Deception On His Mind

Deception On His Mind

  • Publish Date: 1998-10
  • Binding: Mass Market Paperback
  • Author: Elizabeth George
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Balford-le-Nez is a dying seatown on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town's small but growing Asian community, is found dead on its beach, his neck broken, sleepy Balford-le-Nez ignites. Working solo, without her long-time partner Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, Sergeant Barbara Havers must probe not only the mind of a murderer and a case very close to her own heart, but the terrible price people pay for deceiving others...and themselves. In Deception on His Mind Sergeant Barbara Havers places herself at the center of an investigation in Essex concerning the mysterious death of a recently arrived immigrant from Pakistan. Although still recovering from the broken ribs and nose (received at the end of In the Presence of the Enemy), Havers convinces herself that she needs to stay on the job in order to help her neighbor Taymullah Azhar and his elfin daughter Hadiyyah who have a familial connection to the dead man. As is typical with Elizabeth George's novels (this is the 10th in a popular and powerful series), the murder and its investigation are the central feature of the story. But in this case they are also the means by which she explores the Pakistani experience in a foreign and not always friendly culture. As Havers herself notes, the food may well have improved in Britain with an increasingly diverse population, but that same population has "engendered a score of polyglot problems." Whether or not the dead man is a victim of a racially motivated crime is only one of the questions Havers tries to sort out. The result, with George's typically complex characterizations and deft plot turns, is a deeply satisfying novel. Fans of Havers's superior officer, Thomas Lynley, and his lady love Helen Clyde will be disappointed as the two are off on their honeymoon. But with Lynley out of the picture, Havers, with her prickly personality, caustic tongue, and sound investigative skills, comes well and truly into her own. Nitpickers might question one aspect of the final denouement--motive and opportunity are securely in place but the means are on the outskirts of unbelievable. Still, the book is a rich and enjoyable one that continues to tickle the imagination well after it has been shelved amidst other favorites. --K.A. Crouch

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