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3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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"He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago." -- Lamentations 3:6 (NKJV)

Nothing pleases me more than to sit down with a long engrossing tale and to be drawn fully into a different world, gaining many insights from the experience . . . and feeling transformed at the end.

Having been a fan of the Thomas Lynley novels for some time, I settled in with this book and waited for the magic to arrive.

It was a long wait. In the last hundred pages, the book began to take on a more interesting character . . . or I would have rated it at one star.

This book needs a strong editor to whack it down to size to fit the story's potential. Without that, you'll spend a lot of time following matters that won't interest you very much and may even make you feel not as good as when you picked up the book.

Unless you feel compelled to read every word that Elizabeth George writes, I suggest you skip this book. The next one has to be better.

So what's it all about? The book's core concerns the death of Ian Cresswell, who had recently left his wife to live with his male lover. Sir David Hillier "loans" Lynley to a casual acquaintance, Bernard Fairclough, to look into the death in an unofficial way. Thomas asks Simon and Deborah St. James to join him in the sleuthing, and he makes occasional calls on Barbara Havers for research help. It's all a bit awkward because Thomas cannot tell his "guv" and lover, Isabelle Ardley, where he is or what he is doing . . . and Barbara Havers is under her authority.

The book has multiple narrators: the deceased; Lynley; Deborah; Barbara; Cresswell's son Tim; a Fairclough daughter; a Fairclough daughter-in-law; and Zed Benjamin, a tabloid reporter. This design allows for lots of subplots such as strains in Lynley's relationship with Isabelle, the St. Jameses dealing with infertility, the difficulties faced by the Cresswell children, trying to find a juicy story for a tabloid and still live with one's conscience, Barbara's battles against orders to improve her appearance, and Barbara's relationship with her neighbors.

The story has enough plots and subplots to fill six soap operas, so don't be surprised by anything that comes along. If it hasn't happened yet, it probably will.

Overall, the book left me feeling down . . . even though I admired the way that Ms. George ultimately pulled a couple of rabbits out of the hat to make the story more worth the slog.

I felt that only the writing about Barbara Havers was really good. If this book had been expanded to just focus on her, it would have been a far, far better work. Much of the rest involved too little character development, too many unlikely circumstances, too predictable development events, and not much encouragement to draw from the human pain displayed.
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on March 21, 2012
This book is a mess. There are tangled plot lines (and believe me in 600 pages things can get very tangled, unsatisfying characters and the need for a good editor. I have read all of George's books and have wavered over the past couple - this has totally turned me off. I simply won't bother when the next one comes out. Worst of all - that WHINEY Deborah St. James is back still moaning about having no kid around. I wanted to scream at her to go to China for a baby and hopefully stay there. She has pretty well destroyed Barbara Havers (who if George had any guts would make her gay) - the obsession with the neighbours is really getting stale.

So George has finally beaten me. One less fan. From reviews I have read on amazon and other sites, I am not alone. I wish I had waited for the paperback. It's very heavy in hardcover - making it difficult to toss out the window.
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on April 27, 2012
I was excited so see there was a new Inspector Lynley. I have read all the previous in the series and would recommend all of them. Loved the characters and the story lines. This one "Believing the Lie" is 600 pages of nothing. I kept reading and expecting that it would get better but it never did. It got more and more confused with more and more unlikable characters so that I could hardly wait for it to end. I was so disappointed with this book that I will probably not read another if there is one.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 23, 2012
"Believing the Lie" is the 17th book in Elizabeth George's long-running Inspector Lynley series, and it continues to focus on Tommy Lynley, Earl of Asherton and Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard. One of his superiors asks him to undertake a clandestine investigation into the drowning death of a man living in Cumbria, in England's Lake District, after the man's uncle worries that something underhanded might have occurred in spite of the coroner ruling the death an accident. Tommy doesn't want to take on this task, but he has no choice, and he therefore enlists his friend Simon, a forensic specialist, and Simon's wife Deborah to join him on the trip, while also asking Barbara Havers, his partner at work, to look into some information from London. In the meantime, a young reporter for a scandal sheet has been sent to the same location in order to dig up dirt on the prodigal son and cousin of the dead man, and he is told not to return without a front-page story.... One of the most marvelous things about Elizabeth George's books is that she always takes the time to create and flesh out all of her characters, the individuals involved in the crime being investigated as much as the detective and his cohorts. This makes for lengthy novels (this one is just over 600 pages), but the characters and their complexities are so compelling that it's a joy to commit to the time required to find out all about them. It's possible that one could read any of this series without having read the previous ones, but one would be missing out on the depth and nuances of the main characters' changing relationships to each other and that would be a shame. Very highly recommended.
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on April 19, 2012
This book lacked direction. While it included the usual characters, it had so many sub-plots and other characters that it detracted from the story. Having read many of Elizabeth George's book, this one was the least enjoyable. Seemed a bit tabloidy.
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on March 22, 2013
I find one of my favourite detectives having a romantic interlude with someone who I don't like or respect gets in the way of the story. I have nothing against him getting on with his life but she's just not as dynamic a character as everyone else that I've come to know and look forward to. I'm glad it's over. The door is open in Barbara's personal life. That's something to look forward to. The story line in this book is far more sexual than usual. The author deals with some very uncomfortable issues around child pornography. It's not one of my favourite in the series. I prefer Ms. George's earlier stories.
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on May 2, 2013
I seems to me that ever since Ms.George killed off Helen, the books just haven't been the same. Maybe I'm just biased because I really enjoyed Helen as a character and her relationship with the other regulars.

It also seems to me that Ms.George is writing less mystery novels and more complicated human drama novels; not my fave genre, I began reading her books precisely because they were murder mysteries.

Too bad...
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on May 24, 2013
The early Lynley novels were a good read, good plots and exciting. However, the later ones, in general, have become long, boring and too full of sexual themes which add nothing to the story. Careless in Red was rubbish and Believing the Lie is no better. If you want a good detective story you would be better served by reading an Agatha Christie story. Short, to the point, a good plot, a true mystery and no pointless sex.
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on March 10, 2013
I have always liked Elizabeth George. It is interesting reading. And, again I noticed that her characters act as if on their own, she created them, and off they went to live and behave, even though in this book there is again probably the most revolting character that the authoress created on this side of the law.

Isabelle with whom Lynley gets entangled is selfish, self-righteous and a drunkard. It is greatly unpleasant to have such a person as a character, for Lynley as well as for Barbara.

I have never understood Barbara, however. Why should she be a priori unattractive, totally undesirable, someone standing out in the company in which she lives and works, when more people from her strata of society are commonly found in her profession than is the case of the incredibly aristocratic Lynley?

The ending opens up into what must follow in the next volume, namely finding Haddiyyah, and the future life of Lynley.

It is amazing that the author could keep the nine epic lines in the book logical and believable.

The hardcover book is big and heavy. I will recommend it to everyone who can hold it in his/her hands.
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Book #17, in the Inspector Lynley mystery

This is a good size book over 600 pages of a tightly plotted mystery that brings MS George’s unpredictable characters in the middle of a case involving pedophilia, alcoholism, homosexuality, transgender reassignment, surrogacy and above all….everything comes down to money in the end…In this chronicle, Linley will be looking into a wealthy Cumbrian family private deeds and secrets.

What a long and complicated book this is. We find multiple sub-plots that radiate from the main story, the drowning of Ian Cresswell, before converging near the end of the book. It took some time for everything to mesh before I could let my mind enjoy this mystery that revolved around so many social issues. Near the end of the book we have one big twist that expose a wealth of family secrets and lies. “Believing the Lie” has Lynley and Havers at center stage although Deborah St-James plays a good part with all her vulnerabilities. She surely wasn’t at her best this time. Ms. George is particularly skilled in setting her story, Cumbria seems so inviting (so much so I may add it on my bucket list:). Of course we also have panoply of juicy characters to keep track of: among them are squabbling children, an inept reporter, a sexy Argentinean woman and many many more.

There is a lot to grasp here maybe too much for some: this book is an endless litany of melodrama, melancholy and the bad and dysfunctional family dynamic. Some may like this mystery and some may find the experience may be a drag….
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