cover image Vault-C


Peter Lovesey. Soho Press, $23 (331pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-208-8

Set in 1990s Bath, England (to call the setting modern-day would be misleading, given the moldy ambiance), Lovesey's latest police proceduralDfeaturing his best-known ""copper,"" the oversized and grumpy Peter DiamondDdeftly blends Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, William Blake and '60's hard-rock music. (At one point Diamond drives down the highway lustily singing Queen's ""Another One Bites the Dust."") This story of severed appendages and missing heads moves from the subterranean crypt where Ms. Shelley's pen brought her monster alive, to Peg Redbird's shady antique business, Noble and Nude, and eventually to a pub calledDwith typical Lovesey humorDthe Brains Surgery. American literature professor Joe Dougan and his twittery wife, Donna, arrive in Bath to explore bookstores and boutiques, when corpses begin to litter the landscape. Danger besets them in the form of an attacker who likes to bludgeon his victims and fantasizes himself to be Shelley's monster. Then Donna disappears. As always with this Golden Dagger Award-winning author, the story crackles with wit and urbanity, snappy dialogue and deeper, fouler doings whispering from the wings. Diamond and his put-upon sidekicks, Leaman and Halliwell, chase a madman whose musings tantalize at intervals, while Dougan searches desperately for his absent spouse. This is a stunning tale of the macabre and the mundane. (Oct.)