A Bath antiques dealer has disappeared, and detective Peter Diamond has been saddled with the "help" of a hardboiled Philip Marlowe wannabe private investigator in cracking the case. MWA Grand Master Peter Lovesey's 20th installment in the award-winning series will have readers laughing from the first page.
If there's one thing detective Bath Peter Diamond has no patience for, it's a dumb git trying to get involved in one of his investigations—for example, a Philip Marlowe-wannabee private investigator like the self-styled Johnny Getz (his card claims he Getz results). But fate has saddled Diamond with this trial. A Bath antiques dealer, Septimus "Seppy" Hubbard, has disappeared without a trace, and his daughter, Ruby, has hired Johnny Getz to find him. When a dead body is discovered in Seppy's locked-up store, the missing persons case becomes a murder investigation, and now Diamond has to collaborate with the insufferable private eye.
At the start of MWA Grandmaster Lovesey's entertaining, often amusing 20th Peter Diamond investigation (after 2020's The Finisher), the Bath, England, detective superintendent is annoyed to be accosted at a pub by private eye Johnny Getz (his business card reads: Getz results), who needs Diamond's help. Getz has been hired by Ruby Hubbard to find her antique dealer father, who went missing after a recent break-in at his shop. Since the shop is now a crime scene, Ruby needs police permission to enter the premises and see what was taken. Diamond reluctantly joins forces with Getz, and the mismatched duo soon stumble on a corpse in a mummy case, the first of several bodies. Meanwhile, Ruby is shot in the head and slips into a coma. Chapters narrated by Getz, full of 1940s American slang ("I'm a take-whatever-comes-and-sock-it-back-to-them kind of guy") and put-downs of Diamond ("Everything about him screamed idle bastard"), enliven what he calls the "snaggy saga" as the action builds to a Poirot-like solution to the "wandering father job." Though this is a slighter entry in the Diamond canon, fans won't be disappointed.