The eighth Peter Diamond Mystery, also introducing Hen Mallin, from Peter Lovesey's award-winning series.
Shortlisted for the Barry Award.
At first everyone presumes that the woman behind the windbreak is asleep. It is only when the tide comes in, lapping at her feet, that the horrific crime is discovered.
The woman is identified as Emma Tysoe, top psychologist and criminal profiler. Bath detective Peter Diamond and DCI Hen Mallen are desperate for answers: why was she sun-bathing alone so far from home? Where is the murder weapon? What happened to the man who found her?
When they discover that Emma was secretly investigating the assassination of a celebrity, the case seems tantalisingly near to a close. But as a cold and calculating killer shakes their grasp, even Diamond struggles to make all the pieces fit.
In his eighth Inspector Diamond mystery (after 2002's Diamond Dust), Lovesey demonstrates, lest anyone doubt, how richly he deserves the British Crime Writers Association's Lifetime Achievement award. It's been about a year since Inspector Diamond's wife was murdered, and he's back at the helm of the Bath homicide squad when he hears from Inspector Henrietta "Hen" Mallin. Hen and her team have identified a murder victim found on a Sussex beach as Emma Tysoe, reported missing from her teaching position at the university in Bath. More interesting to both police units is Emma's side job as criminal profiler. Thus two puzzles neatly intersect: who killed the profiler, and who is the killer the profiler was tracking? The two detectives approach the question from opposite ends, slowly forging an effective, respectful partnership. Hen, a petite, cigar-smoking dynamo who gained her rank on sheer talent, offers something few in Bath CID would have believed possible an equal match for Peter Diamond. Lovesey is a master of intricate plotting. A Paiute water basket is not more tightly constructed than this extraordinary story, nor more exquisite. The identity of the killer, when finally revealed, is genuinely startling, and not because of authorial obfuscation. The writing is as smooth as polished steel, and the small touches that reveal character, especially the memorable Hen, approach genius. This is Lovesey at his best.