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The Last Detective (Peter Diamond #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,418 Ratings  ·  274 Reviews
Irascible, corpulent, cynical Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond of the Avon and Somerset murder squad attributes Britain's decline as a world power to the abolition of capital punishment in 1964. Spurning computer gadgetry, he sticks to common sense, index cards and gumshoeing: "Knocking on doors. That's how we get results." The almost clueless case of the naked woman's b ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published by Soho Crime (first published 1991)
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Ian Wood The Peter Davison series was based on Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective by Leslie Thomas. Nothing to do with this story. This is the danger of not…moreThe Peter Davison series was based on Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective by Leslie Thomas. Nothing to do with this story. This is the danger of not picking a unique title for your novel! Let us all beware!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rob Kitchin
The Last Detective is a police procedural in the traditional, British form - think Colin Dexter, John Harvey or Ian Rankin. Lovesey tries to break the form up by varying the point of view, the book divided into parts, with each told from the perspective of a different character. It’s a useful device to add some depth to what is a fairly mundane story. The characterisation is good, although it’s difficult to warm to Diamond until near the end of the book and at that point his personality seems to ...more
Sue
Jul 20, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new British mystery series begun---and at the beginning! There is always something nice about reading the first of a series, even 20 years after it was written, seeing how the "last detective" begins his cases, just how curmudgeonly he is or isn't, how he deals with adversity, with facts, with speculation. Well Peter Lovesey has met the test for me and I will be returning for more of Peter Diamond's adventures. I enjoyed the detection, the wit in the prose and the working out of the mystery.
Re
...more
Suzy
Jan 26, 2016 Suzy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: Kathleen Teegarden
3 1/2 stars

I really enjoyed this first in a mystery series featuring Peter Diamond. I was introduced to it when I asked my friend Kathleen about her favorite books of 2015 and this was on the list. Diamond appears on the surface as a strong-arm, arrogant detective, but is shown to be more than what's on the surface in the course of this story. A woman is found naked in a lake at the beginning of the book and it appears that there are no clues to go on. Diamond to the rescue! He is old school, do
...more
Trish
Feb 04, 2011 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, audio
The Inspector Peter Diamond mystery series by Peter Lovesey has been on my reading list for some time. I am pleased to discover that The Last Detective turns out to be the first in the series. As I read, I was struck with the obvious erudition of the author, the complex and somewhat daring change of voice throughout the narrative, the presentation of fine moral and ethical questions, and the unsettling ambiguity of the ending. The main character, Peter Diamond, is meant to be a "diamond in the r ...more
LJ
First Sentence: A man stood thigh-deep in water, motionless, absorbed, unaware of what was drifting towards him.

A naked woman is found dead. The first challenging is determining her cause of death; the second is finding out who she is. Eventually the identity is known and an obvious suspect presents itself. Or does it?

While the justice system is determined to convict their suspect, Diamond is so certain they are wrong, he makes an important personal decision that alters his life but not his det
...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
''The Last Detective' is the first in a series. It was published in 1991, and it features the 41-year-old English Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond. He is overweight, hates computers and scientific methods, and he wears a brown trilby over a bald head with a silver fringe. He strikes many of his colleagues as overbearing and opinionated, but he is is without question a good detective with the proof of many solved murders. He thinks the old methods are best: knocking on doors and interviews. ...more
Susan
Mar 19, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
This book was actually a pick for my mystery book club and my first chance to read a book by Lovesey. I found that I really enjoyed reading about Lovesey's Diamond and found it to be a really good mystery. I really liked how Lovesey changed points of view throughout the book giving the reader the opportunity to get different points of view of the same event as well as a better development of the characters involved. Gregory and Dana were both developed very well considering that both turned out ...more
Marsali Taylor
Dec 06, 2012 Marsali Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must have read this before, as it was on my 'read' shelves, rather than in the always overflowing 'to read' box, but I couldn't remember it at all, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Diamond, the 'last detective' is a grumpy eccentric in the Morse / Rebus mould, and the Bath setting was vividly drawn. The puzzle was good, with neat twists, and the in-fighting at the police station an enjoyable part of the plot.

I went on to re-read two others, one lively one about a crime-book-club, 'The Bloodh
...more
Teresa
Jun 25, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really....3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 stars. I loved the setting of Bath and Bristol, Avon in southwest UK. Peter Diamond hates all the new technology and wants to use his noggin' for figuring things out. It's endearing. But the character is also terribly flawed in ways--a grumpy, snarly old guy who often doesn't listen to others. Still, in the end, you end up really loving the guy completely. The story is complex and even though I had figured out early on 'who dun-it', there was enough compl ...more
Jo
Apr 13, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My sister suggested that I read a Peter Lovesey mystery after my trip to Bath, England. I started with his first Peter Diamond mystery, "The Last Detective.''

I had so much fun recognizing the places in the story, but you don't have to be familiar with the delights of Bath to enjoy the book. I also appreciated how the author threw in references to Jane Austen, who lived in Bath for several years and made it the setting of two novels.

At first I wasn't sure I cared for the protagonist, Detective
...more
Phyllis
Feb 22, 2015 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun, fast-paced Brit mystery with a protagonist who is quite engaging. I decided to start in on the book last night, and I just had to finish it today! The suspects were engaging and believable; the plot and sub-plot(s) kept my interest to the end. The literary device of switching p.o.v. was well done and not confusing to the reader. I would have given it five stars, but there was, unfortunately, the obligatory 'bash and bang up the hero' near the end. That gets rather old. So..four st ...more
Lauren Fidler
I was surprised by this one. It took about 25 pages or so to get into it, and there were a lot of early red herrings and meandering passages about the tedious nature of detective work, but once the mystery really started unwrapping, it was good!

I actually liked Peter Diamond, although not so much his name, I admit. We share an apprehension of technology and a deep-rooted need to prove ourselves.

decent mystery and pacing, good characters, fast read

3.5 stars
Pamela Mclaren
Somehow, in all my reading I have never read "The Last Detective," the first book in the Peter Diamond series. I don't remember having read any of the Peter Diamond series before, so what I delight it was to start with this first one, a magnificent and smart mystery with multiple layers, twists and turns. As The Wall Street Journal noted in their review "Witty … a perfectly realized murder mystery. I look forward to joining Diamond in further adventures and trying more of Peter Lovesey's intrigu ...more
Eric_W
Jan 31, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beverly
This turned out to be a decent British police procedural, but not outstanding. At first I disliked this story set in Bath, because of the arch tone, and the Jane Austen connection was pitched to a low brow level. As for the irascible detective, Colin Dexter and even Ian Rankin have of course done it better. As a detective character Peter Diamond never quite came to life. He may actually be closer to Rendell's Reggie Wexford than to Morse or Rebus. This story of a lady found floating in a lake be ...more
Eugene
Apr 08, 2016 Eugene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, good-mysteries
Well, well, well! Had not read Peter Lovesey before, wasn't sure based on reader reviews that this would be my cup of tea - wonder of wonders! The proverbial "got better with each succeeding page" book. This really grew on me: you know it's a good one when you hate to turn that last page. Excellent plot, dense and intricate but not confusing, characters that are sharply drawn and interesting, and a protagonist that one really comes to enjoy. And the climax was gangbusters, those last few scenes ...more
Middle Sister
It started with The Last Detective.

Soho Crime, celebrating 25 years of publishing international crime fiction, has thrown down the gauntlet with a reading challenge, and I’ve accepted – beginning with the first of 16 books in the Peter Diamond series. I have two months to read my way through Peter Lovesey. I didn’t need two days to read The Last Detective.

The book won the 1992 Anthony Boucher Award for Best Mystery, and I’ve no quarrel with that decision. I was captivated from the introduction o
...more
Beverly
Jan 31, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my Mystery book discussion this month and once again I must ask myself how many great books I would miss out on if I wasn't in all the book discussions that I am. What I loved the most about this English mystery is that unlike many mysteries written there which have dozens of characters to keep track of, this book had a manageable number. It was easy to follow the story line and keep everyone straight but also had enough characters to give a number of suspects and it kept me ...more
Mal Warwick
Jan 11, 2016 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Detective, published in 1991, was the first in a series of Peter Lovesey’s 15 murder mysteries featuring detective Peter Diamond. Earlier this year I read and reviewed the fifteenth, Down Among the Dead Men, which I enjoyed enough to send me back to the early days in the series.

A fiendishly clever murder mystery

The Last Detective begins like a traditional murder mystery but quickly veers off course into a series of puzzling discoveries. The plot is full of suspense. It’s no wonder Loves
...more
Kallierose
Jun 23, 2016 Kallierose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of who-dun-its
This is the first book I've ever read by Peter Lovesey but it won't be the last.

Peter Diamond is called the last detective because although he grudgingly uses the new technology that the world has to offer, he doesn't rely on it blindly, and it's a good thing he doesn't. Things aren't always what they seem.

Diamond is an abrasive character, yet still compassionate, and charming in his own weird way, and I found myself rooting for him. The other main characters (well, the suspects, at least) were
...more
Delany
May 13, 2013 Delany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just started this one. So far, so good.

Finished it -- pretty good. There's a whole series with this detective, and I'm thinking they'll be good as novels to take on trips.
Donna
First in what has become the long running Peter Diamond series. Terrific story with twists and turns and complex characters. I am looking forward to more in this series.
Ashley
Mar 13, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysery-thrillers
This was one of the most interestingly written mystery novels I have read in a long time. First of all it's a police procedural which is very different from most of the mystery novels out there. It wasn't so much like CSI, Peter Diamond is specifically against all that technology, but it did focus heavily on suspect interviews and interactions within the police department. The book is actually divided into parts, two of which are narrated by two suspects as they give their account of events duri ...more
Susan in NC
3.5 stars - 3/4 of the way through this police procedural I was frustrated and thinking I'd never read another Diamond mystery because I found the detective insufferably cranky and unlikeable, although I really enjoyed Lovesey's writing. Then Diamond quits the force in frustration, we finally meet his long-suffering wife, he turns into a likeable curmudgeon and investigates on his own and voila - we've got a four-star humdinger of a finish and I'm a new fan...

This investigation of a nude dead wo
...more
Pamela
Sep 19, 2013 Pamela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(This is based on the audio version)

Let's count the cliches, shall we?

Peter Diamond, the detective and main character
1. Is old*
2. Is grumpy--not in a cute curmudgeon sort of way but more in a punch-you-in-the-face sort of way
3. Doesn't like new-fangled technology like computers and microwave ovens (who didn't know how to work a microwave in 1991?)
4. Thinks his boss is an idiot
5. Thinks his co-workers are idiots
6. Has a past history of violence toward suspects and those he considers idiots
7. Has
...more
Bonnie
Jun 01, 2013 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in a new series by Peter Lovesey introducing Peter Diamond as CID Head of the Murder Squad in Bath, England. The reader gets to know the blunt and burly detective who plunges into investigations headfirst unaware of anything, including people's feelings, in his desire for justice and solving the crime. Diamond learns a body has been found floating in a Bristol lake and dives in to find out who the woman is and who killed her. Diamond scorns computer "gadgetry" and relies on old-fa ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

[I read this for a mailing list discussion so comments may be out of context and will probably contain spoilers]

[on diamond, cliches]

I surprised myself by liking Diamond. At first I thought I wasn't going to hit it off with him and his anti-technology stance was going to bug the hell out of me. After a while though I felt that he wasn't totally against new ways of doing policework just sceptical of the way some of his co-workers thought of them as a *replacement* for old-fashioned policework r

...more
A. Roy King
May 24, 2015 A. Roy King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first novel in Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series, "The Last Detective" centers on the cantankerous British inspector Peter Diamond, called the last detective because he relies on old-fashioned brainpower and investigation to get the job done, rather than technology and lab work. In this first novel, Diamond must solve the mystery of a beautiful woman found naked and floating in a lake.

This is great writing and great detective fiction. Written in 1991, it will sound a little dated in its r
...more
Kari
Oct 10, 2014 Kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2014
The Last Detective is a random pick from my library. I haven't read any of the books from this series so I figured I'd give it a try. I really enjoyed this book. It's a straight police procedural with a great mystery. I liked the way it was told from different points of view because it made the book more interesting. There are a few twists with several suspects, but it wasn't annoying.

I will admit to not liking Peter Diamond much in the beginning of the book. He was kind of a jerk. But, I start
...more
Virginia Van
When a woman's nude body is found in a local lake, Peter Diamond is sure her husband must be the killer. Why else would he not have reported her missing? But the plot becomes muddied by the rescue of a young boy from drowning and the disappearance of two previously unknown letters by Jane Austen. A classic British mystery, well plotted and with lots of splendid details for lovers of Bath and Jane Austen.
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New York Times Gr...: March 2016 5 2 Mar 20, 2016 08:27PM  
English Mysteries...: August 2014 - The Last Detective 56 143 Aug 31, 2014 12:20PM  
Kindle English My...: April Group Read 2013 - The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey 16 35 Apr 23, 2013 03:23PM  
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Peter (Harmer) Lovesey (born 1936 in Whitton, Middlesex) is a British writer of historical and contemporary crime novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Lovesey's novels and stories mainly fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the "Golden ...more
More about Peter Lovesey...

Other Books in the Series

Peter Diamond (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Diamond Solitaire (Peter Diamond, #2)
  • The Summons (Peter Diamond, #3)
  • Bloodhounds (Peter Diamond, #4)
  • Upon A Dark Night (Peter Diamond, #5)
  • The Vault (Peter Diamond, #6)
  • Diamond Dust (Peter Diamond, #7)
  • The House Sitter (Peter Diamond, #8)
  • The Secret Hangman (Peter Diamond, #9)
  • Skeleton Hill (Peter Diamond, #10)
  • Stagestruck (Peter Diamond, #11)

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