‘Just One Evil Act’ is the latest Inspector Linley book by Elizabeth George – number 18 in the series. And, like several of the other books in the series it is very much about Barbara Havers (the woman and the cop).
If you read the previous novel in the series – ‘Believing the Lie’, then you will already know that nine year old Hadiyyah (Barbara’s much loved neighbour) has been taken by her mother Angelina. Azhar never married Angelina (for very good reasons) and his name does not appear on the birth certificate, so there’s nothing Azhar can do about getting his daughter back. He does, however, go to see a private investigator with Barbara in an effort to find her.
Now five months since her disappearance, Angelina is back. Not with Hadiyyah, but with her Italian lover Lorenzo Mura. Hadiyyah has been kidnapped from a marketplace in the Tuscan village of Lucca, and Azhar is Angelina’s number one suspect.
Barbara tries to get permission to investigate the kidnapping in Italy. She even tries to use a London tabloid to ensure an English presence in the Italian investigation. But her boss – DI Thomas Linley is sent to Italy instead. Barbara’s dealings with the tabloid backfire – Editor Mitch Corsica has information that Barbara doesn’t want published and in trying to stop him, she gets pulled in deeper and deeper.
The entire story is a mess of shady private investigators, sleazy tabloids, corrupt and incompetent police, jealous lovers, racial prejudice and abandoned families.
Just when it seems that the crime is about to be solved, there is another major complication and we head off for another round of more of the same!
Even though the book was very long and complicated, it was extremely enjoyable. The Italian setting was excellently done (although there was too much Italian in the book for my non-existent Italian skills) and the main Italian investigator – Chief Inspector Salvatore Lo Bianco was a loveable man who I hope we see again in future books.
There were some surprises towards the end and it seems that the unlovable Barbara Havers is very much loved and appreciated after all.
This was a brilliant book which I much preferred to the previous one and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series – ‘A Banquet of Consequences‘.
Book Published 2013