Det. Peter Diamond series, No 11
Police Procedural / Bath, England / Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: ‘People keep asking me if I’m
The Bath Theatre Royal is staging a production of “I Am
a Camera” with pop artist Clarion Calhoun in the starring
role. Before she can deliver her first line, she starts screaming
from caustic burns on her face and neck. Was it accidental or intended?
A death soon follows which appears to be a suicide…or was
it? Detective Peter Diamond and his team, including the annoying
Constable Dawkins who has been assigned to him. Peter knows how
to conduct an investigation, but can he figure out why he suffers
feelings of panic every time he enters the theater auditorium?
This is a book for theater lovers with the inclusion of luminaries
who had acted at and stories about the theater being both fascinating
and adding substance to the plot. There were even the requisite
superstitions and a ghost to bring it together.
Diamond is a wonderful character; aging, out of shape, losing his
hair and a bit morose at times. Yet some of the best scenes, having
to do with his trying to uncover the reason for his phobia, were
powerful and emotional. The surrounding characters were a bit flat
as there was little development of them to make them come alive.
The plot is the most effective element of the story with its questions
as to whether the original incident was self-inflicted and later
whether there is actually a murder to investigate. Lovesey does
an excellent job of keeping you off balance and uncertain as to
what is happening but not in a duplicitous way; his characters are
just as uncertain.
For those reading this as their first experience with Peter Diamond,
it is a solid traditional police procedural with a solid plot, plenty
of red herrings, plot twists. Those who’ve previously read
Diamond series might be a bit let down. There was less humor
here than in previous books nor is it as suspenseful as some.
“Stagestruck” is not the best of Lovesey’s Peter
Diamond series, but it is still a darn good read.