Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes I think Ms. George has written herself into a corner: so many main characters, and a need to at least mention them - if not give them a short chapter - has led to "page creep". It would have been ok if the whole Havers subplot had been deleted, ditto Nkata's presence. I know that part of this stems from some misbegotten belief that bigger books are better, or perhaps editors are just afraid to say "cut this by 1/3 before we publish".
Anyway, Lynley has been asked to (on the extreme quiet) investigate the death of Ian Crasswell, nephew of Bernard Fairclough, the head of Fairclough Industries. Since he's supposed to be a visitor to Cumbria, not a DI, he asks Deborah and Simon St. James for their help. The three poke around, with Deborah leaping to conclusions that have horrific results. Turns out, Ian's death was an unfortunate accident but Lynley's presence has brought out many deep, dark family secrets... this is one family that will take a great deal of time to heal.
Because he's unofficially there he can't tell his guv, Isabella Ardrey, and this puts a strain on their relationship (she starts drinking, making unreasonable phone calls, etc.). It also affects Havers' relationship with Ardrey because Havers is in the loop.
The exploration of those family secrets is done well, and the Big Secret (one that, by the end, only Havers, Simon and Lynley know) was a little obvious to me but still interestingly revealed. The Havers Beautification Project could have been deleted, as could most of the Zeb Benjamin (a reporter from a News of the World-like publication) passages. It was also surprising to see it end on an obvious cliffhanger, as though readers might not be interested in reading the next episode.