Believing the Lie
By Elizabeth George
Calling all fans of Elizabeth George Mysteries, at least the fans who have forgiven Miss George for killing off Lynley’s wife and unborn child two books in the past.
The detective inspector is far from over the loss of his wife, but he is back in the detecting game in this vintage Elizabeth George. It would be best if readers took a week off to read this whopping 608-page book which covers far more than the murder of Ian Cresswell, nephew of Lord Fairclough, he who made his money in biffys. (The “Fairloo” a superior style of toilet is behind the family fortune.)
It is Bernard Fairclough’s who brings Inspector Lynley to the Lake District to poke around through family affairs. It’s all very hush hush and even Lynley’s boss is not to know where he is and what he’s up to.
Lynley’s assistant, Detective Sergeant Havers, does a certain amount of digging, but she’s been ordered by her boss, to get her teeth capped and a new hairstyle. The Havers make over has begun under the guidance of Hadiyyah, the little girl next door and her mother, who has returned from Canada, or wherever she’s been.
Since the investigation is difficult and complicated, Lynley brings in Simon St James and his wife Deborah.
As usual, Elizabeth George has a large cast of characters. There is Zed Benjamin, a poet presently working for a yellow rag known as The Source, dealing in sensational stories, mostly untrue. Zed can find no smutty story of the type his editor wants, among the Faircloughs and his six-foot, five-inch frame and bright red hair, makes undercover surveillance difficult.
Nicholas Fairclough is Lord Fairclough’s son and (one would think) heir, but he wasted his youth and has not yet regained his fathers approval. His wife, Altea, is a stunningly beautiful woman, who, so far, has not produced a grandchild.
Before he died, Ian Cresswell had found a new love. His wife Niamh moved out and left Tim, 14 and Gracie 10, with their dad. They are two very troubled children, but Tim is like a bomb waiting to explode.
The Fairclough daughters are Minon and Manette. Minon is handicapped, supported financially by the family and spends her days on the Internet. Manette and Freddie have stopped being husband and wife and have decided to live together as, “very good friends.”
The title, Believing the Lie, refers to almost everyone in the story. This family Fairclough is full of secrets and lies, some of them generations old, which Lynley and “friends” must excavate. Of course, Lynley, St James and Deborah, all carry their own baggage, and in true Elizabeth George style, their judgement is clouded by needs unspoken and unexamined.
Add to all of this the locale of Morecambe Bay with its rip tides, quicksand and fog and you’ll be getting all and more of what you expect from this very accomplished writer.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.