Slightly different to the usual Inspector Lynley stories this is more personal to Barbara Havers are Sergeant than anything else. Her good friend and neighbour is the Professor Azhar. His daughter Hadiyah has been abducted by Angelina his wife, but Azhar has no legal leg to stand on as he was not married to Angelina and his name does not appear on the birth certificate.
Azhar realizes that he has to deal with Angelina diplomatically if he is ever going to get his daughter back. The blow comes when Angelina informs him that Hadiyah has been abducted from a market place in Tuscany and that she has no clue as to why or how the kidnapping took place.
The Italian police are investigating this crime but the Yard will not get involved despite Barbara's impassioned pleas to Lynley and in a typical Barbara manner she goes in head first, against all rules and regulations of her own force to try to solve the puzzle and bring Hadiyah back home. Reaching Italy, Barbara realizes that she is having to face both Angelina and her lover, the Professor on the one side and also face expulsion even from her job with a disciplinary inquiry looming over her head.
With far more implications than a mere kidnapping and with more twists and turns the story reaches its inevitable end. However, it was not the usual Elizabeth George story that I look forward to. I was so very happy when I came across this book as its one of the latest from this author and it disappointed me. She veered so much off course from her normal mystery/murders which are exquisitely told. I hope the next one will be back on form though.