When reading an Elizabeth George novel one expects a bit of gore. George is one of those mystery novelists who is especially keen to prove she is not in the least cozy. The gore suits George better than it does Martha Grimes, the mystery writer who seems to inhabit much of the territory as she. (I would disagree with that assessment.) I’ve always seen Elizabeth George as striving to have more in common with P. D. James and often succeeding. I give George credit for stopping the endless merry-go-round of romance of the four leads and for taking a major risk is killing off one of the four. Full marks for effort. But George’s previous two books showed a few disturbing fixations (namely, children who kill and deeply unappealing female characters) that come to fruition in This Body of Death and the results left me actually writing the word “ew” in my notes.
(Anyone happening upon this who hasn’t read This Body of Death should stop now because spoilers will abound.)
I thought it would be tough to top Daidre Trahair as least appealing non-murderer in any Elizabeth George book and then along came Isabelle Ardery. So the latest candidate for superintendent is an ambitious woman. A little Prime Suspect but I’ll play along. Isabelle has a drinking problem? More Prime Suspect. Inspector Thomas Lynley coming back to the force to help said alcoholic win the coveted job? Okay. Isabelle turns out to be in over her head and Lynley helps her? A little less ok. Lynley finding Isabelle dead drunk after she effs up the case, tossing her into the shower and then having sex with her? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WTH? Or as I wrote in my Kindle notes: EWWWWWWW.
I don’t care how much the shower sobered her up, who the hell wants to read about the hero of a series having sex with a woman who’s capacity to consent is even slightly questionable? And why would he be so desperate that he’d have sex with someone he just revived from an alcoholic stupor? She didn’t even brush her teeth. Not to mention, she’s his boss. Are we to believe Lynley’s grief, all of five months old, is so severe he’s forgotten it’s never a good idea to fish off the company pier?
It only got worse when Lynley then covers up for Isabelle so she can keep trying to be superintendent. Because people who drink at work never make bad decisions. Maybe George is trying to go somewhere with this but I have zero interest in signing up for the next installment if she’s going to try to sell a “romance” between this two. Ew.
I’ll write a proper review later. After I’ve had a chance to get over the squick factor.