Eric_W's Reviews > Deception on His Mind

Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth  George
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's review
Nov 30, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: mysteries-and-thrillers

** spoiler alert ** Elizabeth George has to be one of the best mystery writers practicing today, and ironically, as an American writing about British settings and characters. Sgt. Barbara Havers plays a dominant role in this book that rivals Ruth Rendell’s Simissola in its treatment of racial issues. Barbara is convalescing from a particularly severe beating when she learns that her neighbor Taymullah Azar, a Pakistani university professor, and his daughter have left for Balfordle- Nez to assist with a family matter related to the murder of a fellow Pakistani who was to be married to Sahlah, daughter of his cousin Muhammad Malik. The Maliks are wealthy owners of a famous mustard factory. Afraid that Taymullah will be in over his head with the local constabulary and racial tensions in the town, Barbara decides to follow along and volunteer her services in the investigation. The local DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) is Emily Barlow, a friend of Barbara’s, and soon Barbara and Azar are swept into competing roles as they are drafted to act as spokesmen for their respective groups. Muhammad is convinced the police will cover up any Anglo killer and try to pin the murder on a local Pakistani. The dreaded “Pakis” are hated by most of the local community, and by the local DCI, as Barbara soon realizes to her dismay. George does a great job of building suspense, dealing up a host of possible suspects, and the book simmers with racial unrest. George shows racial perspectives from all sides and the cultural differences leading to assorted suspicions are nicely portrayed. I listened to this book on tape on assorted weekends. It’s very ably read by Donada Peters, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite readers, and I must admit to mowing a little more than necessary in order to complete a chapter. The ending regretfully leaves us hanging for George’s next book, In Pursuit of a Proper Sinner to discover what will happen to Barbara following her extraordinary actions in the boat chase at the end of the novel. But I’m already revealing too much. You will not be disappointed.
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