When Hadiyyah Upman disappears from London in the company of her mother, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is as devastated as the girl's father. They are her close friends as well as neighbours, but since the child is with her mother, nothing can be done. Five months later, Hadiyyah is kidnapped from an open air market in Lucca, Italy, and this triggers an investigation in the full glare of the media spotlight. Barbara's clever manipulation of the worst of London's tabloids forces New Scotland Yard to become involved. But rather than Barbara herself, her superior officer DI Thomas Lynley is assigned to handle a situation made delicate by racial issues, language difficulties, and the determination of an Italian magistrate to arrest and convict someone - anyone - for the crime.
Elizabeth George is the author of highly acclaimed novels of psychological suspense. Her first novel, A Great Deliverance, was honoured with the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel awards in America and received the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in France; Well-Schooled in Murder was awarded the prestigious German prize for international mystery fiction, the MIMI '1990'. Her novels have been adapted for television by the BBC as the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. An Edgar and Macavity Nominee as well as an international bestselling author, Elizabeth George lives in Whidbey Island in the state of Washington.