Monday, June 11, 2018

The Last Detective

I decided to take a chance on Peter Lovesey's Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond series, and while I enjoyed The Last Detective, I'm not sure I'm gong to search out the rest of the series.  It won an Anthony Award, but I didn't find the detective particularly compelling.  When the book opens, Diamond had recently been promoted and transferred from Scotland Yard to Bath CID, but his involvement in the questionable confession of a man later proved innocent leaves his position in jeopardy.  He also sees himself as the last of his kind, the kind of detective who solves mysteries through dogged investigation, not computer analysis (the book was written in 1993).

While I didn't find the main character interesting, I did enjoy the mystery.  Late one Friday evening, a policeman's neighbor finds a body floating in a lake.  She calls her neighbor, and after a day or so of CID investigation, an English professor identifies the body as his wife, a former soap star.  She was glamorous but erratic, and he was becoming close to the mother of a teenage boy he'd saved from drowning.  Lovesely takes his time, realistically pacing the investigation and trial, scattering clues relating to a local businessman and some letters believed to have been written by Jane Austen.  In the end, it's a throwaway comment that identifies the true culprit.

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