Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Det. Peter Diamond series, No 11
Peter Lovesey

Soho Press
2011/ ISBN
Police Procedural / Bath, England / Contemporary

Reviewed by L J Roberts

First Sentence: ‘People keep asking me if I’m nervous.’

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 the Peter 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.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011