Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Peter Lovesey
Sphere, February 2007
320 pages
17.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847440096

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Three years have passed since DS Peter Diamond made the devastating discovery of his murdered wife's body in a public park. Only now is he beginning to emerge from his haze of grief and mourning to be able to respond to the overtures being made him by a lovely woman. But crime, even in relatively tranquil Bath, must take precedence over personal rehabilitation, no matter how overdue.

Certainly, Georgina, the Assistant Chief Constable and Diamond's boss, is very clear on the question and Georgina is past mistress of the obvious. Ram raids are taking place and shops, as she reminds Diamond, are vital to the local economy.

Far more serious is a series of spectacular deaths that at first appear to be murder-suicides. A woman is found hanging in a children's playground; closer examination reveals that she was first strangled and then suspended from the crossbar of the swings so as to appear a suicide. Shortly thereafter, her husband's body also is found hanging. Did he first kill his wife and then later himself? So it might appear, but when more hanging bodies are discovered, Diamond is sure that a serial killer is at work.

Diamond is not a brilliant detective; he is a dogged one, stubborn, and sometimes wrong. He is far from the model of the modern copper, being neither sensitive to public opinion nor comfortable with technology. He is, however, determined to catch the killer as quickly as possible in order to prevent more deaths. He may risk the wrath of his ACC, he may offend his colleagues, he may follow a trail that leads him in directions he is reluctant to follow, but he will pursue the investigation to the bitter end.

Ninth in what has proved to be a literate, humane, and often affecting series, THE SECRET HANGMAN is one of the best of the lot. Though it may appear to be simply a rather old-fashioned if solid police procedural, its middle-aged, wounded protagonist, uncomfortably caught between the relative certainties of the police work he was trained for and the slippery values of a service in which even forensics is being contracted out to a private firm, acts as a centre of gravity of uncommon interest. It is regrettable that the book's small typeface and miserly margins are in such sharp contrast to its generous spirit.

Reviewed by Yvonne Klein, February 2007

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]