Picks and Pans Review: Deception on His Mind
This ninth volume of George's literate British mystery series veers away from the crisp restraint of sleuth Thomas Lynley's aristocracy to the working-class terrain of his clumsily endearing partner Sergeant Barbara Havers.
Still bearing the conspicuous bruises and humiliations of a too-close encounter in the bestselling In the Presence of the Enemy, Sergeant Havers is ordered to rest. Instead she leaves London to follow her mysterious neighbor Taymullah Azhar and his young daughter to the North Sea.
Azhar has been summoned by relatives to keep tabs on the police as they work to solve the murder of a recent immigrant. Defying protocol, Havers insinuates herself into the case, which presents a fascinating list of suspects, including the victim's beautiful, evasive fiancée, an Asian political agitator and a disfigured jewelry store owner. There are wrenching stories here, and George conveys them with exceptional grace. The novel's climax may seem far-fetched, but the passions that build up to it are hauntingly real. (Bantam,$24.95)