A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George
In this latest from bestseller Elizabeth George, China River, recuperating from a failed love affair, agrees to accompany her ne'er-do-well brother Cherokee to the Channel Islands to hand-deliver a set of architectural drawings to an expatriate millionaire whose plans to fund a museum commemorating the war-time exploits of his Guernsey neighbors comes a cropper after he's found dead under suspicious circumstances. George spins an intricate and lively plot that spotlights the efforts of series regulars Deborah and Simon St. John to help Deborah's old friends free themselves; in the process, she introduces a fascinating cast of secondary characters, many of whom had much more obvious motives to wish Guy Brouard dead than the California siblings who seem tailor-made for a frame-up. A fine addition to George's ouevre, this thirteenth outing in her popular series will delight her fans. --Jane Adams
An isolated beach on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel is the scene of the murder of Guy Brouard, one of Guernsey’s wealthiest inhabitants and its main benefactor. Forced as a child to flee the Nazis in Paris, Brouard was engaged in his latest project when he died: a museum in honor of those who resisted the German occupation of the island during World War II.
It is from this period of time that his murderer may well have come. But there are others on Guernsey with reason to want Guy Brouard dead: his wives, his business associates, his current mistress, the underprivileged teenagers he mentored—any of whom might have harbored a secret motive for murder. As family and friends gather for the reading of the will, Deborah and Simon St. James find that seemingly everyone on the history-haunted island has something to hide. And behind all the lies and alibis, a killer is lurking. In order to bring this person to justice, the St. James must delve into Guernsey’s dark history—both past and present—and into the troubled psyche of someone who may have exacted retribution for the most unspeakable crime of all.
In A Place of Hiding, bestselling novelist Elizabeth George marks new territory in the darker landscapes of human relationships. She tells a gripping, suspenseful story of betrayal and devotion, war and remembrance, love and loss...and the higher truths to which we must all ultimately answer.
A Complex and Absorbing Tale You Won't Want to Miss, October 25, 2003
from New York, New York
A PLACE OF HIDING opens with Deborah and Simon St. James bidding goodnight to their guests, Helen Clyde and Thomas Lynley. A few minutes later, the doorbell rings. Deborah is shocked to discover Cherokee River, the brother of her friend and American roommate China River, on her doorstep. With no prompting he tells the couple that he has come to ask for help. His sister has been arrested for murder and is in a musty jail on the isolated island of Guernsey, which is situated in the English Channel. He prefaces his story by taking all responsibility for her trouble. His explanation is long and complicated but very convincing. Thus, by the time he's finished, Deborah feels duty-bound to drop everything and help them. Simon is not as eager to get involved and he's not about to let Deborah go off with a charismatic and handsome young man, about whom he knows nothing. The stakes grow exponentially once the threesome land on Guernsey and each damning puzzle piece starts to fit into place. China River has been charged with the grizzly murder of Guy Brouard, the richest and most influential man on the island. He and his sister immigrated to the Channel Island, where he chose a very pubic life and spread his money around. Ruth Brouard, on the other hand, preferred to live a quiet and more private life. Their wealth and lifestyles separated them from most of the population, but they felt a spiritual connection to this island's populace because they too were victims of the Holocaust. One of the island's war heroes owned an extraordinary collection of memorabilia. He, his son and Brouard were planning a World War II museum to honor those who were at the mercy of the Nazis during occupation. Simon tries to convince Le Gallez, the investigator in charge of the murder, that many islanders, even some who were part of the plans for the memorial, are much more likely to have killed Brouard than China River. However, not a shred of evidence emerges against them. But Simon is relentless, determined to find anyone who might have a motive for wanting Brouard dead. Still, the inspector has no interest in looking beyond his current prisoner; for him, the case has been solved. How and why China River became the prime suspect is the matrix for this multilayered, well-plotted and highly suspenseful novel. A PLACE OF HIDING is a complex and absorbing tale populated with interesting and chameleon-like characters. At first, fans may be surprised that Helen Clyde and Thomas Lynley make fast cameo appearances, while Barbara Havers isn't mentioned at all. After all, George has built her reputation with eleven previous books featuring those stars. Until now, Deborah and Simon St. James have played supporting roles in those novels. But as they take center stage in this one, they are strong, fully realized characters who carry the tale on able shoulders. Through them, George "looks unflinchingly at the emotional and psychological composition of her characters to weave a compelling ... suspenseful narrative." All of George's novels feature a large cast, the members of whom are carefully limned. But they are plot propelled and their mission is to catch a killer. In A PLACE OF HIDING George shifts that focus a bit. Here, she allows for inner dialogue and soul searching. Deborah and Simon are forced to confront the tensions in their May-December marriage and come to terms (or not) with their differences. Also, Deborah must re-think her place in the world and tame her own demons. However, none of this takes anything away from the mystery that surrounds Brouard's murder. As a matter of fact, the need to re-evaluate themselves reaches beyond the St. James's as other islanders are forced to take a good look at their own lives, motives and actions. Elizabeth George is an American with an uncanny ability to capture the landscape and ambience of her "English world." Her British characters are always painted with perfect strokes. Her narratives are exceptional. Not many writers of series characters allow the second string to come forward and play the leads. But George is such a strong writer and her ensemble so talented and diverse that A PLACE OF HIDING loses nothing with Deborah and Simon St. James at the helm. Readers will find themselves totally smitten with the couple and cheer them on. A surprise ending adds to the verisimilitude of the story and offers satisfying relief. This book is a keeper and one not to miss. --- Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum