I'm enjoying listening to the book. Davina Porter is one of my very favorite readers. But there's way too much Italian. If I were looking at a printed page, I could probably get most of it because I did take a year of Italian a long time ago. But it's being read by a person who isn't really a native speaker of Italian, so it sounds funny.
True, some of the characters are Italian, but I read books like, say, Jo Nesbo, translated from Norwegian, but they aren't speckled with Norwegian. The whole book is in ENGLISH.
This book could have used some editing without losing the story. It came in at 24 CDs (723 pages)
Barbara Havers' neighbour Taymullah Azhar has had his daughter taken by the girl's mother Angelina Upton. Angelina had disappeared herself for several months and then returned, and seemed to be back for good, redecorating the house and such, but it appears that this behaviour was just to lull Azhar into complacency before she took Hadiyyah.
Because the two were not married, and Azhar is not named as the father on the birth certificate, it seems he has little legal standing, and so Barbara helps him in hiring a private detective to find them two. He reports little headway in the search, until suddenly Angelina and her new Italian lover appear accusing Azhar of kidnapping Hadiyyah. It appears that she has disappeared from the Italian town where Angelina know lives.
Lynley is sent to Italy to liase with the Italian police on the investigation, a good choice as he speaks relatively fluent Italian. He develops a good relationship with the detective in charge of the case and there are several lines to follow in both countries.
Barbara lets her personal feelings for Azhar and Hadiyyah influence her to the point where she disregards her professional duties and makes some questionable contacts and judgment calls. These put her in a bad position in terms of work and with a supervisor who doesn't like her to begin with, may affect her future with the police.
We also see some of Lynley's personal life as he begins to move forward and show an interest in a woman again. Lynley wants to protect Barbara due to his knowledge of her good intentions and their history, but he can only do so much in the situation he now finds himself in.
When things in Italy escalate and a death occurs, things get more complex and a charge of murder is a distinct possibility.
An interesting case of parental rights, jealousy, and the difficulties of communicating in a different language and culture.
3 1/2 stars seems a good rating. I am enjoying this book very much, but if I had to read it rather than listen to it, I agree the book is too long. It is rather too long for listening so I am glad to be coming to the end rather than sorry to see it end. There have been complaints about all the Italian references in the book, but when you hear them spoken it is easer to put them in context. After all their travails, through the years (and the novels) Havers and Lynley seem very much the same. After this story it will be interesting to see if there is any change in Barbara Havers.
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