UPON A DARK NIGHT by Peter Lovesey


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It's tough heading a murder squad when nobody's getting murdered, and the good people of Bath persist in being good. Stressful is what it is, and it drives Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond to an ilk he detests: doctors. Diagnosis: hypertension caused by underwork. So, naturally, the brilliant if bumptious Diamond seizes on the apparent suicide of a lonely old farmer as an opportunity. Can he, in the interests of occupational therapy, convince the powers-that-be that suicide in this case is actually homicide? Resourceful bloke that he is, he pulls it off. Soon, then, there's another dead body on hand, this time a young woman's. Diamond's archrival, Detective Superintendent Wigfull, says the woman fell from the roof of the apartment building; Diamond insists she was shoved--and once again he carries the day. What's more, he manages to connect the deaths to each other and then both to the disappearance of yet another young woman, an amnesiac. Flimsy at first, the evidence suddenly gains substance, and somewhat to his surprise Diamond tums out to have been right all along. For admirers of this oft-decorated series (Bloodhounds, 1996, etc.), the fun is as much in Diamond the browbeater as it is in Diamond the inductive reasoner. And once again the fat, sly, manipulative detective pushes his oddball charm to the limit. Better than okay, if a little overlong, for this fifth in the series. It begins intriguingly, but then, like the great man himself, gets flabby in the middle. As Diamonds go, give it, maybe, a couple of carats.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1998
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Mysterious