“Peter Lovesey tosses off a real brain-banger in Bloodhounds, the fourth book in a challenging series . . . I am mad for these pyrotechnic teasers, and this one had my head spinning.”—The New York Times Book Review
A rare stamp and a corpse are discovered in Bath within hours of each other. As he investigates, Inspector Peter Diamond discovers that both the person who found the stamp and the victim belong to the Bloodhounds, an elite group of mystery lovers, who now urge Diamond to bring the murderer to justice. But there’s a hitch: the body lies inside a padlocked houseboat and the only key is in the pocket of a man with an airtight alibi.
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.
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This detective Peter Diamond mystery was quite interesting until the end. The author appears to have just run out of energy. Diamond solved the case in an interesting twist of deductive reasoning and then......nothing. Too many loose ends were left unresolved. I'm disappointed in this one.