A PLACE OF HIDING
Fans disappointed by George's atypical story collection, I, Richard (2002), will be relieved to find the bestselling transatlantic author back at the top of her form. This exquisitely plotted mystery bursts with well-developed characters, notably forensic scientist Simon St. James and his photographer wife, Deborah. Lured by the free airline tickets and the $5,000 fee, China River, an old friend of Deborah's, and her half-brother, Cherokee (their mother was into the hippie counterculture), agree to fly from sunny California to rainy England to deliver a package containing architectural drawings to Guy Brouard, a rich landholder on the Channel island of Guernsey. The drawings are for a museum Brouard plans to build on the island honoring those who resisted the WWII German occupation. When the philandering philanthropist gets murdered and the police arrest China, Cherokee turns to Simon and Deborah for help. Curiously, for all the victim's wealth, no one seems to benefit from his death. The theme of hiding—of hopes, of the past, of secret places—underpins this intricate story about friendship, anger, loyalty and betrayal. Comic touches provide some relief as the suspense builds to an unexpected and explosive climax. With her flair for language, George reinforces her reputation as one of today's finest mystery writers. (July 29)
Forecast:The broadcast this summer of four new mystery episodes on PBS featuring George's Inspector Lynley, who makes a cameo appearance in A Place of Hiding, may help lengthen the novel's run on bestseller lists.