American Elizabeth George first introduced the very-English Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers in A Great Deliverance back in 1988. Shockingly this means they’ve been working together for 25 years, so it’s no wonder they now know each other pretty damned well. (And yes… I do know they’re not real people!)
In her 18th Lynley / Havers novel George picks up where she left off in her 2012 book, Believing the Lie. Thomas is considering a new relationship and Havers is grappling with the kidnapping of her neighbour, nine year old Hadiyyah – seemingly taken by her mother, Angela.
I have to admit, although I’ve read all of George’s Inspector Lynley novels and have long been a fan, I’ve struggled with the more recent ones. I was worried she’d hit her peak back in the early 2000s and was grappling to find new material. In many ways I’d really stopped caring about Thomas and Barbara.
Just One Evil Act felt like a bit of a departure from many of her recent efforts and a return to her old work.
Barbara – always strong-willed and defiant – is far more so as she sets about helping her neighbour Taymullah find his daughter.
Things get complicated when Angela reappears in England after five months to accuse Taymullah of kidnapping Hadiayya from her new home in Italy. Barbara is adamant that her neighbour wouldn’t do such a thing and the English police become involved in the hunt. However Havers soon learns that Taymullah may not be completely blameless; and a subsequent murder makes a convoluted tale even murkier.
And although having been forbidden by her bosses, Havers – not content to let the Italian police and Angela’s wealthy boyfriend control the investigation – decides to take matters into her own hands.
The novel spans a couple of countries and introduces some new faces (Italian Chief Inspector Salvatore Lo Bianco is particularly likeable and I wonder if he’ll pop up again – a spinoff series perhaps?).
I’ve been following Lynley and Havers for over 2o years now and this felt like a return to the characters I know and love. I haven’t been a fan of the introduction of their new boss (Isabelle) – for reasons which will be obvious to regular readers. And I know it’s kinda pathetic, but I’ve kinda missed the “you’ve got a title” banter around Lynley, and like Havers better when she’s really not toeing the line!
Interestingly, events at the end of Just One Evil Act signify another change in direction for our two characters – and one that makes me look forward to George’s next Lynley / Havers instalment.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Group via NetGalley for review purposes.
Are you a Lynley and Havers fan?
Did you ever see the TV series? Must confess, it really didn’t do it for me and I was disappointed that books I loved failed to impress on the small screen!