm imagining ways of torturing them slowly and painfully. Then there is Tim, Niamh's son...which should basically get him a 'Get out of jail free'-card for everything he does because who could blame him for anything, really? Unfortunately that reminded me a bit too much of another kid, from another George-novels, a kid with a very messed up family-life who ended up not shooting anybody. As that was a book I did not enjoy at all, I also had a hard time feeling any sympathy for Tim (at first...it changed at the end). Also because there was His Secret. Yes, we did learn the first time Tim appeared that he had A Big Secret. This Big Secret got mentioned every-time we read about Tim but only revealed about 500 pages in or so. I honestly thought George would be better than that. To her defence: it was huge...it was nearly-dropped-the-book huge and just having it randomly appear about 100 pages before the end without any warning wouldn't have been great, either. Still it was not necessary to mention it in every single chapter that dealt with Tim, this always seems somewhat childish to me (“I know something and you don't. HAHAH!”).I also had some trouble with Simon and Deborah this time. I usually love them, they're one of my favourite fictional couples but this time their relationship-troubles or rather their trouble with getting a child got dragged out a bit to much and -worse- in a somewhat strange way: Simon's brother had found a girl who was willing to give up her child for adoption but she demanded an open adoption. Deborah did not want an open adoption (and she had perfectly rational arguments for God's sake) and said so. Everybody (admittedly somehow including herself) treated that as if she had said no to adoption in general, nobody suggested trying to find more information on adoptions (not that I'm an expert but for a well-off couple, married for quite some time with no dark spots in their past this can't be completely impossible). When Deb refused, Simon immediately acted as if they now won't be able to adopt a child at all. Besides, I also really missed proper interaction between Lynley and Havers, they never were actually together, just on the phone with each other (and that not very often). Elizabeth George, being Elizabeth George of couse managed to show their chemistry with each other even in those short scenes...but still. I want them to really investigate together again, question suspects or just yell at each other during breaks because she's the only one willing to tell him some truths and he's the only one who cares enough (and dares) to tell her his opinions. I miss that a lot.Talking about Barbara...please give that woman a break. So far every person in the series had some happy periods in their lives (some only short but nevertheless), but Barbara just gets punched over and over again. That's rather sad because what I love about these books is that even though the overall mood is somewhat gloomy and depressing there are always sparks of hope that show that life isn't all bad. Just for Barbara everything seems to be getting worse and worse, and if there's a relief it's only very very short and a set-up for everything getting much worse than before.The overall plot (again) would have been enough for at least two books and I occasionally wished that she wouldn't have lost herself in details quite as much and perhaps left out some of the side-plots (believe me I wouldn't have had any idea about how everything ends if there had been two or three clues leading nowhere less) and wouldn't have minded 50 (or possibly 100) pages less. Nevertheless I'd still say that this is the best she's written since With No One as Witness. It's more of a 'real' crime-novel than Careless in Red, I found the plot – despite it lengths – more interesting than This Body of Death (and I won't talk about What Came Before He Shot Her at all). It was fascinating to see a family that certainly did not seem perfect but you'd also never expected to have that amount of bodies in their closets getting torn down piece by piece till it ended in a major tragedy and afterwards everybody was left questioning everything.You've read all this? Great. Have a cookie.