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In the Presence of the Enemy

(Inspector Lynley #8)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  10,858 ratings  ·  466 reviews
Hailed as the "king of sleaze," tabloid editor Dennis Luxford is used to ferreting out the sins and scandals of people in exposed positions. But when he opens an innocuous-looking letter addressed to him at The Source, he discovers that someone else excels at ferreting out secrets as well.

Ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen has been abducted, and if Luxford does not admit publicl
Paperback, 656 pages
Published May 5th 1997 by Bantam Books (first published 1996)
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Ilja Slingerland no, this is part 8 and this series has at least 19 books

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  10,858 ratings  ·  466 reviews

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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
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
Overall I quite enjoyed this book. I am a great lover of 'whodunnits' but had never read one of Elizabeth George's Lynley mysteries. I have seen the tv show on many occasions so already had visions in my mind of the 2 main characters, and they haven't changed as the TV show is seems quite true to the books (?).
The reason it took so long to read was not that I couldn't get into it, but was in fact due to a Summer of sport on TV (sorry). I love the Olympics and am a great follower of the Tour de F
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
UPDATE 2/5/19 ... I'm re-reading this ... I always learn something from the way Elizabeth George structures her novels


A great series. It's really incredible how a woman from California can write so convincingly about Scotland Yard and England. She explains how in the excellent writer's book Write Away.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"People didn't really change. They merely dropped their personae when they considered it safe to do so, or when trying circumstances forced their exterior shells to shatter like childhood's more cherished beliefs."

Now that is how you write a police procedural! I'd forgotten how much I loved Lynley and Havers, and their creator, Elizabeth George. My only gripe has been that her books keep getting longer and longer, which isn't always a bad thing when the buildup doesn't flatline midway throug
Not too much to say except how much I loved this one. George focuses not on Lynley in this one, but also Havers for a good portion. We have a shocking crime and a reveal that I didn't see coming. There is some poor Deborah stuff going on, but it's not all encompassing like it has been in the last few books.

"In the Presence of the Enemy" follows a tabloid journalist (Dennis Luxford) who is told that unless he prints the truth about his first born on the front page of his newspaper, then he is goi
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: england, natania, 2010

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
George, Elizabeth - 8th Insp. Lynley

When a young girl disappears from the streets of London without a trace, her mother, a well-respected MP, is convinced she knows the identity of the kidnapper--the child's father. But Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers soon learn that nothing in this investigation is what it appears to be, and that in betrayal and deception, lies death.

It should have been tight, suspenseful and involving and it just w
aPriL does feral sometimes
Poor little Charlotte Bowen. She's 10 years old, but her mother, Eve Bowen, Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, is a narcissistic conservative politician who always thinks 'it's all about her.' Charlotte is kidnapped, but despite all of the evidence mommy dearest thinks her one-week ex-fling, Dennis Luxford, the far left newspaper The Source editor-in-chief, is pulling a con of some type.

When they met eleven years ago, both were newspaper reporters. Now, they each married other people
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Diana Donnelly
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the 8th book I've read by Elizabeth George. To date all of her books have been lengthy as was this one with 621 pages, but I find I'm captivated with her stories and don't mind their length. Since this book revolves around the same characters, I have become interested in their personal lives as well as the lives of those connected to them. This particular mystery was exceptional. You had your suspicions who the guilty party was but were never totally convinced. The ending was a total sur ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I discovered Elizabeth George—I think it was the mid 1990s, and I devoured them. She is such a great writer. Somehow I missed some titles so I’m going back to read them. It’s true that her books are long, but they hold my interest. I would call her a literary author in the vein of P.D. James. If a person hasn’t read her earlier books, they will miss the nuances between continuing characters, but the mystery will still be understandable.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
May 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Todd Miles
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-book
This is my favorite of the series so far.
Kathy Davie
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, homey
Eighth in the Inspector Lynley detective mystery series revolving around Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers.

My Take
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
Oct 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
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
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Part One was excruciatingly tedious, and I was seriously considering returning the book to Amazon and asking for my money back. Fortunately Part Two read like it was written by a different person. I enjoyed Havers’ solo exploits and the falling out among the toffs. Unforeseen plot twists and a satisfying ending saved this one for me.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As brilliant as when I read it for the first time,ages ago.
Susan Liston
A pretty good one. I like that the series has more meat on its bones then just the mystery. (This had the added bonus of Lynley being mean to Deborah. I can't stand Deborah!) ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the Presence of the Enemy is book 8 in the Lynley series. I will admit to having read some of this series out of order so I have some foreknowledge of what happens to some of the characters. This book involves the kidnapping of children and a murder of one of them. The mother and to some extent the father involved are thoroughly unlikable and I would say criminal in their callous disregard for the daughter’s safety. Rather tragic story all the way through. This was not my favorite in the seri ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve been wondering why Elizabeth George’s books are so long. At times they seem to drag.
I mean.... REALLY drag.
But it’s for a purpose.
Character building.
You really get to know the regulars as well as the suspects.
I have never gotten it right with these books.
And this one really threw me.
The funny thing is that I looked way back in my reading journal... and I have read this series before about ten years ago.
And I STILL can’t guess who-done-it.
She must be doing something right.
Jane Giardino
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read. These books are LONG; I confess I peeked at the final pages to learn whodunit but still read and enjoyed the details, the cast of characters, the suspense. I spent a lot of time reading when I had other things that needed doing. Very literate, subtle.
C.J. Prince
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Paula Dembeck
In the eighth addition to this ongoing series, a new case takes Inspector Lynley and Sergent Havers from London to the rural countryside around Wiltshire. The case focuses on two well known personalities: Dennis Luxford, the Editor of the salacious newspaper rag “The Source” and Eve Bowen a power hungry, up and coming MP who is Undersecretary of State for the Home Office of the Conservative Party, one of their most powerful Junior Ministers. The problem all stems from a rollicking week of steamy ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, thriller
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 Collins
Sep 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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.
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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

Other books in the series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1)
  • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, #4)
  • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)
  • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, #6)
  • Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, #7)
  • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)
  • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, #10)
  • A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)

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