cover image Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds

Peter Lovesey, Author Mysterious Press $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-89296-645-5

The Last Detective (1992) inaugurated this series with a bang. It was followed by Diamond Solitaire (1993) and 1995's Edgar-nominated The Summons. With this fourth installment, veteran English author Lovesey gives us his laconic Bath policeman Peter Diamond in full dazzle. The Bloodhounds are a diverse group of mystery fans who meet in a dark crypt and talk. One night before the subject of locked-room puzzles is brought up, Milo, one of the group, opens a prized book and finds the rare Penny Black stamp recently stolen from a nearby museum. Milo is suitably puzzled. A little later, Milo is found dead in his tightly locked riverboat. The coppers have two perplexing puzzles to solve, and Diamond's sharp temper is soon sorely tested by the thief/killer, who sends the police and the media cute riddles. Diamond comes up with a perfectly workable scenario for what happened, which readers are given just enough time to swallow before Lovesey reveals the real thief and killer. With this especially effective conclusion, Lovesey demonstrates that his embrace of crime fiction reaches from John Dickson Carr to Andrew Vachss as he skillfully pays homage to the old style whodunit in this thoroughly modern mystery. (Dec.)