Bloodhounds Paperback – Mar 6 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
The Last Detective (1992) inaugurated this series with a bang. It was followed by Diamond Solitaire (1993) and 1995's Edgar-nominated The Summons. With this fourth installment, veteran English author Lovesey gives us his laconic Bath policeman Peter Diamond in full dazzle. The Bloodhounds are a diverse group of mystery fans who meet in a dark crypt and talk. One night before the subject of locked-room puzzles is brought up, Milo, one of the group, opens a prized book and finds the rare Penny Black stamp recently stolen from a nearby museum. Milo is suitably puzzled. A little later, Milo is found dead in his tightly locked riverboat. The coppers have two perplexing puzzles to solve, and Diamond's sharp temper is soon sorely tested by the thief/killer, who sends the police and the media cute riddles. Diamond comes up with a perfectly workable scenario for what happened, which readers are given just enough time to swallow before Lovesey reveals the real thief and killer. With this especially effective conclusion, Lovesey demonstrates that his embrace of crime fiction reaches from John Dickson Carr to Andrew Vachss as he skillfully pays homage to the old style whodunit in this thoroughly modern mystery.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In a witty takeoff on the always titillating "locked room" mystery, Lovesey's wise but beleaguered hero Peter Diamond confronts a homicide case as perplexing as any he's faced. The perpetrator appears to be both brilliant and devious, composing a series of riddles designed to offer clues to upcoming crimes while effectively throwing the police off the scent, then stealing a priceless postage stamp while the coppers' collective backs are turned. A costly prank but also a clever one, and it intrigues the Bloodhounds, a local mystery-lovers group. But the "stamp prank" turns serious when one of the Bloodhounds turns up murdered, his body found in the locked lounge of a houseboat. Then a second body turns up, an apparent suicide, which leaves Diamond puzzled and angry. With the help of levelheaded partner Julie Hargreaves, Diamond exposes both the Machiavellian motive and the devilishly deranged killer. Although Lovesey's latest is entertaining enough, it lacks the spark, spunk, and sagacity of his previous novels. Still, Peter Diamond fans will no doubt quickly snap it up. Emily Melton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Peter Diamond is back with the Bath police as a DS in charge of homicide. The media and police receive a poem which seems to indicate that a valuable painting, in the town's museum, by Turner will be stolen. Instead, it is the theft of a Penny Black, one of the world's most valuable stamps. The stamp turns up in the possession of a member of the town's mystery club, 'The Blookhounds,' and the body of another of the group's ends up on the suspect's boat.
Lovesey's wry humor and use of metaphors is delightful. It is a wonderful send-up of book groups and on-line groups, and I thoroughly enjoyed the all the references to mystery authors and their books.
Lovesey provides a very full construction of each character in very few works. He accurately depicts the pettiness, jealousy and fight for power which seem to be part of any group of people. He clearly exemplifies the tendency of those who are insecure to public degrade others in order to feel better about themselves.
Diamond is a delightful character; he can seem brusque, yet is aware of his flaws and can be kind. I am particularly taken with his very understanding wife, Stephanie, and his young policewoman, Julie Hargraves.
The story provides some interesting, amusing, and lesser known, history about Bath. The inclusion of those small details adds richness to the setting and a variance from the common inclusion of the Roman Baths. It is not all lightness, however, as there is murder and deception.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The killer sends riddles to the police and the media driving an already irate Bath Detective Superintendent Diamond up a wall while his staff interviews the other members of the Bloodhounds. Diamond soon comes up with a theory on how the killer escaped the locked riverboat puzzle, but that fails to get him any closer to identifying the culprit making him wonder if his hypothesis is sending him down the wrong path.
Paying homage to John Dickson Carr, no one writing today does locked room mysteries as good as Peter Lovesey does. In his fourth Diamond police procedural (see THE LAST DETECTIVE, DIAMOND SOLITAIRE, and THE SUMMONS) is a terrific tale that grips readers as the cops question the obsessed Bloodhounds only to uncover all sorts of personal secrets, but no murder motive as none seems like a thief. Diamond remains cantankerous perhaps more so this time because the serial killer is laughing in public at his foibles. Besides the locked room, Mr. Lovesey pulls a brilliant sleight of the hand that will fool and satiate the audience.
The 'Black Penny' stamp (the first issue in England) is stolen from the local Postal Museum and a group of mystery book aficionados come under suspicion. But it's still not Diamond's investigation until one of the members is found murdered in the locked boat of another member. The boat is locked with a special German padlock, that has 6 billion different keys and the same two are never sold in England. Though the padlock comes with two keys, the owner had lost the second copy over a year before by dropping it in a canal.
Of course one of the book people is an 'expert' in Dickson Carr, and the rest of this eccentric group would warm the heart of Agatha Christie. Though there are lots of twist and turns, we know that Diamond will get to the bottom of the problem in the end. Good story.