Tangled Web UK Review February 2012
Believing the Lie (Inspector Lynley Mysteries 17) by
hbk out January 12
Published by Hodder
Zedekiah (Zed) Benjamin, poet, Financial Times columnist manqué, is a journalist
working for the red-top newspaper The Source - and he's onto a story. He thinks.
He hopes. But really, whatever is a nice Jewish boy doing in the opening chapter
of an Elizabeth George novel? Surely his mother wouldn't approve? Well, he's in
a train heading for Cumbria, partly at his editor's behest to spice up the story
he's just filed, but mainly to escape the matchmaking machinations of his aforementioned
and very stereotypical mother.
Meanwhile, Inspector Thomas Lynley has also been dispatched to Cumbria - could
these two trips possibly be connected? They sure could. While Lynley has been
asked to investigate the seemingly accidental death of one man, Jed's story is
about that man's cousin, a recovering drug addict whose philanthropic work must
(according to Jed's editor) mask a worthwhile scandal of some kind.
The two men belong to a family who make the Simpsons look like the March family.
As well as the recovering addict, there is one supposedly disabled daughter exercising
emotional blackmail like you've never seen before, and another daughter still
living with the husband she has divorced. Oh, and the dead cousin had left his
wife and children to live with a young man. The abandoned wife is a very nasty
piece of work, and their young teenage son is a badly damaged child.
Lynley draws around himself the usual support team of Simon and Deborah St. James,
and his redoubtable Sergeant Havers. (Havers, by the way, has been told by Superintendent
Isabelle Ardery to improve her appearance. Ardery, by the way, is currently Lynley's
lover. Well, you didn't expect this novel to get any less complicated, did you?).
Deborah poses as a photojournalist, scoping out an article on Nicholas and his
project, and runs into Jed who, primed by his editor, knows that a Scotland Yard
detective has been sent up to Cumbria and assumes that it is she. The situation
narrowly avoids farce, perhaps deliberately so. But less amusing, tragic in fact,
is the chiming of Deborah's longing for a child with Nicholas' wife's similar
There's a lot going on here, not all of it credible, but George's fans (and they
are legion) will forgive all that and settle down to a good hefty read.
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