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A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)
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A Traitor to Memory

(Inspector Lynley #11)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  9,977 ratings  ·  462 reviews
When Eugenie Davies is killed by a driver on a quiet London street, her death is clearly no accident. Someone struck her with a car and then deliberately ran over her body before driving off, leaving nothing behind but questions.
What brought Eugenie Davies to London on a rainy autumn night? Why was she carrying the name of the man who found her body? Who among the many ac
Paperback, 1009 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Bantam (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Deng Xiaoping
An inexplicable book, filled with inexplicable characters, unforgivably long. I still don't know what happened on the last page, yet I'm grateful George didn't expend any more pages yapping on in explanation. 1,009 was quite enough. I think I know who the killer was, but I don't understand why a character who is not actually psychotic would destroy the Guarneri violin of the man she's trying to repair a relationship with and think this is acceptable. I don't get why everyone in a book published ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: british, mystery
I've read all of Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley/Barbara Havers series, and I must say that this is the weakest of the bunch. One of the aspects that I've always enjoyed in this mystery series is the attention that the author paid to the lives of the two main characters. In A Traitor to Memory, that seems to have flown by the wayside, and Havers and Lynley are given rather slipshod treatment. The small sections devoted to their private lives seem perfunctory and forced.

In addition, I felt that
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 di
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Davie
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-this, mystery
Eleventh in the Inspector Lynley mystery series based in London at Scotland Yard and revolving around policemen.

My Take
This is a gawd awful depressing story but an essential read if you prefer to follow your characters chronologically. There is so much in here that you need to know. I think.

I had a hard time reading this story. It was well-written [I do have a few quibbles about the timeline George followed, see below]; but, its topic was so incredibly tragic. Such a waste. Such an argument for
aPriL does feral sometimes
I think ‘A Traitor to Memory’ was an interesting book to read. It dissects a dysfunctional family which rotates around two human suns made important by family dynamics, a son and an obsessive father.

First is the musical prodigy, Gideon Davies, who is a minor sensation in classical music circles, a favored child and now adult whose career everyone in the Davies’ world must support.

The father, Richard Davies, forces the entire family into a supplementary role behind Gideon’s talent in every way.
Jamie Collins
The writing is really good, as I've come to expect from George, but this is not one of my favorites in this series. The characterizations were as well done as usual, although I was a little disappointed that the lady in the opening chapter, a morbidly obese anorgasmic sex therapist, was not a main character. I didn't care much about the characters that were the focus of the mystery (I got thoroughly sick of Gideon's diary) and the denouement was less satisfying than usual. The author continues t ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow (as always)
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew that was a chunkster, and I loved EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

Susan Liston
2.5, I guess. This was officially my least favorite so far of the Lynley books. Neither Lynley or Havers is in it much at all, the focus is mostly on one character and it seems as though he narrates 3/4's of the very long book. Which is fine, I guess if he had been more interesting, but every time I would turn the page and see GIDEON at at the top of it I would sigh and see how many pages I would have to plow through before I was rid of him again. Those sections could have and should have been s ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries-george
Elizabeth George has written some terrific books in the Inspector Lynley series, but this isn't one of them. The book alternates between long, first-person passages by a protagonist named Gideon Davies, who is writing his thoughts and memories to his therapist, and third-person passages telling of the efforts of others, including Thomas Lynley, Barbara Havers, and Winston Nkata, to solve the murders of people related in some way to Gideon, as well telling of other events and people in Gideon's l ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I open an Elizabeth George novel, I'm prepared for a lengthy, deep dive into settings, characters, and a multitude of nuances that plop me right into the story. I'm always happy to reconnect with Lynley and Havers, as well as their friends, family, and associates. This is a great read with some surprising revelations about a familiar character's background. I took one star off because the pleasingly twisty plot tends to plod along, and occasionally stalls in minutiae.

Some favorite passages:
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth George is an American who writes British crime novels. And she does it well. Her fans will be delighted to re-enter the world of aristocratic detective, Thomas Lynley, and his sidekicks, Sergeant Barbara Havers and Constable Winston Nkata.

I read A Traitor to Memory when it was released in hardcover last year. I enjoyed it as much the second time around – an acid test for a novel. George’s plotting is immaculate, her characterisation superb. I wanted to know what happened to everyone in
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I want to fall in love with Elizabeth George. With dozens of books under her belt, she'd be the perfect author to go back to time and again for a good read. But I am losing faith. This is the 3rd book of hers I have read and and it was the worst so far. I like a long book. But length should either result in deep character development or ridiculous/funny/detailed description. Unfortunately George uses length just to repeat the same few ideas/plot points over and over. So it gets really boring.

I a
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Just finished, after a month and a half of slogging. Rarely have I cared less about the outcome of a mystery, the answer to which was fairly obvious. Whenever George emphasises the secondary characters (as in, the new characters involved in the murder) over Lynley, Havers, Helen, St. James and Deborah, she creates a tedious and, in this case, over-long journey that ends eventually, but hardly with little to engage the reader.
Rebecca Huston
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I did enjoy this one, albeit it's not my favourite Inspector Lynley novel. This time there are family secrets, murder, mental disabilities, and classical music.

For a more complete review, please go here:
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: british
This one was harder for me to read of her books. There was no resolution in the end, not that there really could be, but it was emotionally draining. I also found the format - switching between the narrative and the diary distracting.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
2 ½ stars, if we could do that here.

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; i
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant British police procedural featuring Lynley and Havers. Gideon Davies' estranged mother is the victim of a vehicular homicide. She is a quiet woman beloved by everyone so the range of suspects is pretty sparse. But there's a daughter's death in her past so Lynley and Havers are soon tilling the earth around all her friends and relations. Gideon was a child prodigy with a brilliant career who at 28 just stopped playing and no one knows why. His diary, addressed to his therapist, ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Oh man. Sometimes I think I notice glitches in mystery novel plotting, but never ones this bad. It's such a long long book, with so many interwoven stories. But the central event, Eugenie's death, is revealed to her son on page 226--& then again, as if he hadn't known it at all, on page 676, as if it happened the night before instead of days or weeks earlier. Also Katie Waddington, whom he visits in his quest to understand his past, is just fine--but soon we are told that she had recently been v ...more
Azita Rassi
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best in the series
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
‘A Traitor to Memory,’ by Elizabeth George is a compelling, fascinating book. It’s a long book – over 1000 pages long – but the writing is strong, the plot well-conceived, and the characters well developed. Holding ‘A Traitor to Memory’ together is the story of Gideon, a violin virtuoso, and originally a child prodigy. We read his journal entries, written to his psychiatrist, and learn with Gideon about the tragedy in his family’s past.

One way to describe Elizabeth George’s writing is research,
Skip Maloney
Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This, as noted in another entry here, was a discovery. Found at daughter-in-law's house and taken up without much faith in the fact that I'd actually finish the 719-page hardcover. But I did and it's led me back to the first of the Inspector Lynley mysteries, with a lot of catching up to do.
Ms. George is a very lush writer. Her details are very . . well, detailed and she has a way of making you see, hear, feel and sometimes even taste what her character's are seeing, hearing, feeling. There's a
Jean Cole
Why oh why did I mentally promise to read all the books in this series? The series has such potential. Sir Thomas Lynley, Eighth Earl of Asherton juxtaposed with blue collar Barbara Havers provides tension and opportunity for demonstrating how each one's background affects how they view and interact with homicide suspects. The back story of each of these main characters also lends depth to each of these murder mysteries. I lost patience with the pouty Lady Helen, Lynley's true love, early on, bu ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second Elizabeth George and like the first one it was a multi-threaded mystery with probable culprits changing places through out. The shape of the book has a main character; a violin prodigy who has suddenly “lost” is ability to play, writing a journal at his psychiatrist’s suggestion. He is trying to remember his “history” from the time of the murder of his younger sister, when he was 8, in the hopes of uncovering the cause of his block. Is narrative is interspersed with current ev ...more
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a huge book at over 1000 pages. In small script, no less. I love Elizabeth George. I love her prose and her literacy. She respects her characters and the page, and it shows. But if you're going to go for a 1000 page book, it better be dang good. And it's a good, not great, chapter in her Lynley series. It could've been edited down by 250 pages and it would have been great. While I love anything she writes, the first half just didn't go anywhere for me. Or went there very slowly. Still, t ...more
Leslie Jem
this book was so bad that our book group brought it up at every single meeting thereafter...
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite in the series. It doesn't focus on the core characters as much as some of the others, but I liked the diary style entries breaking up the detective bits. ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh man, this book took forever to finish. But the payoff at the end is worth it. But honestly this beast of a book could have been shorter. It really tried to do the most.

In A Traitor To Memory the author opted for two narrative styles. One is the inner thoughts of musician Gideon Davies. He has forgotten the events surrounding the death of his sister Sonia which is linked to his inability to play and a current bout of hit and run accidents. The other style is the straightforward plotting of a
Gloria Biondi
This book is great if you enjoy Psychiatrists and their patients. The main character Gideon, a child Prodigy, with the violin, his relationship with Dr. Rose, his father, and a friend named Libby. His mother Eugenie Davies left him when he was very young. No one ever talked about their problems. His younger sister was a Downs syndrome child and she was drowned in the bathtub supposedly by the Nanny. His mother was killed by a driver on a quiet London street, her death is clearly no accident. Det ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels, featuring her character Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

She was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to the S

Other books in the series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 20 books)
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  • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, #4)
  • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)
  • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, #6)
  • Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, #7)
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  • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)
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