It had been quite some time since I immersed myself in a good mystery. You know the kind I mean – where the plot is thick, the atmosphere intense, the characters complex. This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George, delivers quite well on all counts. It’s the latest in Ms. George’s prolific series (this is number 16) about Inspector Lynley, a suave, introspective British detective whose personal life is often just as interesting as the crime he’s trying to solve.
I’ve been enamored of the Lynley novels since I read The Great Deliverance about 10 years ago. I quickly gobbled up all her novels published to date, and anticipated the annual new offerings which George dished up every year. It pains me to say that the recent novels have paled a bit. A pivotal incident which occurred in With No One as Witness had such an adverse affect on Lynley that it seems to have trickled down to the rest of the series as well. The novels seem to lack the razor sharp focus they once had, the characters have become tiresome to a degree, and almost caricatures of their former glorious selves.
Which begs this question…when we find ourselves less and less enchanted by formerly loved characters in serial novels, how often is it because the author has lost his/her edge in writing, or simply that we’ve grown tired of the concept and find it’s time to move on?
Tell me, has this happened to you? Was there a series you once loved, but from which you eventually grew apart? Or conversely, has there been a series you’ve enjoyed more and more with each passing novel and were loath to see it end?