Reader reviews for In the Presence of the Enemy

an excellent thriller. it was so interesting that I didn't even realise when I was turning the pages. Keeps the reader on the edge and always makes you jump into wrong conclusion until you finally come to the last chapter. one of the best thriller I have ever read. Thank you, Elizebeth George.
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I think this has been my favorite of the Lynley mysteries so far, at least in my rereading of them. This is the 8th book. A young girl is kidnapped; her mother is a member of Parliament with serious political ambitions. The girl will die unless her biological father, a tabloid editor, reveals that he is her father, thus destroying her mother's career because of their political differences. It gets more complicated from there. Kidnappings, murder, twisted relationships, and a totally unexpected twist in the end make for a great read. You won't want to put this one down!
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This is an excellent Inspector Lynley/Barbara Havers mystery. Barbara Havers gets much more page time than in any previous book and we come to know her much more than before. I always find it amazing that these mysteries are written by an American.
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Hailed as the "king of sleaze," tabloid editor Dennis Luxford is used to ferreting out the sins and scandals of people in exposed positions. But when he opens an innocuous-looking letter addressed to him at The Source, he discovers that someone else excels at ferreting out secrets as well.Ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen has been abducted, and if Luxford does not admit publicly to having fathered her, she will die. But Charlotte's existence is Luxford's most fiercely guarded secret, and acknowledging her as his child will throw more than one life and career into chaos. Luxford knows that the story of Charlotte's paternity could make him a laughingstock and reveal to his beautiful wife and son the lie he's lived for a decade. Yet it's not only Luxford's reputation that's on the line: it's also the reputation—and career—of Charlotte Bowen's mother. For she is Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, one of the most high-profile Junior Ministers and quite possibly the next Margaret Thatcher.Knowing that her political future hangs in the balance, Eve Bowen refuses to let Luxford damage her career by printing the story or calling the police. So the editor turns to forensic scientist Simon St. James for help. It's a case that fills St. James with disquiet, however, for none of the players in the drama seem to react the way one would expect.Then tragedy occurs and New Scotland Yard becomes involved. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley soon discovers that the case sends tentacles from London into the countryside, and he must simultaneously outfox death as he probes Charlotte Bowen's mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, his partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, working part of the investigation on her own and hoping to make the coup of her career, may be drawing closer to a grim solution—and to danger—than anyone knows.In the Presence of the Enemy is a brilliantly insightful and haunting novel of ideals corrupted by self-interest, of the sins of parents visited upon children, and of the masks that hide people from each other—and from themselves.
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Of the eight Lynley novels I've read, I'd rank this third, after the first, A Great Deliverance and the third, Well-Schooled in Murder. Not that I felt that way through Part One, which is almost another book I'd rate much lower--for two reasons. First, that first part involves only that Tiresome Three (tm) Simon and Deborah St. James and Lady Helen Clyde. So not my favorite George characters. Second, and worse, they engage in utterly stupid behavior that's a pet peeve of mine in amateur detective fiction. Charlotte, a ten-year old girl, is kidnapped, and the mother, Eve Bowen, a Member of Parliament, a Junior Minister, and a rising star in the Tories doesn't want the police involved because she fears it would lead to publicity and the exposure of her daughter's paternity--the editor of a tabloid with Labour leanings. So the Tiresome Three go along with with this monstrous mother who acts like she misplaced a file, and don't call in the police. For DAYS. Oh, and when the police are called in and Lynley calls them on their behavior, he's the bad guy who dealt Deborah a "death blow" and once again puts his engagement with Helen in jeopardy. It's all the more maddening because there's no good reason for the St Jameses and Clyde to have gone along with not reporting the crime. They have no particular loyalty personal or political to the people involved who are strangers to them and given their ties and loyalties to people at Scotland Yard they should know better.Finally, after nearly 250 pages, Detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers do come into the picture, and things do pick up immensely. In fact, I'd say the last hundred pages especially of the book are the most suspenseful I've yet to read from Elizabeth George. There's also a lot more of Detective Constable Winston Nkata in this book--in the last book he has a cameo really, and books before that just mentions. This time he's a supporting player and if this presages more of a role for him from here on end in the Lynley mysteries I'll be glad of it. And Havers. Poor Havers. But she's my favorite character in this series for good reasons. And just as the Tiresome Three demonstrate in this novel why I don't care for them, Havers shows why she's enough to keep me reading this series.
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Gripping murder investigation as Inspector Lynley and Havers rush to prevent a serial child murderer of claiming a victim held for blackmail purposes. The characters are absorbing and although the book is long it is a page-turner. I'd love to read more of this series and watch the BBC miniseries in full as well.
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Tommy and Barb are drawn into a case of a dead girl who may not have died if St. James and Deborah had called the Yard when they first learned the girl had gone missing. Helen and Simon both see a side of Lynley that they’d just as soon not, and Havers lands her first stint as the primary investigator in this kidnapping/murder. Another nice surprise ending.
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