Elizabeth George: master planner
Excerpts from the interview by Lynn Kaczmarek in the June/July 2001 issue of Mystery News
I remember reading Elizabeth Georges first book, A Great Deliverance, as if it were yesterday. It wasnt, of course, it was twelve or thirteen years ago. But I remember it clearly. It was a spectacular British police procedural filled with characters that made my heart ache. Scotland Yard Inspector, Thomas Lynley, the eighth Earl of Asherton was the privileged, tortured protagonist whose sense of guilt is the prime motivation for virtually everything he does. At his right arm was his polar opposite, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, a common street officer, newly promoted to CID, who had begrudgingly worked extra hard for every achievement. Simon Allcourt St. James, a friend of Lynleys and an independent forensic scientist, St. James wife Deborah, and Lady Helen Clyde rounded out the cast of characters.
And the story well, there was that incredible story. As I recall, I read the last chapter two or three times just to make sure what seemed so totally implausible was in fact the truth. It was. And upon reflection it all made painful sense. Considering all the books I had read before and have read since, I have never been so moved, so affected by words on a page. Elizabeth George had left my mind spinning , my soul filled with anguish and me loving every single minute of it.
Early in our conversation, Elizabeth and I talked about authors she admired. Alice Hoffman is one. Since I also admire her work, I asked Elizabeth what she liked about Hoffmans books. Well, a couple of things. I really like the way that Alice Hoffman uses magical realism. But I also like the fact hat with an Alice Hoffman book you get the sense of being in the hands of a loving narrator. And then it struck me I like Elizabeth Georges work partly because she gives me the sense of being in the hands of a master planner. Every detail is covered, every action has meaning, every emotion has purpose. She essentially says to the reader, give me your time, and your mind, and your heart, and Ill tell you a story that will spin your world
Read the complete interview in the June/July issue of Mystery News