#1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George offers the latest in her Inspector Lynley series: a gripping child-in-danger story featuring fan favorite Barbara Havers.
Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold.
Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace. The Italian police are investigating, and the Yard won't get involved, until Barbara takes matters into her own hands. As she attempts to navigate the complicated waters of doing anything for the case against her superior's orders, her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, is dispatched to Italy as the liaison between the Italian police and Hadiyyah's distraught parents.
In time, both Barbara and Lynley discover that the case is far more complex than just a kidnapping, revealing secrets about Angelina; her new lover, Lorenzo; and even Azhar - secrets Barbara may not be willing to accept. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most and how far she's willing to go to protect it.
©2013 Elizabeth George (P)2013 Penguin Audio
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Elizabeth George and her Lynley series have kept me entertained for years--and I was really looking forward to this one. It seemed to run off the track a bit from what is typically expected with Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers solving crimes and bailing each other out of all sorts of situations.
This story is mostly based on Barbara's neighbor, Azhar, and his missing daughter, Hadiyyah. She was taken to Italy by her mother, Angelina.
Barbara jumps in with both feet to help him get Hadiyyah back. Ignoring her superiors orders not to get involved (this is nothing new) she seems to lose all sense of reason and concern for her own life and job this time--and Lynley is not a great deal of help.
One source of frustration in the first half of the book are the Italian phrases which are never translated for the reader, even though I could sort of understand what was being said from the rest of the conversation. Still, it was almost enough to make me stop listening--almost. The second half was much better and after all was said and done, an interesting story.
I haven't given up on this series yet--however--if the next novel doesn't return to some of the flavor of the original Lynley novels, it will probably be my last.
I am a fan of Elizabeth George, but the telling of this particular mystery is convoluted and self-conscious. It makes me want to ask the author to reread some of her earlier mysteries. I suspect there will be a follow-up to this involving spiriting her Pakistani friends out of danger in some foreign land, but I hope not. That boat has sailed, and did so a few books ago. I found myself saying aloud: "How can Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley be so stupid and still have 'jobs'?" At least Lynley is getting over the death of his wife (a few books ago), but a roller-derby veterinarian? Really?
Davina Porter is a wonderful reader. She saves this book.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
Elizabeth George has done it again. She's written another multi-layered and engaging Inspector Lynley novel that explores Barbara Havers' relationship with Taymullah Azhar through the kidnapping of his daughter Hadiyyah. While this crime is solved about midway through the book, George is just getting started. This is one of the best Lynley books, and I can't help but suspect it might be due to her new editor. While long, (it weighs in at more than 700 pages) it's more tightly written than some of her recent books. A great read for ths series' readers (and they must be read in order!)
For ardent fans of Elizabeth George, you've no choice but to listen to Just One Evil Act and you will not regret it. The excellent writing is there, as is the intrigue and the continuing saga of Lynley, Havers and the Met. And of course eminently listenable Davina Porter.
If you've never read George before, then listen to ANY of the many many Elizabeth George novels except the last three. Best to start with her first Inspector Lynley mystery, A Great Deliverance.
All that said, Just One Evil Act is indeed a bit of a chaotic mess of plot and characters. Reminiscent of Italy, actually, getting lost at every turn. That well may be her motivation, as much of the story takes place in Tuscany. The characters are thrown in so quickly, with few fleshed out and no one soliciting empathy. Like one's first days in Naples. But after a week, being enthralled with everything, including the clothes on the line.
The second half is more of the Elizabeth George fare her readers expect - that perfect blend of character, engrossing personal drama and gritty UK mystery. And an intriguing peek into the Italian police process. Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley may start out weak, and almost feeble minded, but apparently this particular crime was the catharsis they both needed, as in the end....ok, no spoilers here. For the seasoned Elizabeth George listener, this is another treat.
I absolutely love audiobooks. There is simply nothing like having someone read you an engrossing story; not to mention you can get things done while you listen. I always have one on the go.
If you like this series you will like this book. Just good characters developing as characters do with a familiar plot. Sometimes familiarity is just what you are looking for...in that mood this is the book for you.
How many books were in here? How stupid is Barbara Havers? If you can't stand characters behaving so stupidly that you can't believe they can find their own feet in the morning this book is not for you.
I have read all of the previous Lynley novels. Loved most and liked all.
This one is not for me. If you have little patience for gross stupidity (yes, I know I've already said it but it can't be said enough) then this book isn't for you either. If you like people who screw up and do stupid things - hey, give it a whirl.
I cannot believe that I wasted so many hours of my life on this.
Too many or too few details. Thought I'd missed a chapter at times.
I wouldn't make Havers appear to be so lovelorn and losing perspective.
Davina is always good. She spoke the Italian slowly; otherwise, would've been really lost.
Definitely, we need to know what happened to whom. Some characters must be gone for good.
This is only Elizabeth George book I've been disappointed with.
Engagingly complicated story
Havers viewing the videotape
Best I can do is the horridly overused word "Awesome".
Based on other reviews, I almost passed this one by. Then I saw Ms. George on a show about authors & books (Well Read) and changed my mind. So glad I did. I'm just hoping that the author will soon address the underlying mystery involving the death of Inspector Lynley's wife.
I love Italy and Lucca. Expected to love this book...
Davina Porter DESTROYED the Italian language with one mispronunciation after another. What was she thinking ? To even accept this assignment?!!! And is there no such thing as an "editor" in audible books?!! Shame on Audible and shame on her.
Major reaction was exasperation with the mangled Italian... I was also frustrated with the series of idiotic decisions and acts made by Barbara Havers - and that she got away with them. I truly thought that George was preparing to rid the series of Barbara by having her fired. It is incomprehensible that her bizarre behavior would be tolerated.
I'm pretty sure that Elizabeth George had nothing to do with writing this book... Come to think of it, maybe the last three books ...
Story Character Development
Lynley shows up unexpectedly at Barbara's home.
I was drawn to the Italian detective, much to my surprise.
Elizabeth George goes international.
I thought long and hard before choosing this book because of the reviewers who characterized Barbara as not acting like Barbara. Having finished the book (and I confess that I turned it off only to sleep - sigh!), I wonder whether we read the same novel. Barbara acted exactly like Barbara would in a cruelly intense situation. If a character behaved in a way that was not true to his nature, it was Barbara's neighbor, the professor. I loved this book because of the twists and turns, Isabel's curious choices at the end of the novel, and because I see that there are new paths available to Ms. George as she creates the next novel.
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