Elizabeth George's series featuring Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers is a distinguished one. Most books in the series are masterpieces of character development. The best ones are also marvelous plots that will leave you thinking.
In the Presence of the Enemy is by far the weakest of the books in the series. Unless you feel compelled to read every book in the series, I suggest you skip this one.
The character development is mostly about two narcissists, the career obsessed Eve Bowen, M.P., and her one-time lover, tabloid sleaze-jockey, Dennis Luxford. Now if you really find it entertaining to read about successful people who are hollow inside, feel free to read this book. But there's no reward for staring at the hollows in these two.
The plot provides an above-average mystery, but one that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
The story? A young girl, Charlotte Bowen, has been kidnapped and her kidnapper threatens to murder her if Luxford doesn't acknowledge his "eldest child." Luxford is willing to do that, but Eve Bowen believes that it's just a publicity stunt that Luxford cooked up to embarrass the Tories. Evidence to the contrary fails to move Eve who seeks out help from Simon St. James instead. Simon involves Deborah and Lady Helen, and that sets them all up for a confrontation with Lynley when he finds out what they have been doing behind his back.
Perhaps the best part of the story comes as Barbara Havers struggles to handle one end of the investigation on her own. It's a challenge . . . that almost exceeds her ability to handle.