The Summons (Peter Diamond #3) Paperback
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The escaped murderer (Mountjoy) had read the article in the paper and used the kidnapping of Tott's daughter Samantha (Sam) as leverage to get Diamond put back on his case. He claims he was falsely convicted and wants Diamond to take another look at the case. At the time of his arrest, he was the prime suspect and everyone else, was 'supposedly' eliminated. But did Diamond do a 'thorough' job? With the help of one of his old team of detectives he goes through the case with a fine tooth comb looking for anything they may have missed the first time around.
Lovesey does a fabulous job of finding tiny discrepancies that were easily missed during the pressure of a murder investigation when the supposed' perpetrator is already in jail. What makes this believable is that Diamond and Inspector Julie Hargreaves run into dead ends and have fruitless searches during the investigation. It doesn't go smoothly nor should it. Though there are no red herrings in the story, there is some information that the reader is not privy to, that would have made it easier to come up with the 'motive' for the murder but not the murderer. All in all a good job with a teaser at the end as to how the series will progress.
Diamond has resigned from his Bath CID in a huff and, as this book begins, he is repenting at leisure. That changes when he is hauled back to Bath to deal with John Mountjoy, a woman-abusing escaped prison inmate who has kidnapped a CID officer's daughter and is asking for Diamond. A note: the account of Mountjoy's escape from prison is just brilliant.
Mountjoy claims innocence, even though he was convicted of murder. He wants Diamond, the original arresting officer, to reinvestigate. While the CID plays along to try to keep the daughter alive, Diamond digs in and, with the assistance of the sensible and capable Julie Hargreaves, begins to look at the murder investigation again with what he hopes are fresh eyes. And there are things to see with those fresh eyes.
It is a fairly straightforward journey toward the culmination of this reinvestigation and enough fears about the survival of the kidnapped daughter to keep the tension flowing, but some annoying coincidences keep this from being a flawless Diamond. Even so, I feel this was a worthwhile read to be recommended.
Diamond is now faced with a new challenge ... although no longer with the police force, he is being asked to locate the missing woman and help facilitate the recapture of the escaped prisoner. But things are not as simple as they appear. The escaped prisoner maintains his innocence and casts a sliver of doubt in Diamond's mind that perhaps he had the wrong man incarcerated.
Looking through the files from a case that took place more than 3 years ago is challenging enough, but having to consider other potential suspects and attempt to uncover additional evidence is akin to looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. And what is Diamond's end goal anyway?
Is the escaped prisoner telling the truth and will they find the answers and the true murderer or is he just leading them on a merry chase and will he kill his hostage at the end?
I found it very entertaining and I enjoyed the surprising twists that surfaced along the way.
But then two CID men show up at the door of the Diamonds' basement flat late one night, insisting he accompany them back to Bath, where his ex-superior, the Assistant Chief Constable, needs him urgently. A man named Mountjoy, whom Diamond had put away for murder a few years before, has escaped from Albany prison and has taken the ACC's daughter prisoner. Mountjoy insists on talking to Diamond. And when the now civilian Diamond agrees, Mountjoy demands the detective reopen the murder investigation that put him in prison.
The very circumstances -- the escapee returning to Bath like that instead of fleeing the country -- give Diamond pause, and so he begins poking into leads that weren't followed up, possible witnesses and other sources of information who weren't interviewed, since Mountjoy had already been arrested and charged in what seemed a watertight case. Diamond hates thinking he might have made a grave mistake, but he absolutely refuses to lie to himself about it. If it was his fault Mountjoy was put away unjustly, then he will see that justice is done, no matter the damage to the police or to his own reputation. And maybe he can work things so as to get his old job back, too.
This is the third novel in this series (though Lovesey has done a number of other detective series and numerous independent novels), and it's a considerable improvement on the first one and even the second. As he was portrayed at the beginning, the grossly overweight Diamond came across as an out-and-out bully, personally loathed by everyone in his department even while they respected his results. Today, twenty years later, Diamond wouldn't have the slightest chance of ever rising to the rank of superintendent; he probably would have been thrown out before he got to sergeant. Lovesey has mellowed him down, though. He's still caustic and irascible but he's also more willing to listen to others, including the female DI who assists him this time. And the stories certainly benefit from the change. I'll keep following the adventures of DS Diamond.