Mar 04, 12
Read in February, 2012
** spoiler alert **
In the Presence of the Enemy is an older Elizabeth George book. The plot centers around the kidnapping of two children and the death of one. George handles these plot elements deftly, but leaves the reader horror-stricken when we find that a child we have come to know well will not survive. In fact, this is one of the few times I can say reading a book has left me breathless, not in awe, but in sadness at the fate of the child.
George is always good with characters development, as her main characters, Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, are definitely flawed. The flaws of the supporting characters in this novel would never have come to light if it hadn't been for the kidnapping the secret it threatens to reveal. Dennis Luxford, the well-paid editor of a tabloid newspaper that makes it money by uncovering shameful secrets of highly-placed politicians and celebrities, has to make choices about the kidnapping that leave him devastated. Worse, the character of the woman with whom he was involved years before, politician Eve Bowen, is peeled to show her in all her ambitious, selfish glory.
As characters face unresolvable quandries, Havers puts herself in harm's way in order to avoid yet another death. George adds a surprising, but satisfying twist to the end of this novel. It wasn't until I got to the last chapter or so that I remembered I'd seen an adaption of this novel on Masterpiece Theater a few years ago. That didn't take away from the enjoyment of the story.