Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he's sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man's uncle, the wealthy and influential Bernard Fairclough. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But when Lynley enlists the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James, the trio's digging soon reveals that the Fairclough clan is awash in secrets, lies, and motives.
Deborah's investigation of the prime suspect-Bernard's prodigal son Nicholas, a recovering drug addict-leads her to Nicholas's wife, a woman with whom she feels a kinship, a woman as fiercely protective as she is beautiful. Lynley and Simon delve for information from the rest of the family, including the victim's bitter ex-wife and the man he left her for, and Bernard himself. As the investigation escalates, the Fairclough family's veneer cracks, with deception and self-delusion threatening to destroy everyone from the Fairclough patriarch to Tim, the troubled son Ian left behind.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)