In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley Series #8)

In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley Series #8)

by Elizabeth George


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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.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553385502
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/15/2008
Series: Inspector Lynley Series , #8
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 85,100
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.19(h) x 1.35(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth George’s first novel, A Great Deliverance, was honored with the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel Awards and received the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Her third novel, Well-Schooled in Murder, was awarded the prestigious German prize for suspense fiction, the MIMI. A Suitable Vengeance, For the Sake of Elena, Missing Joseph, Playing for the Ashes, In the Presence of the Enemy, Deception on His Mind, In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, A Traitor to Memory, and I, Richard were international bestsellers. Elizabeth George divides her time between Huntington Beach, California, and London. Her novels are currently being dramatized by the BBC.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

February 26, 1949

Place of Birth:

Warren, Ohio


A.A. Foothill Community College, 1969; B.A. University of California, Riverside, 1970; M.S. California State University

Read an Excerpt

Charlotte Bowen thought she was dead. She opened her eyes into cold and darkness. The cold was beneath her, feeling just like the ground in her mother's garden planter, where the never-stop drips from the outdoor tap made a patch of damp that was green and smelly. The darkness was everywhere. Black pushed against her like a heavy blanket, and she strained her eyes against it, trying to force out of the endless nothing a shape that might tell her she wasn't in a grave. She didn't move at first. She didn't reach out either fingers or toes because she didn't want to feel the sides of the coffin, because she didn't want to know that death was like this when she'd thought there'd be saints and sunlight and angels, with the angels sitting on swings playing harps.

Charlotte listened hard, but there was nothing to hear. She sniffed, but there was nothing to smell except the mustiness all round her, the way old stones smell after mould's grown on them. She swallowed and tasted the vague memory of apple juice. And the flavour was enough to make her recall.

He'd given her apple juice, hadn't he? He'd handed over a bottle with a cap that he'd loosened and shiny beads of moisture speckling its sides. He'd smiled and squeezed her shoulder once. He'd said, "Not to worry, Lottie. Your mum doesn't want that."

Mummy. That was what this was all about. Where was Mummy? What had happened to her? And to Lottie? What had happened to Lottie?

"There's been an accident," he'd said. "I'm to take you to your mum."

"Where?" she'd said. "Where's Mummy?" And then louder, because her stomach felt liquidy all of a sudden and she didn't like the way he was looking at her, "Tell me where's my mum! Tell me! Right now!"

"It's all right," he'd said quickly with a glance about. Just like Mummy, he was embarrassed because of her noise. "Quiet down, Lottie. She's in a Government safe house. Do you know what that means?"

Charlotte had shaken her head. She was, after all, only ten years old and most of the workings of the Government were a mystery to her. All she knew for sure was that being in the Government meant that Mummy left home before seven in the morning and usually didn't come back till after she was asleep. Mummy went to her office in Parliament Square. She went to her meetings in the Home Office. She went to the House of Commons. On Friday afternoons she held surgery for her constituents in Marylebone, while Lottie did her school prep, tucked out of sight in a yellow-walled room where the constituency's executive committee met.

"Behave yourself," her mother would say when Charlotte arrived after school each Friday afternoon. She'd give a meaningful tilt of her head in the direction of that yellow-walled room. "I don't want to hear a peep out of you till we leave. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Mummy."

And then Mummy would smile. "So give us a kiss," she would say. "And a hug. I want a hug as well." And she would stop her discussion with the parish priest or the Pakistani grocer from the Edgware Road or the local schoolteacher or whoever else wanted ten precious minutes of their MP's time. And she'd catch Lottie up in a stiff-armed hug that hurt. Then she'd swat her bottom and say, "Off with you now," and turn back to her visitor, saying, "Kids," with a chuckle.

Fridays were best. After Mummy's surgery, she and Lottie would ride home together and Lottie would tell her all about her week. Her mother would listen. She would nod, and sometimes pat Lottie's knee, but all the time she kept her eyes fixed to the road, just beyond their driver's head.

"Mummy," Lottie would say with a martyred sigh in a useless attempt to wrest her mother's attention from Marylebone High Street to herself. Mummy didn't have to look at the high street after all. It's not as if she was driving the car. "I'm talking to you. What're you looking for?"

"Trouble, Charlotte. I'm looking for trouble. You'd be wise to do the same."

Trouble had come, it seemed. But a Government safe house? What was that exactly? Was it a place to hide if someone dropped a bomb?

"Are we going to the safe house?" Lottie had gulped down the apple juice in a rush. It was a little peculiar—not nearly sweet enough—but she drank it down properly because she knew it was naughty to seem ungrateful to an adult.

"That we are," he'd said. "We're going to the safe house. Your mum's waiting there."

Which was all that she could remember distinctly. Things had got quite blurry after that. Her eyelids had grown heavy as they drove through London, and within minutes it seemed that she hadn't been able to hold up her head. At the back of her mind, she seemed to recall a kind voice saying, "That's the girl, Lottie. Have a nice kip, won't you," and a hand gently removing her specs.

At this final thought, Lottie inched her hands up to her face in the darkness, keeping them as near as possible to her body so that she wouldn't have to feel the sides of the coffin she was lying in. Her fingers touched her chin. They climbed slowly up her cheeks in a spider walk. They felt their way across the bridge of her nose. Her specs were gone.

That made no difference in the darkness, of course. But if the lights went on...Only how were lights to go on in a coffin?

Lottie took a shallow breath. Then another. And another. How much air? She wondered. How much time before...And why? Why?

She felt her throat getting tight and her chest getting hot. She felt her eyes burn. She thought, Mustn't cry, mustn't ever ever cry. Mustn't ever let anyone see...Except there was nothing to see, was there? There was nothing but endless black upon black. Which made her throat tight, which made her chest hot, which made her eyes burn all over again. Mustn't, Lottie thought. Mustn't cry. No, no.

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In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley Series #8) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Book 8 in the Inspector Lynley series Ms George knows how to sustain her readers' attention in tales that are not only suspenseful but finely crafted and delightfully intricate. With "In the Presence of the Enemy" she once more proves that she is one of the best classic British mystery novelist today. The story opens with the kidnapping of young Charlotte Bowen. The kidnapper(s) demand her father, publisher Dennis Luxford to pay an unusual ransom, " Divulge on the front page of his newspaper that he has fathered a child in a loveless tryst with Eve Bowen ". But Eve, a high ranking influential member of parliament hesitates and refuses to go along with the demand. She believes that Dennis has engineered everything to discredit her and is so convinced it is a hoax she steadfastly refuses to involve the authorities. The story advances at a rapid pace and the plot thickens when another child disappears. After realizing the determination of the kidnapper(s), Inspector Lynley and Detective Havers from Scotland Yard are called upon and brought up to speed. Following this duo as they piece clue after clue is a riveting experience, the writer plunges us into an adrenaline filled game of cat and mouse. Ms George spoon feeds her readers tit-bits of information seemingly leading them down the garden path and at just the right time she jumps track and throws her readers completely off balance. Being unpredictable helps pique the readers interest even more. Along with the main plot, interlaced are sub-plots involving Lynley's financé Helen who is wrestling with her own demons and making a small but important appearance is forensic scientist Simon and his wife Deborah. All the characters are believable although not all likeable but definitely all expertly drawn to keep us captivated. This is a suspense filled mystery from start to finish, one of Ms George's best.
kishields on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gripping murder investigation as Inspector Lynley and Havers rush to prevent a serial child murderer of claiming a victim held for blackmail purposes. The characters are absorbing and although the book is long it is a page-turner. I'd love to read more of this series and watch the BBC miniseries in full as well.
girlwiththebook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
an excellent thriller. it was so interesting that I didn't even realise when I was turning the pages. Keeps the reader on the edge and always makes you jump into wrong conclusion until you finally come to the last chapter. one of the best thriller I have ever read. Thank you, Elizebeth George.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of the eight Lynley novels I've read, I'd rank this third, after the first, A Great Deliverance and the third, Well-Schooled in Murder. Not that I felt that way through Part One, which is almost another book I'd rate much lower--for two reasons. First, that first part involves only that Tiresome Three (tm) Simon and Deborah St. James and Lady Helen Clyde. So not my favorite George characters. Second, and worse, they engage in utterly stupid behavior that's a pet peeve of mine in amateur detective fiction. Charlotte, a ten-year old girl, is kidnapped, and the mother, Eve Bowen, a Member of Parliament, a Junior Minister, and a rising star in the Tories doesn't want the police involved because she fears it would lead to publicity and the exposure of her daughter's paternity--the editor of a tabloid with Labour leanings. So the Tiresome Three go along with with this monstrous mother who acts like she misplaced a file, and don't call in the police. For DAYS. Oh, and when the police are called in and Lynley calls them on their behavior, he's the bad guy who dealt Deborah a "death blow" and once again puts his engagement with Helen in jeopardy. It's all the more maddening because there's no good reason for the St Jameses and Clyde to have gone along with not reporting the crime. They have no particular loyalty personal or political to the people involved who are strangers to them and given their ties and loyalties to people at Scotland Yard they should know better.Finally, after nearly 250 pages, Detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers do come into the picture, and things do pick up immensely. In fact, I'd say the last hundred pages especially of the book are the most suspenseful I've yet to read from Elizabeth George. There's also a lot more of Detective Constable Winston Nkata in this book--in the last book he has a cameo really, and books before that just mentions. This time he's a supporting player and if this presages more of a role for him from here on end in the Lynley mysteries I'll be glad of it. And Havers. Poor Havers. But she's my favorite character in this series for good reasons. And just as the Tiresome Three demonstrate in this novel why I don't care for them, Havers shows why she's enough to keep me reading this series.
MiserableLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tommy and Barb are drawn into a case of a dead girl who may not have died if St. James and Deborah had called the Yard when they first learned the girl had gone missing. Helen and Simon both see a side of Lynley that they¿d just as soon not, and Havers lands her first stint as the primary investigator in this kidnapping/murder. Another nice surprise ending.
readingrebecca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent Inspector Lynley/Barbara Havers mystery. Barbara Havers gets much more page time than in any previous book and we come to know her much more than before. I always find it amazing that these mysteries are written by an American.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bet you can’t guess who-dunnit!! As good a plot as Agatha Christie and as big a surprise an ending. Wonderful read. Buy it!!
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Licos1 More than 1 year ago
Engrossing and suspenseful. Hard to quit reading. I will be buying more books by this author.
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