In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley #8)
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In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley #8)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  5,476 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Elizabeth George, who has been hailed as an outstanding practitioner of the modern English mystery (Chicago Tribune), offers her finest work to date--a novel that once again explodes the incendiary themes of passion and betrayal that have made her a master of the genre. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers investigate the disappearance of the daugh...more
Hardcover, 535 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Bantam Books (first published 1996)
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Lobstergirl
Jul 30, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Judy Woodruff
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Slim Dunlap
Commendably twisty and well-plotted, with none of the awkward cameos from the lower classes that we often have to endure from George. I particularly enjoyed the falling-out between Lynley, Helen, St. James and Deborah as Lynley attacks them ("you three cretins"), deservedly. And Helen calls Lynley "you rotten little pharisee." Later in the book the murdered child's mother's "underpants clung damply to her crotch like an inebriate's palm." Colorful! You won't get that from Agatha Christie.
Catherine
Well.

I think perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more had it been half the length. George does ramble on interminably about her character's inner thoughts, at no particularly great gain to the plot, and the idea of show-not-tell isn't high on her agenda. The women in the book are a rum bunch - I enjoyed the police detective, but the correlation between career woman and badly-dressed-virgin is predictable and so old hat as to be ridiculous. No less ridiculous were the other key female charact...more
jo
this is a well written, well paced, well developed mystery. elizabeth george sure likes to pack her stories with language (details details details), but since i like my books to go on and on, and her going on and on is well done, i am not complaining, at all.

okay, now that i got that out of the way let me talk about women and mysteries. men and mysteries, too. the latter first. i learned today (here) that the millennium trilogy, of which i read only the first installment, a book that struck me...more
C.J. Prince
This book pushed me right over the edge of my comfort zone and yet I could not put it down and read far into the night and shunned daytime distractions until yes, now I have finished it. Generally, I go for mystery lite. This is deep, complex, twisted, engaging and impossible to guess what intrigue is just around the corner.

(Nevada Barr ups the amps and pushes me out of my comfort zone but after reading all but her last book, I cannot not read what will happen next. So, it is with Elizabeth Geor...more
Andrea
Back to Elizabeth George a wonderful writer even if I do have to keep a dictionary at my side. This American writer from Orange County, CA. bases her novels on mysteries in an about the British Isles and Dectective Inspector Thomas Lynley, a.k.a. 8th Earl of Asherton . This is not an author for those intimidated by words of seven or more letters.

"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...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
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 detectiv...more
Joanne
This Inspector Linley series novel starts off a very slow, and at times, seems endless, but it is worth finishing. Tabloid editor Dennis Luxford receives a post instructing him to acknowledge his first-born, whom has been kidnapped. If not, she will be killed. But she is the daughter of Even Bowen, member of Parliment and junior primte minister. Eve refuses to acquiesce, and 10 year old Lottie's body is found in Wiltshire, about 90 minutes from where she was taken.

Inspector Thomas Linley is put...more
Jim
My wife knows that I enjoy British detective mysteries and recommended this one to me. I am glad that she did! The plot is innovative and complex, with a wide range of believable characters and detailed descriptions of all phases of the investigation. It gives particular insight into two unwholesome professions, politics and tabloid journalism and the people who choose them as careers. I have never before seen a ransom demand like the one proposed here. Most importantly, this book does what a go...more
Jamie
Another good contemporary British murder mystery from Elizabeth George. This time around we get child abductions and blackmail, a cold-hearted Tory MP who's more worried about her career than her missing child, and a Labour party tabloid publisher who's worried that his (8-yr-old) son isn't manly enough.

The author still cheats by giving you the point of view of the murderer, making him or her seem innocent, but otherwise the mystery was very well done.

We have more baby drama from the St. James's...more
Merry
Once again, Elizabeth George does it! She has written a great murder mystery that keeps you guessing (at least, I was) to almost the very end. I also liked it because Sargeant Barbara Havers played a key role, and she's always a favorite of mine.

The two main characters, the parents of a child who has been kidnapped, are so despicable you love to hate them. The mother, a Tory politician, is so caught up in her own self-worth, that she won't give in to the kidnapper's demands so as not to ruin he...more
Raymond
In the Presence of the Enemy deserves a least another half star. One of the pleasures of this book is that Simon St. James, childhood friend and forensic scientist, his wife Deborah and Lady Helen Clyde have about half of the of the story to themselves.

The plot moves well, and even if you think you know who did it about three quarters through the book, the writing compels you to go on to the end.

Another enjoyable feature of the book is that Havers gets to head her own arm of the investigation....more
RJ
A cracking second half of the book makes up a bit for a slow moving first 250 pages. The characters of Simon, Helen and Deborah tend to put me to sleep, and they are prominent early on. When Lynley and Havers appear and the investigation proceeds the author hits her stride.

The character of Eve Bowen seems too harsh and is hard to buy into. The depiction of the tabloid newspaper rings true. George describes the pastoral canal area of Wiltshire beautifully, and I've never been to England let alone...more
Mary Helene
Nov 19, 2011 Mary Helene rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary Helene by: Whatcom Reads
Shelves: mysteries
This is the Whatcom Reads choice for this year - the whole county reading one book. I was thrilled to have a woman author and a mystery chosen for this year, but I was disappointed in the text itself. The characters obviously have histories I know nothing about. The premise seems unlikely to me on several counts - would the public really care that much about who fathered your ten year old child? The killer himself - it all seems a little over the top. What I did like: an indictment (subtle thoug...more
Kerri
I was disappointed in this particular book in the Lynley series. I thought the beginning was highly improbable and probably illegal. After Inspector Lynley got involved the pace picked up and I started to enjoy the book more until the storyline with Sgt Havers. I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot after all the care the author has taken to develop her character to put her in this situation. Overall the writing was good and I enjoyed the book as I have all the others but this has definitely bee...more
Sandy
This is one of my favorite books in the Inspector Lynley series. As usual, I could not identify the criminal until the end of the book - there's always a surprise twist! Sergeant Havers took the lead for much of the book and she's probably my favorite character. I like the core of characters in the series and that George alternates the lead between different ones of them. A "hard to put down" book.
Indira
Elizabeth George crafts intricate plots involving human relations at their darkest and most intimate. My head is still spinning from this last one. In the final pages, I couldn't put it down. Be prepared for the long haul when you open one of her books. I never did see the complete PBS series featuring Tommy Lynley & his cohorts.
Chris
Improbable, impossible and too many stereotypes for my taste. I am certain the following books will be better as I love this author, these characters, and especially the woman who suggested this series to me.
Bob Fowler
This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth George and I was impressed on how she creates suspense. But this comes at the cost of what I find is drawing out scenes in more detail than my patience allows. I suppose it could be called a "literary style" because I would agree that she is an excellent writer. But at time it was too much and I skipped ahead of some passages. For example, when a police Detective Inspector cheecks in to a country bed-and-breakfast to begin an investigation, George...more
Lyn
She's a master, Elizabeth George. Reading her book on craft, Write Away, helps me understand how she makes the magic happen, but, it's still magic. She invests so much in every character that you wonder if each person has the possibility of being the perpetrator. (The exceptions in this book are the two children who are the victims of the kidnappings.) I wanted to pin the murder on two particular characters off and on throughout the story, which is one sign of her mastery; she manages to probe e...more
Toni Osborne
Book 8 in the Inspector Lynley series

Ms George knows how to sustain her readers’ attention in tales that are not only suspenseful but finely crafted and delightfully intricate. With “In the Presence of the Enemy” she once more proves that she is one of the best classic British mystery novelist today.

The story opens with the kidnapping of young Charlotte Bowen. The kidnapper(s) demand her father, publisher Dennis Luxford to pay an unusual ransom, “ Divulge on the front page of his newspaper tha...more
Denise
The writing is good, the characters are interesting and reasonably believable. The mystery...the puzzle to be put together, held my interest and kept the book a page turner. But...I'm just not a mystery fan and this book did nothing to change that.

I didn't find the killer very interesting. I'm far from an expert on the criminal mind, but the killer seemed to be written as just another sociopath, another failure of brain chemistry or crossed neural circuits, acting out some bizarre sense of justi...more
Kellie
-(#8 of the havers lynley series) Another masterpiece by George. This was about Eve and Dennis. They were together several years ago at a political convention and enjoyed a 10 day sexual romp. Their politics and views were at opposite ends of the spectrum. They weren’t in love. They both filled a need for that short time together. That short time produced a child. Now, several years later, they are brought together after this child is kidnapped and the kidnapper demands Dennis, who is now the ed...more
Cindy
A gift from one of my best friends, this book became my introduction to yet another favorite mystery series. It was apparent that this book was not the first of the series; however, it was thoroughly readable on its own. I enjoyed the class conflict in the relationship of Thomas Lynley, the lord and Scotland Yard inspector, and his partner Barbara Havers, the most common of commoners and a mere detective——this being perhaps the first British mystery series that interested me since the Agatha Chr...more
Kathy Davie
Eighth in the Inspector Lynley mystery series set in contemporary London.

The Story
What an assortment of characters we have here. There's the cold-hearted politician who should never have had children. The idiot mother seeking to put a gloss on her youth. The oversexed male seeking confidence any way he can. All wrapped up in the reasons why we need policemen in our lives asking them for miracles while requiring them to make the necessary coldhearted decisions.

In the Presence of the Enemy is aptl...more
Marilyn
This 8th book in the George's series on Inspector Thomas Lynley was chosen by my book group to read because it is the Whatcom Reads choice for 2012 meaning that people all over the county are reading it. Elizabeth George made the choice of book to read, and she will be at several events to discuss the novel. I have no idea why she chose a book that is in the middle of her series. Many have read it and found it difficult to get into. I loved it, but then I have a) read it before and b) know her c...more
Pat
This was my first George, and I loved it! I'd read reviews that said her chracter portraits were right up there with PD James--one of my favorites--and i agree.
Wow--there were as many red herrings thoughout as anchovies on a pizza. It really kept me sucked inot reading it just to find out what the hell was going to happen NOW? The ending was a real shocker; the whole plot was positively Shakespearean in its tragedies, misunderstandings and utter waste.
I liked the many, many subplots and relation...more
Diane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Severson
As an avid mystery reader, I'd never really heard of Elizabeth George but I was told she was good so I picked her up. I can't say for sure if she will be my perfect replacement for P.D. James (who is so completely formulaic that I can basically pick out the murderer even if I have no idea what the motive or means) and Ruth Rendell (who drives me batty) or not.

I liked this book with one big fat exception: the characters all seemed pretty dim-witted. Not always. But there were these hugely obviou...more
Jeni
Really, really enjoy this series! Ms. George does not disappoint in this latest installment. Good mystery - surprise killer. I wish things had worked out better for Havers, however. I was so hoping she'd meet someone! But oh, well.

Additionally, I like it when an author uses words with which I am unfamiliar, and this author does it in every book. Some of my unfamiliarity is because it is British, and sometimes it's just a "big" word I've never heard before. This time, I feel she overdid it a bit....more
Patricia
I loved it! The book had an unexpected and exceptional ending which made reading the entire book worthwhile. The development of the plot was very intriguing, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sergeant Barbara Havers handling her separate assignment. She had some interesting interaction with her male subordinates and proved how good she was not only as a cop but as a person with admirable qualities. In the meantime, Inspector Lynley had his own muddled personal relationships both on and off the j...more
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Elizabeth George's novels 1 17 Nov 05, 2008 05:54PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels, featuring her character Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

She was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to the S...more
More about Elizabeth George...
A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1) Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3) This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley, #16) Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2) Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley, #15)

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