The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

October 29, 2012

Phyllis Seesengood: Latest Lynley story long, complicated

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sir Thomas Lynley is back in the 17th installment of the Inspector Lynley series, in “Believing the Lie” by Elizabeth George.

The chief of Scotland Yard calls upon Inspector Lynley to investigate a special case. His assignment is to work undercover in the investigation of the death of Ian Cresswell, of Cumbria, a lake district on the border of Scotland and England.

Despite the coroner’s ruling that Ian died of an accidental drowning, Ian’s uncle, powerful business magnate Bernard Fairclough, believes the death bears further examination. Ian had been keeping the books for the family firm and had been the most likely candidate to take over the company’s operation.

Still grieving over the death of his murdered wife, Lynley is relieved to get away from London and his complex affair with new superintendent Isabelle Ardery. He calls upon Simon and Deborah St. James to aid him in the investigation. His partner, Barbara Havers, will be staying in London doing undercover work for Lynley as she tries to stay out of the way of Ardery.

If a murder has been committed, the suspect list is long. Ian’s wife, Niamh, was incensed after Ian told her he was homosexual and was leaving her to live with another man, Kaveh Mehran. On the night that he died, Ian pressured Kaveh to make their union legal, but Kaveh resisted, so he is also a suspect.

Niamh had sent her and Ian’s children, Tim and Gracie, to live with Ian and his partner, since she didn’t want the children hampering her lifestyle. Tim is an extremely troubled teenager who attends a special school. He certainly had a motive for killing his father, since Ian had devastated their family unit.

Bernard Fairclough and his wife, Vivian, have three children. Their twins, Mignon and Manette, dislike each other intensely. Mignon has lived on the estate feigning injuries so her parents would support her. Manette is the more likable of the twins and cares deeply about what is happening with her young cousins, Tim and Gracie.

The Fairclough’s youngest son, Nicholas, is the black sheep of the family. He had been the logical choice to take over the company, but was overlooked because of his prior misdeeds.

For several years, Nicholas has been in and out of rehab for recurring drug use. He is now drug-free with a beautiful new wife, Alatea. Nicholas currently works on rebuilding a tower as a rehabilitation project for recovering addicts.

In order to discover what secrets Nicholas and Alatea may be hiding, Deborah St. James poses as a filmmaker working on a documentary about Nicholas’s project. Zed Benjamin, a tabloid reporter who desperately wants a front-page story, follows Deborah and puts pressure on her to form a dangerous alliance.

In the meantime, Deborah begins to feel a special kinship with Alatea that will put both women at risk when she suspects that Alatea is desperate to have a baby, and may even be going the surrogate route.

Lynley finds that nearly everyone had a motive for murder in the highly dysfunctional Fairclough family. However, as his investigation continues and secrets come out, he begins to wonder if a murder was even committed. Instead, he wonders, does everyone just believe a lie? Havers provides him many of the answers from her undercover work in London.

“Believing the Lie” is a long -- more than 600 pages -- and complicated mystery with many fascinating subplots. The countless twists and turns keep you guessing, and the numerous characters are fully developed.

It is a solid, fast-paced read by an accomplished author. Who would guess that Elizabeth George is really an American author who writes such incredible British novels?

Davina Porter provides an engaging and entertaining performance for this audiobook. The characters come alive with Porter’s lovely British accent and excellent narration.

Phyllis Seesengood is technical services librarian for the Joplin Public Library.

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