Peter Diamond Mystery, No 5
1997/ ISBN 0892966696
Police Procedural / Bath, England / Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: A young woman opened her eyes.
An unconscious woman, found in a hospital parking lot, awakens
to find she has no memory. Released to social services, she is placed
in a hostel and befriended and named “Rose” by Ada Shaftsbury;
a good soul with a large personality and a penchant for shoplifting.
The Bath police have their own problems with the apparent suicides
of an elderly farmer by shotgun and a woman off a roof. But were
they suicides and how do they link to Rose, whom Ada is pushing
the police to find after she’s not seen her for two weeks.
It’s up to DS Peter Diamond to figure it out.
There is nothing better than a book that not only has an intriguing
beginning but also causes you to wonder what you’d do in a
An unusual facet to this story is that Diamond doesn’t begin
to play a major role until quite a ways into the story, but what
a dynamic, and flawed, character he is. I enjoy the relationship
he has with his wife, Stephanie, and their cat, Raffles. At the
same time, he is not an easy person for others to deal with, particularly
Detective Inspector Julie Hargreaves. Diamond respects her, but
releases his frustration publicly on her and it is through his imperfections
and some of their interchanges that we get to know Diamond better.
Ada, with all her faults, is a pivotal character and often allows
Lovesey to exhibit his delightfully dry humor…”While
her old man was refusing to admit to anything, she was singing like
the three tenors.”
What I most appreciate, however, is the plotting. It takes you
down interesting, unexpected roads where you learn about everything
from film shooting schedules, ancient English history and detectorology
and treasure troves. The inclusion and care of such details is only
one element that sets Lovesey apart as a writer. I particularly
like that DS Diamond investigates the case by looking for evidence,
doing the research, working his team and following the clues rather
than working from assumption. There are good climatic twists and
a very well done ending. I am delighted that there are many more
books in the series waiting for me to read.