RogerBW's Blog

Diamond Dust, Peter Lovesey 22 May 2014

Diamond Dust is the seventh book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series, and one that makes for a very substantial change in tone.

Well, the nature of the victim is in all the blurbs, and it happens in the first chapter; but I still came to it cold, having started this book on the basis of the previous one, and it was highly effective that way. So I'm not going to go into detail except to say that there's a personal connection to Diamond.

Indeed, some of the most effective writing deals with Diamond's reaction to the murder. There's less of the usual juggling of clues this time, and more misdirection; but one major side plot seems really superfluous. On the other hand, as always, the incidental as well as the regular characters continue to be well-drawn and interesting.

The puzzles are not so much "to whom does the evidence point" but "given very limited evidence pointing at this person, does he/she have a plausible motive". Given the why, the who would become obvious; it's less of a classic detective puzzler than others in the series have been. Lovesey continues his trick of introducing information that's important in the context of one person by stating it in the context of someone totally different. The book does play fair; I admit the solution eluded me, though I had slight suspicions.

On the other hand, this isn't a cheerful book. In many classic detective stories, for example by Christie, the murder victim is a nasty person whom pretty much everybody is glad is dead (thus giving them all motives); the detective acts because civil order has been upset, and criminals ought to be caught, but one doesn't really get the feeling that anyone else's life has been all that adversely affected. In this case it's just the opposite: while the criminal may be caught and sentenced, the murder has still happened, the victim is still dead, and now everyone has to learn to go on. I look forward to seeing how this series continues.

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Previous in series: The Vault | Series: Peter Diamond | Next in series: The House Sitter

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