Elizabeth George - In the Presence of the Enemy
Bantam pbk £5.99
A ten year old girl, Charlotte, has been kidnapped. Her mother ,Eve Bowen, is Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, dedicated to her career as a successful politician in the Conservative Party. Her father is Dennis Luxford, the editor of a popular left-wing tabloid, a fact which has been a closely guarded secret since the brief affair which led to Charlottes birth. He is now married with a young son. The kidnappers ransom is not money but the acknowledgement, by Luxford, of his first-born child in an article on the front page of his newspaper.
In the present climate yet another scandal involving a Conservative MP would be a disaster and Eve refuses to bring in the police, believing that the kidnapping is merely a ruse by Luxford to bring further discredit to the Conservative Party. Her own career and reputation are at stake.
This is the situation at the start of the book. From there the story moves into a complex and skilfully developed plot which holds the attention from start to finish. Complex, with many twists and turns, and with a large cast of varied and credible characters, but a plot where you always remember where you are and whos who. The setting is at first in the heart of London and then in the countryside and villages of Wiltshire. We are in the world of politics, journalism, New Scotland Yard and police procedure and also the investigations of a PI and his assistant.
Elizabeth George is an expert at telling a story. The kidnapping of the little girl makes harrowing reading, with a dark and fearful atmosphere over the events which take place and constant suspense about who is responsible and what the outcome will be. The twists and turns in the plot keep you guessing to the end. "In the Presence of the Enemy" is a clever, faultlessly worked out whodunnit and a riveting read.
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