Sent to look into an accident involving two fellow officers from the Avon and Somerset Police, DS Peter Diamond finds himself improbably but compellingly on the trail of an unusually cold-blooded serial killer.
Georgina Dallymore, the boss whom Diamond’s recently been closer with than he’d wanted (Down Among the Dead Men, 2015), wants her star investigator to exonerate Lew Morgan and Aaron Green, the two uniformed officers who’d crashed their patrol car in an effort to avoid hitting Ivor Pellegrini, an old man on a homemade tricycle who now lies in a coma at the Royal United Hospital. It’s too late to question Green, who was killed in the crash, and Morgan didn’t see enough to settle things. But that mostly turns out to be beside the point, because Diamond, who was responsible for spotting Pellegrini hours after the accident, giving him life-saving CPR, and sending him to the hospital, is soon pursuing an altogether different case. People close to Pellegrini have been dying, apparently of natural causes, at an alarming rate in recent months. The dead, all connected to the Great Western Railway Society, of which Pellegrini has been a mainstay, include Massimo Filiput, his old friend Cyril Hardstaff, Cyril’s wife, Winnie, and perhaps others. Who would take the trouble to kill so many inoffensive old people, and how, and why? It’s only after getting tricked into swallowing a red herring deeply laid by the killer, who duly notes the triumph in an encrypted journal, that Diamond eventually identifies his quarry, a deceptively minor character who turns out to be a good deal more major than he’d suspected.
On the long side but so fast-paced you won’t care: another absorbing, resourceful English procedural from one of the best.