Andrew Macrae's Reviews > The Last Detective

The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey
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Oct 17, 11

Read from August 05 to 07, 2011

Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond enjoys the view of elegant streets filled with fine and stately homes as he drives into Bath each morning. But at the same time, the policeman in him cannot forget the dark, dirty backsides to those buildings, symbolic of the inner fears and demons that can drive even the most upright citizen to murder.

This book is a twentieth anniversary edition of the first Peter Diamond novel by Peter Lovesey and is being released concurrently with “Stagestruck,” the latest and eleventh in the series.
In this story Peter Diamond wears with pride the title, The Last Detective, bestowed upon him by a retiring fellow officer. Not for him are the computers, databases, and DNA fingerprinting that have come to dominate the police situation room. He believes that old-fashioned police work is the key to solving a crime. And the crime in this case is murder . . . or is it?

A woman’s naked body has risen to the surface of a lake and Diamond and his team go to work. Who is she? How did she die? Where did she die? With little to go on this begins to look like an unsolvable puzzle.

Compounding Diamond’s problems are the circumstances under which he was transferred to Bath two years prior—when charges of excessive force were filed against him. He expects to be exonerated, but two years is a long time to wait. In the meantime he must not only continue to work to win the trust and respect of his team, but keep his larger-than-life personality in check so as not to provide fresh ammunition that can be used against him. Things come to a head when Diamond is yet again accused of using excessive force and his career is threatened.

Peter Lovesey is a master of both plot and pacing. The storyline of “The Last Detective” ebbs and flows in a natural rhythm that allows a pleasing mixture of police procedural work, chases and suspense, moments of introspection, and — always necessary in even the most grim business — humor.

Reviewed by Andrew MacRae for Suspense Magazine

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