The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

The minister’s wife and his mistress

Noel Grima Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 09:47 Last update: about 2 months ago

‘Lady M’. Author: Salv Sammut. Publisher: Horizons / 2021. Pages: 363pp

When she had more than enough, the minister's wife paid a surprise visit to the house of her husband's personal assistant.

She found her coming out of the shower, with just a diaphanous negligee trying but not really succeeding to cover up her youthful body.

Seeing her at close quarters further convinced the minister's wife of what she had come to find out for herself: this was not just her husband's PA but also his lover.

The two women started arguing and they soon ended up fighting and slapping each other even though the PA had just admitted she was pregnant but the minister wanted her to have an abortion.

The above is one of the most vivid episodes (there are others too) in this book which is the first in the author's latest trilogy.

The setting is contemporary Malta, at the same time indeterminate.

Enter the second protagonist, Inspector Paul (Pawlu) Borg recently promoted from the Traffic Section to fighting criminality with an office at Police Headquarters.

When still young, the inspector and the minister's wife had been close friends.

The inspector's first task in his new role was to investigate a group of lovely women from Eastern Europe who had arrived with forged passports by catamaran.

While these were being investigated, mysterious deaths start to occur. First a woman was found drowned, then another woman died from a drug overdose while in police custody. These deaths, in just a matter of days, shock Malta and raise a firestorm of partisan attacks by the party in Opposition.

The minister, who has political responsibility for immigration and the police, finds himself at the centre of the national controversy. His personal life is in tatters because of his relationship with his PA. His relationship with the Commissioner of Police is overshadowed by the fact that the Commissioner comes from "the other side".

And Inspector Borg re-ignites his youthful friendship with the minister's wife.

The whole thing becomes even more complicated by the presence behind the scenes of the mysterious Lady M, a woman of immense power.

But not all is as it appears. The mystery is solved but not in the way readers expect.

Readers are advised to read the trilogy in the following sequence: ‘Lady M’, ‘Attentat’ and ‘Waqtiet’


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