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Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley Mystery, Book 9) Paperback – March 24, 2009
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA?Detective Barbara Havers is now on her own. Her partner, the glamorous Lord Lynley, and the even more glamorous Lady Helen are off on their honeymoon and the decidedly less-than-glamorous Havers is to recuperate from extensive wounds suffered in their previous case. She declines an invitation by her neighbor and good friend, eight-year-old Hadiyyah, to join her and her somewhat remote professorial father on a trip to the seaside. Somewhat to her chagrin, however, Havers finds herself worrying about the ostensibly naive father as she hears disturbing news of murder and racial unrest in the same coastal town. She goes to Balford only to land in the middle of a tangled web woven around the murder of the fiance of the young daughter of a wealthy Pakistani business man. The plot is well developed, the red herrings many and varied, and the social commentary on the racial unease in England is well handled. Havers emerges as a more sympathetic character here, and readers get the feeling she is beginning to "get a life." YAs will enjoy the engrossing mystery with deft characterizations.?Susan H. Woodcock, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Just a few weeks ago Mr. Malik became the first Pakistani on the Town Council when his formidable adversary, the aging Agatha Shaw, was forced to resign due to a stroke. Despite her condition and Malik's appointment, Mrs. Shaw, with the help of her grandson Theo, is determined to obtain the Council's approval for her project. She is resolute in the renovation and development of the pleasure pier to attract tourists, resuscitate the town's economy and thus assure her legacy as savior of the community.
Querashi's death is threatening to ignite smoldering racial tensions, however. The Asian's in general and Malik's son in particular suspect the murder was racially motivated and expect the police will ignore white suspects and blame a Pakistani. Enter Sgt. Barbara Havers, who is conveniently vacationing in the town, to mediate with the Pakistani as police liaison. As the case proceeds, Barbara discovers that nearly all the players have something to hide, including her self. Indeed, the title of this English mystery novel should be "Deception on Their Minds."
Elizabeth George is a master of this genre. Her characters are believable, the events are realistic, the scenes evolve with interesting complexity and the plot is superb, although sometimes I found her style more descriptive and dragging than in her prior novel, "In the Presence of the Enemy." And unlike her previous novel, I had the killer figured in this one before the cops did.
"Deception" is unusual and outstanding, however, for George's treatment of the culture clash. Her characters cover the full spectrum of personalities one would expect to find in her hypothetical community. Thanks to God and Allah too, she does it without the least bit of moralizing.
In a down-at-the-heels seaside town that saw its heyday decades ago, a small community of immigrant Pakistanis has uneasily settled in among the Caucasian Brits. This situation sets the stage for a host of values-related conflicts between people of different religions, ethnic backgrounds and customs. Well-meaning people on all sides find themselves at odds with one another, sometimes due to misunderstandings and sometimes to prejudices that stem from long-held assumptions and beliefs about "the other." And there are also a few characters who are not at all well-meaning; in fact, quite the opposite.
Into this mix comes Havers, there to investigate the murder of a newly arrived Pakistani man who was slated to marry into a well-to-do, traditional Muslim family. There are several characters who seem good suspects for the murderer, each with his or her own agenda and all with only a few pieces of the full picture about what's going on in their little town. Author Elizabeth George creates her characters with compassion for each, but also with a critical eye to their shortcomings and their personal biases. It took me until quite close to the end of the novel to figure out 'who done it' and why.
Lovers of intelligent mysteries will thoroughly enjoy Deception on His Mind and I highly recommend it.