My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 week +
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Pages - 708
Blurb from Goodreads
When Hadiyyah Upman disappears from London in the company of her mother, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is as devastated as the girl's father. They are her close friends as well as neighbours, but since the child is with her mother, nothing can be done. Five months later, Hadiyyah is kidnapped from an open air market in Lucca, Italy, and this triggers an investigation in the full glare of the media spotlight. Barbara's clever manipulation of the worst of London's tabloids forces New Scotland Yard to become involved. But rather than Barbara herself, her superior officer DI Thomas Lynley is assigned to handle a situation made delicate by racial issues, language difficulties, and the determination of an Italian magistrate to arrest and convict someone - anyone - for the crime.
Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers next door neighbors child Hadiyyah Upman disappears from London, along with her mother. The father is devastated, as is Havers who is close to the family, suspecting her mother has taken her. Five months later the mother returns screaming Azhar, the girls father, has kidnapped her from Italy in retaliation. Together they must all work together to piece the case together and find the little girl before harm befalls her. DI Thomas Lynley is on the case to handle relations, translate upon arriving in Italy, racial and family issues. On top of that, the press is watching and reporting and there is a leak coming from the police.
Well what a story this turned out to be! To begin with I quite liked it, kidnapping by the mum and no idea where she went only to turn up months later saying the child has been truly kidnapped. The immediate response from Havers was ridiculous, she attacks her hair in response to the news. I still don't understand that and she has no relationship bar friendship with Azhar yet does so many things to potentially wreck her career AND break the law, repeatedly. Her behaviour is off the wall, she puts everything at risk and breaks the law continuously like a love crazed person rather than a respected, high ranking police detective.
When they are in Italy, Elizabeth George does a mix between Italian and English. Phrases are spoken in full Italian then the response or action is commented upon in English which I found totally distracting and very annoying. There is also some racist words battered around which will definitely offend some people so keep that in mind when picking the book up.
The book seemed far too long and went off in tangents which seemed more about padding the book out than adding anything to the actual tale. Lynleys "relationship" with Daidre I just didn't get either, he seemed to pursue and pursue and get nothing back at all from her other than what seemed forced communication. They seem to be at the same point in the start of the book as at the end so it really had no bearing or contribution to the tale at all, unless it is set up for the next book but even still I felt it added nothing.
I found myself getting bored often reading this one, some parts where quite good which is why is gets 2/5 however ultimately there was more to fault than like, for me however harden fans may still love it. Thanks so much to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy to review in exchange for an honest review, this one just fell wide of the mark for me. I won't be rushing to pick up another by this author but won't rule out trying her again in the distant future.