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Deception on His Mind [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth George
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 6 1998
Balford-le-Nez is a dying seatown on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town's small but growing Asian community, is found dead on its beach, his neck broken, sleepy Balford-le-Nez ignites. Working solo, without her long-time partner Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, Sergeant Barbara Havers must probe not only the mind of a murderer and a case very close to her own heart, but the terrible price people pay for deceiving others...and themselves.

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In Deception on His Mind Sergeant Barbara Havers places herself at the center of an investigation in Essex concerning the mysterious death of a recently arrived immigrant from Pakistan. Although still recovering from the broken ribs and nose (received at the end of In the Presence of the Enemy), Havers convinces herself that she needs to stay on the job in order to help her neighbor Taymullah Azhar and his elfin daughter Hadiyyah who have a familial connection to the dead man. As is typical with Elizabeth George's novels (this is the 10th in a popular and powerful series), the murder and its investigation are the central feature of the story. But in this case they are also the means by which she explores the Pakistani experience in a foreign and not always friendly culture. As Havers herself notes, the food may well have improved in Britain with an increasingly diverse population, but that same population has "engendered a score of polyglot problems." Whether or not the dead man is a victim of a racially motivated crime is only one of the questions Havers tries to sort out. The result, with George's typically complex characterizations and deft plot turns, is a deeply satisfying novel. Fans of Havers's superior officer, Thomas Lynley, and his lady love Helen Clyde will be disappointed as the two are off on their honeymoon. But with Lynley out of the picture, Havers, with her prickly personality, caustic tongue, and sound investigative skills, comes well and truly into her own. Nitpickers might question one aspect of the final denouement--motive and opportunity are securely in place but the means are on the outskirts of unbelievable. Still, the book is a rich and enjoyable one that continues to tickle the imagination well after it has been shelved amidst other favorites. --K.A. Crouch

From School Library Journal

YA?Detective Barbara Havers is now on her own. Her partner, the glamorous Lord Lynley, and the even more glamorous Lady Helen are off on their honeymoon and the decidedly less-than-glamorous Havers is to recuperate from extensive wounds suffered in their previous case. She declines an invitation by her neighbor and good friend, eight-year-old Hadiyyah, to join her and her somewhat remote professorial father on a trip to the seaside. Somewhat to her chagrin, however, Havers finds herself worrying about the ostensibly naive father as she hears disturbing news of murder and racial unrest in the same coastal town. She goes to Balford only to land in the middle of a tangled web woven around the murder of the fiance of the young daughter of a wealthy Pakistani business man. The plot is well developed, the red herrings many and varied, and the social commentary on the racial unease in England is well handled. Havers emerges as a more sympathetic character here, and readers get the feeling she is beginning to "get a life." YAs will enjoy the engrossing mystery with deft characterizations.?Susan H. Woodcock, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic as Always July 31 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book because I have always wanted to see more of the Havers character and this book is entirely devoted to her. Her neighbor, Azhar, and his daughter go to a seaside town in Essex to help out some family members. Barbara, being on medical vacation from the beating she received at the end of the last book, goes there to help out, thinking that Azhar will be out of his depth dealing with a criminal investigation.
I was surprised at some of the things that she missed during her investigation particularly something with regards to her acting superior officer. The best part of the book for me was the personal interaction betwen Havers and Azhar. I am glad to see her get a personal life other than dealing with her parents' problems.
The ending has a major twist and, having already bought the next book in the series, I did something I have never done before and peeked at the beginning to see what the ramifications of that twist would be....so, I guess I will be "forced" to read on...
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best. Feb. 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Elizabeth George's books and this one stands out as the best. She is a very good mystery writer. I love her books because it takes me so long to read them. I can usally devour a book in a day or two but these books always take me at least a week and a half or so.
Her writing style is similar to Anne Rice's in that it is very descriptive and minute. She can take one moment in time and make it last 3 or 4 pages. Some people don't like this sort of writing, calling it flowery and over descriptive but I love detailed character studies of people that show their motivations, thoughts, feelings, etc... leading up to the showdown moment fraught with tension when Lynley and Havers almost always foil the bad(?) guys. The only thing is, by the time you read all this about these characters, there are no black and white, bad or good, just human beings trying to get through their lives.
If you want a GOOD long mystery that slowly and surely draws you into peoples lives, then pick up any of Ms. George's novels.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Does Bantam need editors?? Feb. 8 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cause I'm available.
How the heck could ANYONE let this book go on for so long... I'm all for a good long mystery but then the minutia of everybody's thoughts is expounded on endlessly and nothing seems to get plot moving, it's time to get the scissors!
I found the mystery interesting enough (I managed to slog through the 713 pages only by skipping huge lumps of text) but on the whole, I found it too full of repetitive chatter. Now, the thought of reading another Elizabeth George seems too much like work.
So much in this book was extraneous, incidental and ultimately unsatisfying, that I'm led to believe this is more about the author than the reader. Seems to be more about the successful writer who can't/won't be cut, but good grief, someone has to be the voice of reason and insist on tightening these endless ramblings.
I couldn't recommmend George to anyone, unless it was a person who rated mysteries by the pound. Hell, next time I read 700+ pages of anything, it'll be "War and Peace". At least Tolstoy's characters are compelling and his stories hold together. And it's literature, not lava.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks to God, and Allah too Nov. 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Someone has murdered Mr. Haytham Querashi, a recent Pakistani immigrant, in Balford-le-Nez, a small, economically depressed town on the coast of Essex, England. Mr. Querashi was to soon wed the beautiful Sahlah, daughter of Akram Malik. In the Pakistani tradition, the parents of the bride and groom had arranged the marriage. As part of the deal, Mr. Querashi had become Production Manager in Mr. Malik's mustard factory where he displaced the last non-Pakistani, full-time employee.
Just a few weeks ago Mr. Malik became the first Pakistani on the Town Council when his formidable adversary, the aging Agatha Shaw, was forced to resign due to a stroke. Despite her condition and Malik's appointment, Mrs. Shaw, with the help of her grandson Theo, is determined to obtain the Council's approval for her project. She is resolute in the renovation and development of the pleasure pier to attract tourists, resuscitate the town's economy and thus assure her legacy as savior of the community.
Querashi's death is threatening to ignite smoldering racial tensions, however. The Asian's in general and Malik's son in particular suspect the murder was racially motivated and expect the police will ignore white suspects and blame a Pakistani. Enter Sgt. Barbara Havers, who is conveniently vacationing in the town, to mediate with the Pakistani as police liaison. As the case proceeds, Barbara discovers that nearly all the players have something to hide, including her self. Indeed, the title of this English mystery novel should be "Deception on Their Minds."
Elizabeth George is a master of this genre.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Disappointing Resolution Yet Again Nov. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elizabeth George creates fascinating, believable characters. Her treatment of the "Pakistani Question" in Britain is thorough and unbiased. For instance: one of the main characters, Sahlah, is a young Pakistani woman who, though raised in England, realizes that she can never be as "free" as an English girl, and this is presented in a very believable manner.
The story revolves around the murder of her fiance, and how this could potentially be a racial fire-keg in the small town where the murder occurs. During the course of the investigation, the lives of countless characters are examined, and the reader is drawn into caring about many of them (especially Rachel, the girl with the deformed face.)
Unfortunately, the same thing happened with this book that happened with the last three E. George books that I've read. Suddenly I see that I only have 20-30 pages left, and I think, "how can she possibly resolve all of the issues that she's raised?" And, of course, she doesn't. This reader was left with a VERY unsatisfied feeling. Hey, Elizabeth, what about Rachel and her new flat? What about the baby? Where is Muhammed? What will happen to Yumn? You have left far too much for the reader to figure out for himself. Murder mysteries should not be like the lady and the tiger!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this Series
Book 9 in the Inspector Lynley series

Elizabeth George plunges us once again into a gripping and twisted "Whodunit" plot based in Balford-le-Nez, a dying fictional sea... Read more
Published on Dec 11 2010 by Toni Osborne
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long by half
I really love the Inspector Lynley series of books but this one went on too long. And I missed Lynley not being in it.
Published on Feb. 3 2009 by voraciousreader
2.0 out of 5 stars pare it down, please!
I would have given this book a rating of 1 out of 5, except that the plot was interesting. This is the third Elizabeth George book I have read, but I couldn't get through this one. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a Wonderful Book!
At first I didn't think that I'd like this book as much as the others in the series because there seemed to be so much about racism and I didn't think I'd get past that. But Ms. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2003 by S. Schwartz
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprised at all the positive reviews for this novel
I bought this novel as "holiday reading," and, having nothing else, read it to the end. I was disappointed, however. It's not on a par with George's other novels. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully deceptive web woven around us. For Havers fans.
~~~~~ If this review form allowed it:
I'd choose to give this book * * * 6 * * * stars!
*~
This installment in the Thomas Lynley/Barbara Havers is a must for... Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2002 by "lynkfri13"
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
This novel is one of the best in the entire series (seond only to "A Traitor To Memory", which is my favourite.)
Lynley is gone from the plot, and i did not miss him at all!!! Read more
Published on July 2 2002 by RachelWalker
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended by one of the best
In case you are still in doubt about whether to buy this book, consider this - Stephen King wrote a book about his craft called On Writing. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2001 by Laura James
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