When my European friend recommended a British mystery for me to read, I did not hesitate for a minute. Her first recommendation was a result of her laughing aloud hysterically while reading Jane Green’s Straight Talking (book club ideas coming soon) when we were on retreat together. I am not a laugh aloud reader (more of a goofy smirk reader), but I was willing to try after her constant giggles during the night. Thus, Deception on His Mind was soon stacked on top of my nightstand.
Being cartographically challenged, it took me a while to orient myself into the setting of the novel. With the assistance of the inside cover maps, I was soon up to speed, though. No-nonsense characters such as Barbara Havers, Emily Barlow, Agatha Shaw, and Taymulla Azhar intrigue the reader prompting her to keep those pages turning. Reading this novel while hospitalized allowed me the concentration needed to fully absorb the multi-faceted characters as well as the complexities of the mystery in question, the murder of Haythem Querashi.
As a side note, I fell in love with the epigram found at the beginning of Deception on His Mind:
WHERE IS THE MAN WHO HAS THE POWER AND SKILL
TO STEM THE TORRENT OF A WOMAN’S WILL?
FOR IS SHE WILL, SHE WILL, YOU MAY DEPEND ON’T;
AND IF SHE WON’T, SHE WON’T; SO THERE’S AN END ON’T.
-from the pillar erected on the Mount in the Dane John Field in Canterbury
When considering book club for this Elizabeth George novel, one may explore the contradiction between Emily’s healthful ways and Barbara’s less-than-healthful eating habits. A buffet of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit setting adjacent to popcorn, rainbow rock (what is this?), and ice cream seems to fit the bill. Another direction book club may take in regards to refreshments is all foods mustard, in honor of the Malik’s mustard factory.