Peter Diamond, ex-CID and notoriously difficult to work with, is sacked from his latest job as a security guard in Harrods. Doggedly he turns his sleuthing skills to unravelling the mystery of a little Japanese girl abandoned in London. Naomi, as she is known, exhibits the classic symptoms of an autistic child. Diamond regards her first as a challenge and soon as someone he cares passionately about, and devotes himself to communicating with the child. He is close to a breakthrough when Naomi is abducted to New York.
By interpreting clues from drawings left by Naomi, Diamond goes in pursuit and is plunged into a maelstrom of murder and the mafia, suicide and drugs.
Lovesey brings back Peter Diamond, the likable, pudgy London copper introduced in 1991's sparkling and precisely plotted The Last Detective . Stripped of his rank, Diamond is working as a Harrods' rent-a-cop--until a young Japanese girl is found hiding in the store during his watch and he receives another pink slip. With time free, he investigates the identity of the youngster, now named Naomi, who remains silent and unclaimed. When she is abducted, Diamond traces her to New York and Japan where a Sumo wrestler agrees to bankroll the ex-copper's highly unofficial investigation. Lovesey's grip on the plot never loosens as Diamond, with gentle humor, bluffs his way past authorities by feigning a clout he no longer possesses. At the beginning of the book, a drug company is rocked by both the death of its president and an explosion at an Italian chemical plant. The ensuing corporate power struggle suggests to ever-observant organized crime factions that a buck might be made, and a murder is arranged. How this fits into the moving tale of the mute girl who draws diamonds on paper to symbolize her new friend is clarified only near the conclusion. It's a powerful moment in a book that, without gimmickry or cross-genre splicing, delivers superb, unashamedly traditional crime writing. Lovesey's mysteries have won awards in England and France; he has previously been nominated for an Edgar, as he could be again for this fine tale. Author tour.