Careless in Red by Elizabeth George

Although ‘Careless in Red’ was published several years after ‘With No One as Witness’, the events within these two books takes place only three months apart (I’ll quite happily ignore ‘What Came Before He Shot Her’). So at the beginning of this book, DI Thomas Linley is completely grief stricken after the murder of his wife Helen and their unborn child.

To avoid well-meaning friends and family and to try to forget Helen and her murder, Linley is walking the coastal path in Cornwell. For the last 43 days he has been sleeping rough, barely eating and barely washing. He looks and smells pretty bad. Then he finds a body – a young man who has fallen while cliff climbing. He reports the crime and is immediately considered a suspect, along with Daidre Trehair who lives in the cottage closest to Linley’s discovery.

DI Bea Hanaford quickly determines that Santo Kearne’s death is in fact murder. Once she clears Linley of being a murderer she ropes him in to help (against his wishes) because she is short-staffed. Linley and Daidre have become friends. Bea knows that Daidre is lying to her and sets Linley the task of finding out more.

There is a brilliant list of characters in this book – many of whom had a motive for murdering Santo – his disappointed father, jilted girlfriend, betrayed lover, jealous sister … the list goes on.

With each of the main characters in the book we get to explore their past and discover how complicated interactions between parents and children have led them to where they are and to possibly wishing harm to Santo.

We even have Barbara Havers arrive to help with the case (or to babysit Linley).


I had no idea how Linley could possibly continue after Helen’s death, but this books shows Thomas Linley gradually moving toward learning to live again. I’ve already read some of the later books, so I know that Linley learns to function again. This book shows the first tentative steps. I have one book left before being fully up to date with the series, so I’m looking forward to reading – ‘This Body of Death’.


Book Published 2008


See a full list of books by Elizabeth George

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