Beautiful Lie the Dead: An Inspector Green Mystery Paperback – Sep 1 2010
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"Beautiful Lie the Dead is Barbara Fradkin's best Inspector Green mystery yet... Fradkin really shines with this story." --The Globe and Mail
"Beautiful Lie the Dead is one of the finest novels I've read this year. While its core is a mystery, it is also a story that poignantly illustrates that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions - the road being 30 years ago and the hell being murder." --Hamilton Spectator
From the Publisher
This is the eighth book in the acclaimed Inspector Green series. Two titles in the series have won the Arthur Ellis Award for best novel, honouring Canada's finest crime fiction.See all Product Description
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I enjoyed the writing style - descriptions were pleasant and not overdone, and despite a large number of characters, I was easily able to follow along and understand the relationship between all without having to flip back to remind myself. The characters were nicely developed where necessary, and this author is the type that doesn't write anything without a purpose.
The ending was a bit less sinister than I had hoped given the amount of build up to the last 10 pages. Being a mystery junkie, I actually predicted one of the crucial elements of the storyline and was hoping for it to be expanded upon more deeply with some kind of twist, but that wasn't really there.
Regardless, it was a quick, enjoyable read with a lot of thought put into the characters and the details. It also proved to be an interesting historical perspective on the relationship between the French and the English in Canada. My mother is Canadian (I am American), so it taught me quite a bit.
Overall, definitely recommended for those who enjoy puzzle piece mysteries. An intriguing, character-driven plotline with an interesting end. Not super poignant, but a solid read.
Without giving away too much of the plot, I can say that this story has a satisfying number of twists and turns, and plenty of deception, before Green finds the truth. I found it a satisfying read and plan to check out more of Barbara Fradkin's Inspector Green series.
To say any more would turn this into a spoiler. Very enjoyable, well written, suspenseful, and seemingly realistic police procedures.
Reading through all Green's books, I also begin to wonder whether the author likes her hero....
His investigating talents just aren't there. He is running around hassling people led by his so-called "hunches". But really valuable information is found by his subordinates. He does not like to look at dead bodies, so he never goes to postmortems. He states he never fired his gun in 20 plus years of service, and avoids all situations where he might need to use his weapon. His heart goes up into his throat every time there's a slight danger. He is a coward, in more ways then just one. He does not know anything about computers, so he cannot do even simple search on the Internet. Hell, whatever comes up - he never seems to be good at it. All he's good at is eating "enormous succulent" smoked meat sandwiches at one or another kosher joint.
The author spreads a lot of hints, chapter after chapter, as to whodunit. Yet he fails to see what a reader sees right away, and it vexes me to watch him following obviously wrong "leads" instead of looking into what I already figured out from the author's tips.
Interesting choice of words used describing Green's movements: He jumps, and pounces, and snaps, and snatches, and snags, etc. So, he definitely suffers ADD. Not a good quality for a detective! At least he does not grin as much any more as he used to in earlier books. Must have been very irresistible to the author, the word combination "Green grinned". And it is always either wryly, or sheepishly.
There are quite a few expressions, descriptions, associations, etc., that I personally find odd, and in some cases plainly incorrect. Here are a few samples:
In a description of a female corpse, first - "approximately 190 cm, 60 kg" Seems a VERY skinny corpse, and very tall for a woman, should be easy to find who she was :) Well, I discarded it for a typo.. Then, few pages farther on, Green is offended by the younger colleague who thinks he does not understand decimal system and translates centimeters to inches for him."194 cm, it's 5 foot 5". Really? 5'5" is about 162 cm, a whole foot off the marker. Looks like they both have not got a clue.
"....looking like an undertaker in a navy blue pullover and white dress shirt..." - interesting. I wonder if Ottawa's undertakers wear blue pullovers? Usually when they say "looking like an undertaker" one would imagine a black suite. No?
"...The house smelled of thousand foods - chocolate, basil, cabbage, vinegar".... Hmmm.... Since when vinegar is FOOD? Neither is basil, as matter of fact.
Seeing a person first time, Green says "Mr. Longstreet, I assume?" This is not correct word in context, the correct would be "presume", and greatly educated Green whose English is not an immigrant's newly learnt language should know the difference.
"Occasional Volvo and Subaru suggested that gentrification was sneaking in"... Volvo maybe, but surely not Subaru? I guess, because Green drives a Subaru himself, he thinks it's a sign of gentrification.