Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Summons by Peter Lovesey

Peter Diamond is back in The Summons (1995), the third in the series about this hefty detective who, in the first book (The Last Detective), resigned in a fit of pique from the Bath police department and moved with his wife to London.

Now, he has been called back to Bath to assist the CID and finds himself working alongside officers that he used to be in charge of. Seems a certain John Mountjoy, convicted murderer, has escaped from prison and has kidnapped Assistant Chief Constable Tott's daughter, Samantha, and is holding her hostage.  The ransom demand is that Diamond find out who was really the killer.

Mountjoy has always claimed he was innocent of the murder of a journalist four years ago and it was Diamond's investigation that led to Mountjoy's conviction.

The opening sequence, recounting Mountjoy's escape from prison, is brilliantly played. The action moves along even more quickly from there as Diamond works with the assistance of Inspector Julie Hargreaves to follow the cold trail of clues.

Diamond, who has been taking odd jobs in London - security guard, Santa Claus, supermarket trolley collector - finds he is thrilled to be back on the chase - even as a civilian. He parlays his knowledge of Mountjoy and his new-found usefulness to the police bigwigs into a bid to get his old job back. 

I am so glad that Diamond is back in Bath. Buskers, a funeral for a horse, and a chase through a dilapidated old hotel are just a few of the people and places the reader encounters here. There is even a squad of squatters who have been living in a house thought to have once been occupied by Jane Austen. 

I feel as if Peter Lovesey hit his stride with Diamond in this procedural. It was all very entertaining and I was totally surprised at the identity of the killer. Quite thrilling!

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