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)
A venerable series in detective fiction
Bloodhounds is the fourth book in Lovesey’s venerable series featuring Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, where he heads up the murder squad. Diamond, recently reinstated and promoted, is his usual irascible self. Though he is clearly a brilliant detective, his enormous size and his brusque treatment of those around him frequently inspire fear rather than respect. The sole exception is his favorite investigator and sidekick, Detective Inspector Julie Hargreaves. Bravely, she sometimes dares to talk back. Hargreaves, too, we know, is a brilliant detective—though perhaps a tad less so than her boss.
Three baffling riddles
In Bloodhounds, a taunting riddle sent to the police and to all local news media seems to predict the imminent theft of the one extraordinarily valuable painting in Bath’s art museum. (It’s a typically gloomy landscape by the overrated British artist, J.M.W. Turner.) This is the first of three such riddles, each one of which serves as the key to one of the novel’s three parts. Though the early focus is on the promised theft, it’s no surprise that soon a murder takes place—perhaps related to the theft, or maybe not.
The Bloodhounds of the book’s title are a small group of mystery fans who meet weekly to recommend books to one another and argue about the relative merits of the field’s many subgenres (whodunits, thrillers, police procedurals, stories about amateur detectives, etc.). As the novel unfolds, the seven members of the group become the chief suspects in the theft—naturally, one does take place—and later fall under suspicion in the murder mystery as well. The Bloodhounds, four women and three men, include a cast of eccentric characters that could only be assembled in Great Britain.
The tensions and suspicions among them enliven the story.
Bloodhounds is written with a lighter touch than the earlier Peter Diamond novels. Both the interactions among the amateur sleuths in the group and Diamond’s clumsy and sarcastic commentary are frequently funny. Any fan of mystery novels will enjoy reading Bloodhounds. Lovesey obviously had fun writing this book!
Of course they are a crazy group of people, right out of a British movie. The weird guy who will not talk and had a past "breakdown", the weird woman who dresses in bygone era clothes, the guy no one likes, the women who argues with everyone, the man/woman who always want to tell every detail to the cops, while the others want to back away and pretend they are not involved.
Like any group we have ever known, this group of people is often fighting about which fictional detective is the best. And who should they read and discuss at the next meeting. This is the biggest group of fictional detective snobs ever! So they are never making much progress on their reading lists and want new members to join to tip the odds of getting the books they personally want.
Murder is a simple but puzzling one, a man is killed on a locked houseboat, one key can open the door, and the holder had an airtight alibi. Then who really dun it, and how?
Another great Peter Diamond mystery. The poor detective is always working will irritating staff, this time with John Wigfull, who reports all of Diamond's mistakes, and works against him most of the time. Don't we know people just like him?