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I’ve read all the books in the Peter Diamond series and, while this isn’t a real standout, its a decent read in spite of some flaws.
There are two mysteries to be solved in this book. First is to identify the old corpse found in the attic of a building being demolished. That mystery takes up about half the book, while the other half is the whodunnit plot.
I was irritated a few times with the identification plot. Diamond’s team of detectives behave badly to each other, with John Leeman being so rude to his colleagues that I’d have removed him from the team. There was never anything that advanced the plot or the characters’ development in this squabbling. It just felt like annoying padding. Unfortunately, Lovesey has never done much to develop Diamond’s team as characters. I’m willing to live with that for the sake of a good police procedural, but if he is going to have action with the secondary characters, please don’t have it be pointless conflict among them.
The other irritation about the identification plot was how slow the detectives were on some key clues, in particular on how some evidence could be used to date the time of the murder. Yes, they got around to figuring that out, but one in particular of these things was something that anybody who has so much as watched the occasional TV crime drama would know instantly.
Once you get to the whodunnit plot, the book is much more enjoyable. The clues are dropped judiciously and the stories the investigation reveals are interesting. The descriptions of Diamond’s involvement in the Beau Nash Society as part of the investigation are particularly vivid and lively.
All in all, a decent police procedural once you get to the whodunnit. If you decide to read it, I can’t recommend the audiobook. The male reader uses a screechy falsetto for nearly all the female voices.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
thin story awfully voiced , dead bodies in period costume , could be the Gothic noir but it's just drivel.