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The Last Detective

(Peter Diamond #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  4,647 ratings  ·  579 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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GeraniumCat Actually, no - they are different. The book called The Last Detective, by Peter Lovesey is about a detective called Diamond, set in Bath and a long-ru…moreActually, no - they are different. The book called The Last Detective, by Peter Lovesey is about a detective called Diamond, set in Bath and a long-running series, up to 18 books by now, with the 18th published this year. The TV series is about a London detective, Dangerous Davies, based on three books by Leslie Thomas (author of The Virgin Soldiers) - the first in his series wasn't actually called The Last Detective, that was just the name of the TV version.(less)
GeraniumCat No, probably not. While Lovesey's books aren't particularly gritty or gory, and 13-year-olds are probably pretty worldly-wise these days, the plotline…moreNo, probably not. While Lovesey's books aren't particularly gritty or gory, and 13-year-olds are probably pretty worldly-wise these days, the plotlines do reflect some of the seamier aspects of modern life.(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
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
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

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.
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
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
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
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 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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.
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
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
if a good mystery keeps you guessing till the end then this one was very good. The first in what became a series focusing on the work of a police detective, Peter Diamond located in Bath, UK. The story begin with a mysterious nude woman found in a nearby lake. How long she has been there and who she is, is the first mystery solved fairly early on. From there it is on to who did this, when and why. These too are believed solved and even a trial is begun of the accused. All is finally revealed in ...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
Caidyn (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
Deb Jones
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
The title, The Last Detective, refers to the protagonist Peter Diamond. He and those around him in the police force consider him and his methods of detection as the last in the series of gumshoe police -- those who through the years have relied on the basics of investigative techniques -- door-to-door canvasses, the art of interrogation and the use of gut instincts to point in the direction of the perpetrator. Now, though, the time has come where modern forensics and the use of computers has som ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey in a giveaway. Review is unbiased.

As much as I wanted to like this book, I am afraid that I could not even finish it. I was hoping that the book would be more about the police. When the book started going off course about the life of one of the other characters, I lost interest. Please do not my opinion sway you from reading. This was just not my preference. 1 star
David Highton
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, only 42 but overweight and old-fashioned to the extent of shunning the modern technology of 1991 pursues the murder of a naked woman found in a lake near Bath. With the stain of a conviction of an innocent man in London hanging over him he unearths the identity and two suspects before matters change quite significantly.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
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
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
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
3.5* Enjoyed this more than I thought I would considering when it was written, it didn't feel as dated as I expected it to. Love reading about my home town and recognising all the streets and buildings and I will probably continue with the series at some point.
Colin Mitchell
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Probably should be retitled The Last Bully, the character of Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond comes across as just that. He finds himself working in the West Country having been involved in an inquiry regarding his conduct in London. A body is found in the Chew Valley Lake and leads him to interrogate the husband and he is reluctant to accept that he might not be the murderer. The story then becomes quite complex as various pieces of information come together but then the Mr Diamond finds ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan in NC
Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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
John Frankham
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-detective
The first (from 1991) of the now 20 book series starring DCI Peter Diamond, based in Bath.

Peter Lovesey is very well aware of the whole history, highways and byways, of the whodunnit genre, and his detective in this series is gruff, but with a heart of gold, likes door-to-door rather than using the police computer, etc, etc.

This one is a police procedural, with some rather overlong passages, but also different in that it has six parts, each featuring a different key person in the story. This fee
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
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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New York Times Gr...: March 2016 5 4 Mar 20, 2016 08:27PM  
English Mysteries...: August 2014 - The Last Detective 55 144 Aug 31, 2014 12:20PM  
Kindle English My...: April Group Read 2013 - The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey 16 36 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 19 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)

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