A new Peter Diamond mystery is always cause for celebration. Lovesey’s lovable technophobe believes in investigating the hard way, and the result is a classic police procedural filled with red herrings, unexpected twists and a delightful cast. The author is adept at the sleight of hand that keeps even the most experienced mystery reader guessing right up to the denouement, and the plotting is enhanced by deft characterizations, masterful use of the theatrical setting and a narrative laced with sly wit.
Inspector Peter Diamond is assigned to investigate when a pop star in a local theater production is injured by stage makeup containing a caustic substance. All the evidence points to her dresser, who appears to have committed suicide by jumping from a catwalk. Diamond is forced to confront his own phobia about the theater as he digs deeper into his case, and his patience is pushed to the limit by a temporary team member foisted on him by his boss. (SOHO, Jun., 336 pp., $25.00)