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Bloodhounds [Paperback]

Peter Lovesey
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 6 1997 Peter Diamond Mystery (Book 4)
The Bloodhounds of Bath is a society that meets in a crypt to discuss crime novels. To their latest recruit they are simply a gaggle of dotty misfits, until one of them reveals that he is in possession of one of the world's most valuable stamps, recently stonlen from the Postal Museum. Then theft is overtaken by murder when the corpse of one of the Bloodhounds is found in a locked houseboat, with the only key in the possession of a man with a perfect alibi. Burly detective Peter Diamond, head of the murder squad in Bath, finds himself embroiled in a mystery that in more than one sense evokes the classic crime puzzles of John Dickson Carr.

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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.

From Booklist

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
First Sentence: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond was suffering in the rear seat of a police car scorching toward Bath along the Keynsham bypass with the headlamps on full beam, blue light pulsing and siren wailing.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A playful homage to the classic whodunit June 12 2000
By Sheila L. Beaumont - Published on
The Bloodhounds of Bath are a group of eccentric mystery readers with disparate tastes: Shirley-Ann, who reads all sorts of mysteries, "even the dreadful ones"; Miss Chilmark, who is obsessed with Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose"; Milo, who likes the classic puzzle story; Jessica, who specializes in female-P.I. novels; Rupert, who's into hard-boiled, noir crime fiction and sneers at cozies as fairy tales for grown-ups with arrested development; Sid, an extreme introvert who's a John Dickson Carr fan; and Polly, the tactful group chairwoman. One of the members is found dead in a locked-room situation on a houseboat called the Mrs. Hudson. And somebody has carried off a major heist after sending a cryptic riddle message to the news media challenging the police to stop the crime. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, who has been yearning for a puzzling case to work on, has reason to believe the murder and the theft are related. "Bloodhounds" is replete with playful references and allusions to a wide range of detective fiction. It's a very well-written and cleverly plotted mystery, with lots of interesting characters, that will appeal to readers who like traditional whodunits. And for John Dickson Carr fans, it's one that definitely should not be missed.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Negative reviews notwithstanding, this was a lot of fun. Sept. 2 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This is the first Peter Lovesey novel I've read, and it was done well enough that I'd willingly read others. The attraction for me was the locked room aspect, as this is my favorite variety of classic puzzler, or "cozy" if you will. Although the puzzle itself fooled me, I admit it's not up to the level of the master, John Dickson Carr. Even so, it was grounded in a greater procedural realism than you find in Carr, and that in itself lent greater plausibility to the story. Locked room mysteries at their best are pretty far-fetched, but Bloodhounds contains one that's more believable than most. The discussions of classic mystery novels are appealing but, despite another reviewer's comments, do not overshadow the story itself. The characters are well-drawn if not necessarily explored in depth, and the pace is very good. I have no qualms about recommending this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have enjoyed the entire series! Aug. 18 2008
By G. D. Fuller - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came upon Lovesey quite by accident & have been pleasantly surprised & entertained. I have now read all 8 of the series featuring the curmudgeonly Inspector Peter Diamond & they make for a quick, enjoyable romp. These are not taunt thrillers but tongue-in-cheek good old fashioned murder mysteries, set in Bath, England. Diamond & his team solve their puzzles one piece at a time in the way good Policemen do. I heartily recommend these engaging stories.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No one writing today does locked room mysteries as good as P Oct. 31 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
The Bloodhounds are a weird mystery fan group who meet in strange places like crypts to hold discussions. Just prior to tonight's meeting Milo finds a rare Penny Black stamp inside a John Dickson Carr novel; the stamp was recently stolen from the Postal Museum. Not long afterward, Milo is found dead in his locked riverboat and the stamp is missing.

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.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Lovesey's homage to John Dickson Carr May 24 2012
By Grey Wolffe - Published on
John Dickson Carr was the practitioner of the 'Locked Room Mystery' in the thirties. His books were known for their style and atmosphere. In this forth book in the 'Diamond' series, our intrepid Chief Inspector Peter Lovesey, is involved with his first big case since being reinstated at the end of 'The Summons'. At the beginning of the book he is found complaining that he hasn't had much to do back at his old job because no one seems to be murdering anyone lately. Times are hard and he can't just go out looking for business.

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.

Zeb Kantrowitz
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