I have been reading the novels by Elizabeth George since the beginning. The first book was A Great Deliverance and many others have followed. I have read them all; there are some that I have liked better than others but I will always give her books a try.
This title is aptly named. There are many things that the characters in this book are trying to hide. Will their secrets be exposed? How will these revelations affect the people whom the reader meets? I don’t want any spoilers so will leave that for readers to discover.
George takes on a literally and emotionally painful topic in this novel. I don’t think that this should keep anyone from reading the book but it is important to be informed. The carefully researched topic is FGM known as female genital mutilation, a practice performed on young girls in some African cultures. Along with this, George portrays the culture of those from Nigeria and Somalia. A corollary is the extent to which those who are white can understand those whose lives may be very different from theirs.
The primary case in the story centers on a murdered police officer. She was a victim of FGM and readers will watch to see whether she was killed by family, a stranger or someone in the FGM community.
This story is filled with characters. Regular series readers will be happy to see Tommy and Simon. Deborah has a significant role this time around. Readers also learn more about Winston Nkata and his family and Daidre and hers. In addition to many series regulars there are a host of new people to meet. The stories of the new characters are often complex and raise questions about which to think. Some of these have to do with marriage, others with having a disabled child and many about FGM and its impact and/or prevention. My one criticism about characters is that I was a bit tired of Barbara Havers and Dorothea’s interactions. Those who are not familiar with the series have no need to worry. Who all of these people are will be clear to you as you read.
The settings in the novel are mostly places in London. They were so descriptive that I often found myself looking up the real places on line. Such a reminder of London’s many neighborhoods and populations.
This is a long novel coming in at 700 pages. I think that it could have been shorter without sacrificing anything. Still, I am glad that I read it.
Have you read this one? What is your opinion?