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A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2003

I have been a fan of Elizabeth George’s crime novels and have read all her previous books which feature Inspector Lynley and his friends. The strong point of her writing was the development of her characters from book to book – they grappled with personal dilemmas while solving crime. This book follows the same pattern, focusing on Lynley’s friend St. James and his wife Deborah and their involvement in solving a murder committed in Guernsey.

However in this book the plot is unbelievable, the characters tedious and the book goes on too long. The reader’s interest has died long before any issue has come anywhere near being resolved. The navel gazing indulged in by the St. James couple on the state of their marriage is not credible and becomes boring.

Writers of popular fiction should know when to call a halt. Part of the art of writing and story-telling must be recognising when that art has been lost. If the writer cannot recognise that the story doesn’t work surely it is the duty of a good editor or publisher to prevent a writer from issuing a work that is way below her usual standard.

I am tempted to quote Dorothy Parker and say – not a book to be taken lightly, but hurled as far as possible with all your strength in sheer frustration because Elizabeth George is capable of better.

Reviewed by Marie, a Clare County Library staff member