lady_of_clunn: (LOC Arnika)
[personal profile] lady_of_clunn
I've been reading the Inspector Lynley series for a bout twenty years now. Indeed, Missing Joseph introduced me to English language fiction and I haven't looked back.

George is an American writer but her scenarios are usually well-researched and her characters mostly realistic.

Her last book left me a bit baffled but hey, can't love every single book an author writes, right?

Was I excited to see that a new book had come out and - since I totally missed the launch for the first time in 10 years - was on sale for half price? Oh, yes!

As usual I devoured the book in a day.

I should be ecstatic.

Instead I feel bereft.

I can understand if a fanfiction writer does not want to go through BritPicking. It's another editing step and the author might not have any contact to somebody who could help or they might just want to enjoy the writing-posting-feedback process without further delay. Fair enough.

BUT. When I pay ten or twenty pounds for a book, I bloody well expect the author to research her plot. Especially if said author has been writing in a UK setting for a quarter of a century.

I checked and guess what - she has a new UK editor. That person seems to have done little more than running spell check on a British English setting.

If it's important to the plot that somebody is donating eggs, it would be worth checking whether one can actually live on doing this in the UK. As donating eggs is a bit more complicated than donating sperm, the 250 pound allowance that the NHS pays the donours will not enable a "struggling playwright" to keep afloat financially. Especially not in London.

But hey, an oversight.

After reading Just One Evil Act it seems more like the author simply doesn't care anymore.

It was quite clear that she had taken up Italian language classes and was eager to write about Italy and practice her language skills (risky - I hope she had a native speaker to check over the Italian dialogue for her!) and any part set in the UK seems to have gone onto the back burner.

The UK does not really have disposable mobile phones - check if this is important to your plot! Why throw away a whole phone if you can get a pre-paid sim card for free at every single newsagent? Get a handful of sim cards and keep using the phone you have!

Why would "a Pakistani national booking a flight to Lahore" alert MI6 to the fact? There are more than a million Pakistanis in the UK, many of them dual nationals. Thousands are flying to Pakistan to visit friends and family every single day. I doubt that MI6 does detailed background checks on every single one of them simply for booking the flight.

The UK does not have national ID cards. No need to constantly worry about people using fake ones for travelling to Italy, then!

AND if the entire plot hinges on the fact that the Pakistani father of a child is not on the birth certificate and has no proof that he is actually the father, then "flying to Pakistan from Zürich before the child's estranged grandparents can get to her" is not a solution to the whole thing! Believe me, Airlines check visas very carefully and a British child without a visa, travelling with a man who has a different surname and no proof of any kind of custody for the child is not going to board a plane to Pakistan. Not even in Zürich.

I am angry.

In one swoop fell she got rid of several main characters and side plots that were developing for years and years, wrapping things up in an unsatisfactory and unrealistic way.

If she wanted to write a book about Italy, she could have done so without forcing her general storyline into it with a crowbar. She has written a book that didn't involve the usual characters or surroundings before, to give the viewpoint of the murderer to what happened in the book before that. It was great. I would have enjoyed a book like that set in Italy.

Funnily, when reading reviews for Just One Evil Act, people mostly complain about the use of Italian throughout the book. I don't mind that at all. It is set in Italy and people will speak Italian. It's close enough to French for me to guess at what is being said and if not, she always explained what was happening, just like it would have to be done if I were in Italy with little language skills.

Gah. Not sure whether I will buy the next book.

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May 2015

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