Down Among the Dead Men

Written by Peter Lovesey

Review written by Stephen Thornley

An avid reader, Stephen's knowledge of Crime Fiction is fairly extensive, with The Golden Age is his greatest interest.


Down Among the Dead Men
Sphere
RRP: £19.99
Released: July 2, 2015
Hbk

Another Diamond dazzler from Peter Lovesey.

 

I do enjoy the cases of Mr Lovesey's Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond. He feels like a real copper to me, he is about hunches and theories, a character who tests his ideas with the evidence he uncovers. He has his weaknesses, his failures, but he has that clear thinking ability to spot the important clues.

 

This book has DS Diamond going to the South Coast with his female boss ACC Dallymore. They form an unlikely partnership to carry out an internal investigation at the request of Sussex Police. The investigation becomes more difficult when Diamond finds that it is an old colleague, someone he had worked with, Hen Mallin, who is the subject of the internal investigation. He also discovers that his boss has been called in not for her abilities but rather for her lack of ability to identify important clues. The case involves an unsolved murder, a possible miscarriage of justice and missing persons.

 

A small-time car thief had been put away as an accessory in a murder case, but after seven years he is still professing his innocence. The case was mishandled by Hen when her niece's DNA was linked to the car the body was found in. Hen admits making an error. The only way to save his colleague's reputation and career is for Diamond to solve the murder, find the missing persons and maybe prove a plot to discredit Hen.

 

The wit and verve of the writing pull you in, and along you go turning page after page. The case is a real gem for the character and shows him at his best. The case becomes more complicated when an art teacher from a local girls' school is reported missing and a student becomes concerned about the teacher's safety. What can link the art teacher and school to the murder and missing persons.

 

Master craftsman Lovesey weaves his threads to make a spider's web of theories, evidence and incidents that he finally spins together into a silken bow of a present for us all at the finish. Diamond collects all the threads to reveal the shocking truth behind the missing persons connects those with the original murder case and finds the murderer.

 

If you haven't read a Peter Diamond before this book is a great one to start off on. They are police procedurals but written with a style and pace that doesn't give you chance to think, “I am fed up with plodding through interview after interview, I'll make a cup of tea.” My tea was cold when I remembered I'd one to drink.

 

I do wonder why this fine detective series hasn't been picked up by one of the TV companies. Surely, it has all the credentials necessary. Great characters, impressive storylines, a picture postcard setting – it's all there. Perhaps after Sergeant Cribb Mr Lovesey has had enough of the small screen. As long as he keeps writing about Peter Diamond I'll be happy.

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