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Lord Bernard Fairclough, a wealthy industrialist, asks Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley to secretly delve into the accidental death of his gay nephew, Ian Cresswell, in bestseller George's less than satisfying 17th novel featuring the Scotland Yard policeman (after 2010's This Body of Death). Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers and other series regulars help Lynley try to unspool a tangled web of drug addiction and recovery, gay marriage, extramarital affairs, egg donation, and online sexual predators. As usual in George's work, the process of detection reveals more about those doing the detecting than the mystery itself. Some of the subplots-such as Havers's attempts to spruce up her appearance-lead to dead ends. Zed Benjamin, a bumbling rookie journalist, offers some farcical moments to lighten up the general gloom. Statements of the obvious ("Deborah hated being at odds with her husband") and platitudes for unbearably painful situations will annoy some, while others will see the denouement from a mile off. Agent: Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Because Inspector Thomas Lynley (This Body of Death) is romantically involved with his new boss, acting Det. Supt. Isabelle Ardery, she is doubly miffed when Lynley accepts an assignment from a superior officer that he must keep secret, even from her. The case involves the discreet investigation into the drowning death of Ian Cresswell, a member of the rich, dysfunctional family of Lord Bernard Fairclough. Lynley recruits his old friends Simon and Deborah St. James to accompany him to Cumbria to assist with the case. The couple, in the middle of an adoption crisis, are glad to help. Meanwhile, Lynley's old sidekick, the inimitable Barbara Havers, attempts to juggle a beauty makeover mandated by the stern Ardery with a covert probe on Lynley's behalf. Verdict The whodunit element peters out at the end, and the story, as is typical for George, is quite melodramatic. George's many fans, however, will be thrilled with this new episode in the lives of her lovable cast of characters. Strongly recommended for readers of British procedurals. [See Prepub Alert, 7/25/11.]-Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.