‘Deception on his Mind’ is the 9th book in Elizabeth George’s Inspector Linley series, but Thomas Linley is almost completely absent in this book since he is on his honeymoon with Helen (finally).
DS Barbara Havers ended the previous novel – ‘In the Presence of the Enemy’ with broken ribs and a broken nose so she has been ordered to take a few weeks leave – and has no idea what she is going to do with herself. So when her neighbours Taymullah Azhar and his daughter Hadiyyah leave for the Essex coast to help with a family crisis, Barbara decides to follow.
Haytham Querashi has recently arrived from Pakistan to marry Sahlah Malik who is the daughter of prominent businessman and town councillor Akram Malik. When Querashi is murdered, Muhannad (son of Akram) asks Azhar for his help even though Azhar has been disowned by his family. Barbara discovers that the DCI leading the investigation is her good friend Emily Barlow and quickly gets herself involved in the investigation. So Azhar is working with the Pakistanis and Barbara with the police. And there are huge conflicts between the two groups, with Muhannad Malik ‘looking after his people’ and Emily Barlow trying to find a Pakistani murderer (preferably Muhannad) to avoid a flare-up of racial tensions.
The story is very involved. We are given an incredible insight into the role of family members (particularly women) in traditional Muslim families. We find out the secrets and crimes of plenty of the characters from petty thieves, through people smugglers to murderers. And we get to see inside a completely racist white community where even those who don’t dislike the immigrants don’t seem to have made much of an effort to understand them.
What really comes through in this book is just how good a cop Barbara Havers really is – even though she has a lot of trouble doing what she is told. I hope that she can see her skills for herself and that there are no serious repercussions for her from her involvement in this investigation. The end of the story was fast-paced and exciting with Barbara taking a starring role.
The details of the murder and the reasons behind it took me completely by surprise!
I hardly missed Linley at all but would prefer him any day to Ms Barlow. I’m also wondering where the relationship between Barbara and Azhar is heading and hope to find out in the next book in the series – ‘In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner’.
Book Published 1997