Peter Lovesey, MWA Grand Master and titan of the English detective novel, returns readers to Bath with the eighteenth mystery in his critically acclaimed Peter Diamond series.
As a New Year begins in Bath, Ben Brace proposes to his long-term girlfriend, Caroline, the daughter of notorious crime baron Joe Irving, who is coming to the end of a prison sentence. The problem is that Ben’s father, George, is the Deputy Chief Constable. A more uncomfortable set of in-laws would be hard to imagine. But mothers and sons are a formidable force: a wedding in the Abbey and reception in the Roman Baths are arranged before the career-obsessed DCC can step in.
Peter Diamond, Bath’s head of CID, is appalled to be put in charge of security on the day. Ordered to be discreet, he packs a gun and a guest list in his best suit and must somehow cope with potential killers, gang rivals, warring parents, bossy photographers and straying bridesmaids. The laid-back Joe Irving seems oblivious to the danger he is in from rival gang leaders, while Brace can’t wait for the day to end. Will the photo session be a literal shoot? Will Joe Irving’s speech as father of the bride be his last words? Can Diamond pull off a miracle, avert a tragedy and send the happy couple on their honeymoon?
Edgar finalist Lovesey tries the patience of whodunit fans by delaying the murder for much of his tricky 18th novel featuring Bath CID Supt. Peter Diamond (after 2017's Beau Death). When Deputy Chief Const. George Brace learns that the father of his son's fianc e is notorious gang lord Joe Irving, who's about to be released from prison, he worries that Joe's freedom will make him a target for his underworld rivals. Brace taps Diamond to ensure that the wedding comes off without Joe being assassinated at either the ceremony or the reception. Scenes from the perspective of an unidentified sniper trying to get Joe in his sights raise the tension. Eventually, blood is shed, transforming the plot from a cat-and-mouse yarn into an impossible crime mystery. A prologue, set three years earlier, depicts a sophisticated scheme to break prisoners, including Joe, out of their high-security facility. Its relevance eventually becomes chillingly clear. Lovesey connects the dots plausibly and, as always, lightens the mood with dry wit. Even at less than his best, Lovesey satisfies.