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A Traitor to Memory (2001)

by Elizabeth George

Series: Lynley & Havers (11)

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2,207355,527 (3.64)35
Virtuoso violinist Gideon Davies has lost his memory of music and his ability to play the instrument he mastered at the age of five. One fateful night at Wigmore Hall, he lifted his violin to play in a Beethoven trio . . . and everything in his mind related to music was gone. Gideon suffers from a form of amnesia, the cure for which is an examination of what he can remember. And what he can remember is little enough until his mind is triggered by the weeping of a woman and a single name: Sonia. One rainy evening, a woman called Eugenie travels to London for a mysterious appointment. But before she is able to reach her destination, a car swoops out of nowhere and kills her in the street. In pursuing her killer, Thomas Lynley, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata come to know a group of people inextricably connected by a long-ago crime and punishment no one has spoken of for twenty years.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This was my least favorite of George's reads. It went on forever. The two narrative styles did not fit. I already guessed at who did what and it was a long winding road to get there. The Webberly thing read as ridiculous after a while. Lynley is even more of an ass in this one. It felt like a lot of things happened without a lot of police work to get people to where they needed to go.

I liked the book focusing on memory and what we remember as being accurate or false. But after a while I just didn't care. We have Lynley asked to investigate, when a former woman who is known by Webberly and other former New Scotland Yard forces is found dead by a hit and run. The woman's young daughter was drowned years ago and now after she is found dead people wonder what was it that caused her death. When more people connected to that case start being found dead, Lynley, Winston, and Havers are put on the case to figure out who is running people down.

Lynley of all people doesn't follow prior characterizations when he decides to hide something important on a case. Havers of all people points out to him how dumb this is. I maybe laughed a bunch of times considering the last book. St. James, Deborah, and Helen are barely in this one. They just seem to come on stage for Lynely's character and that's it. Winston's story-line was weird, I don't know what George was going for there, but it felt....off. I don't even know what else to say without spoilers.

The writing was not good in this one I am sorry to say. George using a diary style format for a character told in the first person didn't work with the narrative style being told via third person point of view. Also, the diary style was way too long. It kept taking me out of the story. I started to skim after a while since I could guess what happened since George practically points a red arrow at the guilty party(ies).

The flow was awful due to the narrative style. We also have a wrench thrown in via Lynley and Helen's marriage that had me dislike Lynley even more. At this point the man just wants a mannequin, not a wife.

The ending left too many plot holes I assume will be resolved in the next book or the one after. I don't know...I started off enjoying these, but I noticed a drop off between this book and the last one. And I have been warned there is another one that is going to tick me off and the quality is going to be really bad. So I may stop here, I don't know. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
a bit iffy about this one. george loves the convoluted, which is great for keeping readers turning the pages, trying to unspool the threads. but i do feel, sometimes, that too much goes on in some of her stories - and i felt that was the case with this one, book #11 in the series. there are, of course, the crimes to contend with, and the cast of characters connected to them. and out it goes, and out it goes until everyone involved has their own tale as well; it wasn't quite as smooth-going for me. as well, the portrayal of the disabled as monsters, 'freaks', not fit for living was, i feel, not handled well at all.

the voice of gideon was a challenge, and the back-and-forths between his journal entries, and the investigative side of the story were clunky and abrupt. as with a previous instalment, some characters/storylines were introduced in book #11, but were never brought to any kind of resolution; they were just kind of left undone. a) webberley (though maybe his outcome is in the next book, his personal circumstances and his wife's illness opens a whole new can of something. b) eugenie's boyfriend-neighbour really fell by the wayside. c) katya, cleared of the crimes but that whole piece of the story - her taking the fall 20 years ago - was not resolved in any way meaningful for katya. d) jill and richard. i mean, obviously he's done for, but jill is way out in left field by the end of the book. e) libby and gideon... again, there was a conclusion, but it didn't feel like an ending or a resolution, just more conflict.

so... i guess my least favourite in the series, so far. the pluses, though: havers and lynley back together; more of winston. the disappointments: very little with the st. jameses, nothing at all with hadiyya and taymullah. but, onward we go... ( )
  JooniperD | Dec 19, 2019 |
A Traitor to Memory. Elizabeth George.2001. My reward to myself for finishing The Red Horse, was to read the next Elizabeth George novel, and I loved it! Lynley and Havers are trying to discover the reason behind a series of hit-and-run accidents. The victims are connected to a violin prodigy, Gideon Davies, and the connections go back 25 years to the murder of Gideon’s baby sister. As usual, there are numerous suspects one of which is Lynley’s superior which adds to the tension of the plot. In addition to the case, Lynley is worried about Helen who is now pregnant and both of them are concerned about how Deborah will take this news. I always want Helen, Deborah, and St. James to have bigger parts in the plot than they do. Vintage Elizabeth George!! ( )
  judithrs | Aug 29, 2019 |
Gideon Davies is a child prodigy violinist who travels the world giving concerts until he is unable to play the allegro moderato of The Archduke at the Wigmore in London. After this he is unable to play the violin at all. He visits a psychiatrist who has him journal as a way to recover his memories. His father, Richard Davies, is extremely invested in his son's career and tries to remove all obstacles from his life. There are several other stories going on in the book, Helen's pregnancy, Jill Foster's pregnancy, the Webberly's marriage given that Frances is an agoraphobic and won't leave the house, Malcolm Webberly's connection to the original murder of Gideon's younger sister, Sonia, and his relationship with Gideon and Sonia's mother, Eugenie, who is murdered. I have read all of this series up to this book. It is the only one that I did not like. The constant journaling of the major character, Gideon Davies, was extremely detailed and boring. I finally skipped to the last few chapters to find out what actually "might" have happened. ( )
  baughga | May 29, 2019 |
This book went on forever! I had long since worked out who did it as well and I just didn't find the very final ending scene believable (I won't spoil it for you just in case you do get there....)
Not my favourite George novel and I'll be skipping it if I reread. ( )
  Jennie_103 | Jan 24, 2019 |
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Virtuoso violinist Gideon Davies has lost his memory of music and his ability to play the instrument he mastered at the age of five. One fateful night at Wigmore Hall, he lifted his violin to play in a Beethoven trio . . . and everything in his mind related to music was gone. Gideon suffers from a form of amnesia, the cure for which is an examination of what he can remember. And what he can remember is little enough until his mind is triggered by the weeping of a woman and a single name: Sonia. One rainy evening, a woman called Eugenie travels to London for a mysterious appointment. But before she is able to reach her destination, a car swoops out of nowhere and kills her in the street. In pursuing her killer, Thomas Lynley, Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata come to know a group of people inextricably connected by a long-ago crime and punishment no one has spoken of for twenty years.

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