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In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth…
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In the Presence of the Enemy (1996)

by Elizabeth George

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lynley/Havers Mysteries (8)

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2,061264,992 (3.83)28
Hailed as the "king of sleaze," tabloid editor Dennis Luxford is used to ferreting out the sins and scandals of people in exposed positions. But when he opens an innocuous-looking letter addressed to him at The Source, he discovers that someone else excels at ferreting out secrets as well. Ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen has been abducted, and if Luxford does not admit publicly to having fathered her, she will die. But Charlotte's existence is Luxford's most fiercely guarded secret, and acknowledging her as his child will throw more than one life and career into chaos. Luxford knows that the story of Charlotte's paternity could make him a laughingstock and reveal to his beautiful wife and son the lie he's lived for a decade. Yet it's not only Luxford's reputation that's on the line: it's also the reputation -- and career -- of Charlotte Bowen's mother. For she is Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, one of the most high-profile Junior Ministers and quite possibly the next Margaret Thatcher. Knowing that her political future hangs in the balance, Eve Bowen refuses to let Luxford damage her career by printing the story or calling the police. So the editor turns to forensic scientist Simon St. James for help. It's a case that fills St. James with disquiet, however, for none of the players in the drama seem to react the way one would expect. Then tragedy occurs and New Scotland Yard becomes involved. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley soon discovers that the case sends tentacles from London into the countryside, and he must simultaneously outfox death as he probes Charlotte Bowen's mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, his partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, working part of the investigation on her own and hoping to make the coup of her career, may be drawing closer to a grim solution -- and to danger -- than anyone knows.… (more)

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» See also 28 mentions

English (21)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
The young daughter of a member of Parliament is found murdered which uncovers many hidden secrets including the father of the young girl who is an editor of a tabloid opposed to the current government. The Barbara Havers and other inspectors once again appear. The ending was a surprise and I felt just a bit weak, but a pretty good read. ( )
  maryreinert | Jun 11, 2019 |
I liked that it was nearly 1/2 way through the book before it dove back into Lynley/Helen angst. George sure is hard on children! Mysteries aren't my favorite genre, but it was a good T read. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
This is the Whatcom Reads choice for this year - the whole county reading one book. I was thrilled to have a woman author and a mystery chosen for this year, but I was disappointed in the text itself. The characters obviously have histories I know nothing about. The premise seems unlikely to me on several counts - would the public really care that much about who fathered your ten year old child? The killer himself - it all seems a little over the top. What I did like: an indictment (subtle though it was) of violence disguised as justice and that it in the end, it was child who triumphed. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
In the Presence of the Enemy. Elizabeth George. 1997. Every time I read one of George’s books I wonder why I waited so long to read it! This is one of the better ones. A child is kidnapped. Both her mother and her father receive letters explaining what has to be done in order to save the child. The child was the result of weekend fling, and the mother has never wanted the father to acknowledge the child as his. The kidnapper wants the father to publish the fact that he is the father on the front page of the newspaper he edits. The father is willing but the mother, a member of Parliament with a position in the Home Office does not want him to publish it or contact the police. St. James is asked by his brother to investigate and Deborah St. James and her friend Helen get involved. Lynley is left out for over a week and is furious when he finds out. One of the best in the series! ( )
  judithrs | Feb 18, 2019 |
The plot moved along quickly making the book hard to put down. Barbara Havers is sent to Wiltshire to work on the kidnapping and murder of the 10-year-old daughter of a Member of Parliament, Evelyn Bowen (Eve) while Inspector Lynley works the case from London. The kidnapping take place in London, but the children are held in an old windmill and in a ruined castle about 80 miles North of London. The title gives a clue as to who is the kidnapper and murderer. ( )
  baughga | Feb 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Georgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Biström, PirkkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maestro, Laura HartmanMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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elizabethgeorgeonline.com- Hailed as the "king of sleaze," tabloid editor Dennis Luxford is used to ferreting out the sins and scandals of people in exposed positions. But when he opens an innocuous-looking letter addressed to him at his tabloid The Source, he discovers that someone else excels at ferreting out secrets as well.

He learns from this letter that ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen has been abducted, and if Luxford does not admit publicly to having fathered her, she will die. But Charlotte's existence is Luxford's most fiercely guarded secret, and acknowledging her as his child will throw more than one life and career into chaos.

Luxford knows that the story of Charlotte's paternity could make him a laughingstock and reveal to his beautiful wife and son the lie he's lived for a decade. Yet it's not only Luxford's reputation that's on the line: It's also the reputation-and career-of Charlotte Bowen's mother. For she is the Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, one of the most high-profile Junior Ministers and quite possibly the next Margaret Thatcher.

Knowing that her political future hangs in the balance, Eve Bowen refuses to let Luxford damage her career by printing the story or by calling the police. So the editor turns to forensic scientist Simon St. James for help. It's a case that fills St. James with disquiet, however, for none of the players in the drama seem to react the way one would expect, considering the gravity of the situation.

Then tragedy occurs and New Scotland Yard becomes involved. Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley soon discovers that the case sends tentacles from London into the countryside, and he must simultaneously outfox death as he probes Charlotte Bowen's mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, his partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, working part of the investigation on her own and hoping to make the coup of her career, draws closer to a grim solution-and to danger-than anyone knows.

In the Presence of the Enemy is an insightful novel about ideals corrupted by self-interest, about the sins of parents visited upon children, and about the masks that hide people from each other and from themselves.
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