Picks and Pans Review: A Traitor to Memory
Elizabeth George's sprawling London spine tingler maps out a mystery entwined in a family saga that makes the Windsors look like the Cleavers.
George's ace crime solvers, detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, are back on the case. This time they're searching for the link between the hit-and-run killing of Eugenie Davies and the secrets locked in the mind of her son, a celebrated violinist afflicted by his dysfunctional family and repressed memories, especially of his toddler sister's drowning more than 20 years earlier.
The cast of a thousand could-be killers includes a widowed army major who is obsessed with Eugenie, an oversexed cyberchatterer called TongueMan, whose address Eugenie was carrying when she died, and the police inspector who handled the toddler's murder.
George, an American who has mastered the British murder-mystery formula, falters only when it becomes clear toward the end of the book that events aren't taking place in real time. Otherwise the seamless plot and monstrous characters make for 719 killer pages. (Bantam, $26.95)
Bottom Line: A family affair to remember