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The Last Detective

(Peter Diamond #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,722 Ratings  ·  458 Reviews
A nude female floats dead in a large reservoir lake south of Bristol. To solve the "Lady of the Lake" mystery, and save a woman unjustly accused, Sussex Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond must find two missing letters attributed to Jane Austen, and defy his superiors.  
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2003 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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Rob Kitchin
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peter Diamond
Was in London
Now in Bath

The lady in the lake
An unknown floater
How was she killed ?

The novel is divided to 5 main parts
Each chapter is written like a short story
A cliffhanger
Or a bomb at the end

We meet the suspects
We read the transcripts
We join Diamond and see when he gets kicked out of the force

And we are in the trail
Front seats
And the drama unfolds in front of us

Diamond is Indeed the last detective
He is perfect for anyone who enjoys John Rebus
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I have read other books by Lovesey and I finally got around to reading the first book in the Peter Diamond series. Frankly, part one of the book reminded me of why I've grown tired of police procedurals because it was fairly plodding and conventional. It wasn't until part two of the book that it started getting twisty and interesting. It was well plotted with lots of suspects and, although I guessed who the murderer was, the writing had me doubting my choice up until the end. The narration of th ...more

Read by.................. Simon Prebble
Total Runtime......... 11 Hours 28 Mins

Description: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is the last detective: a genuine gumshoe, committed to door-stopping and deduction rather than fancy computer gadgetry. So when the naked body of a woman is found floating in the weeds in a lake near Bath with no one willing to identify her, no marks and no murder weapon, his sleuthing abilities are tested to the limit. Struggling with a jigsaw puzzle of truant choirb
Jun 25, 2012 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.
Sep 21, 2012 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
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
Linda Baker
The Last Detective is a book that has been on my vast "to be read" list for a very long time. First published in 1992, it won the Anthony Boucher Award for Best Mystery Novel in that year and was considered groundbreaking. Overweight, technophobic, irascible and blunt to the point of rudeness, Peter Diamond was a different type of detective in British Crime fiction. I think I may have read one or two of the series but never the book that started it all.

Set in Bath, the nude body of a woman is f
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, mysteries
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
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, the "last detective" was my "last" lost book. Every now and then a memory bell would clang "Peter Lovesey" and I couldn't figure it out. Lately I have seen GR reviewers mention how much they like the Peter Diamond series so I finally ran out of good stuff to read in my list and did a search on my Amazon content. Ta-da! I bought this book years ago and some event kept me from it. Right now the book is only 1.99 on Amazon, rather a bargain!
I enjoyed finally reading this introduction to Pe
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this leading character. My local library just picked up the re-issued paperback editions of the I'll get to know this grouchy and warm-hearted detective.
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
Marsali Taylor
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Detective is the first book in the Peter Diamond series. The location of the story is Bath England. Peter Diamond does not like technology and prefers to do his detecting by interviewing and intuition. He is overweight, can be overbearing and has strong opinions. There is not much of a democracy for those working under him. At first I thought there are so many books in this series and Peter Diamond is not a likable character. I wondered how he held up through the series. However, by the ...more
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
DNF at 71%

Basically, I got this email from Netgalley, teasing me with the promise of getting to read basically a whole series for free so long as I read, reviewed with a specific sentence in it, sent the link off to this email, and they'd send me it. Probably electronically. So, I thought, what the hell? Could be fun.

I was wrong.

It took me 20% to really get interested into it. It was at ~40% where I realized I didn't know anyone's name and would not be able to answer it if someone asked me. It w
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
This was a solid detective novel with an interesting plot and good character development.

Although the writing was very good, the one detail that nagged at me was the way many plot elements and back stories were revealed. Much of the story is told through statements made by suspects/witnesses being interviewed by the detective. When asked a simple question like "when did you meet the suspect?", the character would go into a pages-long, VERY detailed narrative going back several years before they
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
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
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
L.E. 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
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
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May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Vannessa Anderson
Author Peter Lovesey is one of my favorite WHODUNNIT writers! Lovesey is among the few authors I’ve read who has the ability to make all of the characters he introduces suspects!

Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is a gumshoe detective who solves crimes wearing out the soles of his shoes. He’ll re-interview suspects, no matter the number of visits, until he is satisfied that he has gotten all he could from them. In the Last Detective, Diamond is searching for the murderer of a once famous so
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
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.
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Narrator: Simon Prebble

4.5 stars

I can't say enough how glad I am to stumble on a Brit crime series that has me stretching and yawning every now and then! While I'd prefer my police procedural protagonists to look like PD James' Adam Dalgliesh instead of Peter Diamond - who's balding and obese - this series is turning out to be a winner (I'm already in the second book and it's good!).

I can't say I liked the author's decision to giv alternate 1st Person POVs
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-copy
This seemed a bit dated, but was a terrific plot and ended with excitement.

Peter Diamond is one of the old school, not anxious to jump into the new scientific resources used to clear murder cases. He is under review by his superiors, and encumbered with one of their people as his assistant.

He does not think much of him for the most part, and sends him off on little projects tangential to the investigation. When they interview witnesses, he takes the lead.

This is told in several "books" with two
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New York Times Gr...: March 2016 5 4 Mar 20, 2016 08:27PM  
English Mysteries...: August 2014 - The Last Detective 56 144 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

Other books in the series

Peter Diamond (1 - 10 of 17 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; Inspector Henrietta Mallin .5)
  • The Secret Hangman (Peter Diamond, #9)
  • Skeleton Hill (Peter Diamond, #10)
  • Stagestruck (Peter Diamond, #11)
“she had been perfectly agreeable until I showed my face. That’s how it is with that kind of madness. Ninety-nine per cent of the time they seem perfectly sane.” 0 likes
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