The Last Detective

The Last Detective

A nude female floats dead in a large reservoir lake south of Bristol. To solve the "Lady of the Lake" mystery, and save a woman unjustly accused, Sussex Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond must find two missing letters attributed to Jane Austen, and defy his superiors.  ...

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Title:The Last Detective
Author:Peter Lovesey
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Last Detective Reviews

  • LJ

    First Sentence: A man stood thigh-deep in water, motionless, absorbed, unaware of what was drifting towards him.

    A naked woman is found dead. The first challenging is determining her cause of death; the second is finding out who she is. Eventually the identity is known and an obvious suspect presents itself. Or does it?

    While the justice system is determined to convict their suspect, Diamond is so certain they are wrong, he makes an important personal decision that alters his life but not his det

    First Sentence: A man stood thigh-deep in water, motionless, absorbed, unaware of what was drifting towards him.

    A naked woman is found dead. The first challenging is determining her cause of death; the second is finding out who she is. Eventually the identity is known and an obvious suspect presents itself. Or does it?

    While the justice system is determined to convict their suspect, Diamond is so certain they are wrong, he makes an important personal decision that alters his life but not his determination to find real killer.

    I loved the description of Diamond: “You're the end of an era. The last detective. A genuine gumshoe, not some lad out of police school with a degree in computer studies.” I like that, in a technological age, he is something of a luddite and believes in traditional investigative techniques.

    At the same time, I liked the contract between Diamond and Wigfull. For some reason, I was surprised that Diamond is married but loved the story of how he met his wife and felt his being so was a nice, unexpected surprise as it gives the character added dimension.

    There is wonderful, subtle humor to the story, particularly around the Jane Austen exhibit. I laughed at the idea of it and found myself agreeing with Diamond’s view on venerating authors or any celebrity.

    The best part of the story, for me, was the plot. There was twist upon twist. It never felt contrived and I certainly was never able to accurately predict where the plot was going. This was a wonderful book and I’ve already ordered the next four in the series.

    THE LAST DETECTIVE (Pol Proc-DS Peter Diamond-England-Cont) – Ex

    Lovesey, Peter – 1st in series

    SoHo Crime, 2003, US Hardcover (reprint) – ISBN 978-1569472095

  • Trish

    The Inspector Peter Diamond mystery series by Peter Lovesey has been on my reading list for some time. I am pleased to discover that

    turns out to be the first in the series. As I read, I was struck with the obvious erudition of the author, the complex and somewhat daring change of voice throughout the narrative, the presentation of fine moral and ethical questions, and the unsettling ambiguity of the ending. The main character, Peter Diamond, is meant to be a "diamond in the r

    The Inspector Peter Diamond mystery series by Peter Lovesey has been on my reading list for some time. I am pleased to discover that

    turns out to be the first in the series. As I read, I was struck with the obvious erudition of the author, the complex and somewhat daring change of voice throughout the narrative, the presentation of fine moral and ethical questions, and the unsettling ambiguity of the ending. The main character, Peter Diamond, is meant to be a "diamond in the rough." He may be overbearing and critical with his associates at the police force, but he is unerring in sensing discrepancies between suspects' statements and their deeds. He is not above taking pride in finding a piece of evidence that disproves his colleagues' assumptions.

    In this, the first in the mystery series, the characterizations are finely wrought and suprisingly sympathetic. One finds oneself shifting allegiances with each chapter. All the characters have failings, but each have redeeming features which impel our interest. The ending is both heartbreaking and shocking and open-ended as regards the fate of our chief investigator. A fine addition to British mystery.

  • Sue

    A new British mystery series begun---and at the beginning! There is always something nice about reading the first of a series, even 20 years after it was written, seeing how the "last detective" begins his cases, just how curmudgeonly he is or isn't, how he deals with adversity, with facts, with speculation. Well Peter Lovesey has met the test for me and I will be returning for more of Peter Diamond's adventures. I enjoyed the detection, the wit in the prose and the working out of the mystery.

    Re

    A new British mystery series begun---and at the beginning! There is always something nice about reading the first of a series, even 20 years after it was written, seeing how the "last detective" begins his cases, just how curmudgeonly he is or isn't, how he deals with adversity, with facts, with speculation. Well Peter Lovesey has met the test for me and I will be returning for more of Peter Diamond's adventures. I enjoyed the detection, the wit in the prose and the working out of the mystery.

    Recommended!

  • Marsali Taylor

    I must have read this before, as it was on my 'read' shelves, rather than in the always overflowing 'to read' box, but I couldn't remember it at all, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Diamond, the 'last detective' is a grumpy eccentric in the Morse / Rebus mould, and the Bath setting was vividly drawn. The puzzle was good, with neat twists, and the in-fighting at the police station an enjoyable part of the plot.

    I went on to re-read two others, one lively one about a crime-book-club, 'The Bloodh

    I must have read this before, as it was on my 'read' shelves, rather than in the always overflowing 'to read' box, but I couldn't remember it at all, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Diamond, the 'last detective' is a grumpy eccentric in the Morse / Rebus mould, and the Bath setting was vividly drawn. The puzzle was good, with neat twists, and the in-fighting at the police station an enjoyable part of the plot.

    I went on to re-read two others, one lively one about a crime-book-club, 'The Bloodhounds', which was a very conscious parody of the locked-room murder, and great fun, with loads of references to masters like Dickson Carr, and 'Diamond Solitaire', which was more action romp than whodunnit, and ended in Japan with a sumo-wrestler routing the baddies.

    I ended up with 'Rough Cider', a stand-alone, which turned on an adult telling the story of a murder he'd been involved in as a child - very finely drawn, and with a good twist at the end.

    All very enjoyable - slightly old-fashioned, compared to the new psychological depth which needs to inform modern detective stories, but good characters, good plots, and workmanlike prose. Also on my 'read' shelves were two of his 'Bertie' novels, whodunnits narrated by the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria's son, which are particularly good fun for the difference between what Bertie thinks and what the reader works out.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes

    ''The Last Detective' is the first in a series. It was published in 1991, and it features the 41-year-old English Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond. He is overweight, hates computers and scientific methods, and he wears a brown trilby over a bald head with a silver fringe. He strikes many of his colleagues as overbearing and opinionated, but he is is without question a good detective with the proof of many solved murders. He thinks the old methods are best: knocking on doors and interviews.

    ''The Last Detective' is the first in a series. It was published in 1991, and it features the 41-year-old English Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond. He is overweight, hates computers and scientific methods, and he wears a brown trilby over a bald head with a silver fringe. He strikes many of his colleagues as overbearing and opinionated, but he is is without question a good detective with the proof of many solved murders. He thinks the old methods are best: knocking on doors and interviews. However, he reluctantly, when the occasion requires it, admits to relying on forensic evidence, but he resists any use of computers, leaving that to his younger staff, such as his new assistant, John Wigfull, who has been recently transferred from the Home Office to work with Diamond.

    Diamond is suspicious of Wigfull. He is certain Wigfull has been placed as his assistant in preparation to replace Diamond should the outcome of a police investigation into a previous case go against Diamond. Diamond has been accused of excessive force in an interrogation of an ultimately convicted suspect, who unfortunately gave a false confession to a crime he did not do. Diamond has a forceful personality, but he did not lay a finger on the suspect. Nonetheless, Diamond now has a cloud over his head.

    A body is recovered from a lake. It is a beautiful redhead who resembles a popular actress in a soap opera, although she was fired from the show two years ago. Originally hired as an ingenue of 19, she is now 32 and the producers wanted another young girl to play the part. But there has been no missing person report filed on the actress by her husband, so Diamond is certain the dead woman cannot be her. He sets his staff in motion to discover the body's identity and waits for the pathologist's report. The pathologist, Jack Merlin, soon returns with a report that he cannot tell with any certainty how she died, since the body has none of the classic drowning clues.

    Frustration mounting, Diamond knows a lot of eyes are on him from the Home Office. He has to solve this case.

    The Last Detective' is very entertaining. I feel Peter Lovesey, the author, has his tongue firmly in his cheek, and he is knowingly looking back to the Agatha Christie classics of the 1940's. There is a gentle humor permeating this medium-violent cozy, with a lot of satisfying twists and turns. Some squeamish people of sensitive natures may find some scenes a bit tough, although I did not think it very graphic. However, gentle reader, it IS a book about murder and guilty characters who are hiding crimes peripheral to the main death, as well as having been written for an audience with a bit more exposure to modern television. There are also multiple points of view.

    The ending was an interesting twist, but I thought it was very odd. I did not see it coming, but I was very puzzled by Diamond's innocent, misguided response.

    However, even though I thought the ending peculiar I give this four stars.

  • Linda Baker

    The Last Detective is a book that has been on my vast "to be read" list for a very long time. First published in 1992, it won the Anthony Boucher Award for Best Mystery Novel in that year and was considered groundbreaking. Overweight, technophobic, irascible and blunt to the point of rudeness, Peter Diamond was a different type of detective in British Crime fiction. I think I may have read one or two of the series but never the book that started it all.

    Set in Bath, the nude body of a woman is f

    The Last Detective is a book that has been on my vast "to be read" list for a very long time. First published in 1992, it won the Anthony Boucher Award for Best Mystery Novel in that year and was considered groundbreaking. Overweight, technophobic, irascible and blunt to the point of rudeness, Peter Diamond was a different type of detective in British Crime fiction. I think I may have read one or two of the series but never the book that started it all.

    Set in Bath, the nude body of a woman is found floating in the river. The first challenge is to find out who she is in the absence of clothing, identification, jewelry or a wedding ring. Not even the cause of death is immediately apparent, but Diamond is sure that it was no suicide. Sending out a photo of the dead woman is the only solution when no woman matching her description has been reported missing. Diamond is first amused, then annoyed when a number of calls come in identifying her as a character in a long-running soap opera on TV. By the time this case is solved the lives of all who knew, loved or hated her are turned upside down; even the life of Peter Diamond.

    I greatly enjoyed The Last Detective.The inclusion of undiscovered, then missing Jane Austen letters as part of the plot were a plus for me. The story was told in multiple viewpoints; most of which are unreliable in one way or another. There is plenty of humor and some pointed social commentary. Even after 25 years,The Last Detective holds up well.

    Thanks to NetGalley and SoHo for an advance digital copy of this reissued crime classic.

  • Kathy

    For me, the "last detective" was my "last" lost book. Every now and then a memory bell would clang "Peter Lovesey" and I couldn't figure it out. Lately I have seen GR reviewers mention how much they like the Peter Diamond series so I finally ran out of good stuff to read in my list and did a search on my Amazon content. Ta-da! I bought this book years ago and some event kept me from it. Right now the book is only 1.99 on Amazon, rather a bargain!

    I enjoyed finally reading this introduction to Pe

    For me, the "last detective" was my "last" lost book. Every now and then a memory bell would clang "Peter Lovesey" and I couldn't figure it out. Lately I have seen GR reviewers mention how much they like the Peter Diamond series so I finally ran out of good stuff to read in my list and did a search on my Amazon content. Ta-da! I bought this book years ago and some event kept me from it. Right now the book is only 1.99 on Amazon, rather a bargain!

    I enjoyed finally reading this introduction to Peter Diamond. The book opens with the discovery of a body floating in a reservoir but humor soon breaks through as Diamond is found to be sleeping on a gurney just outside the morgue. The pathologist scolds, "You should have come in." He responded that it was too close to lunch. "You know very well what I mean, Peter. You're the end of an era. The last detective. A genuine gumshoe, not some lad out of police school with a degree in computer studies."

    The initial efforts were intense trying to identify the naked corpse and because the husband did not report that his wife was missing until three weeks along, the spotlight was on him. There were a number of interesting characters and, of course, the Bath setting and a Jane Austen exhibit added to my appreciation of this rather complex murder investigation.

  • Rob Kitchin

    The Last Detective is a police procedural in the traditional, British form - think Colin Dexter, John Harvey or Ian Rankin. Lovesey tries to break the form up by varying the point of view, the book divided into parts, with each told from the perspective of a different character. It’s a useful device to add some depth to what is a fairly mundane story. The characterisation is good, although it’s difficult to warm to Diamond until near the end of the book and at that point his personality seems to

    The Last Detective is a police procedural in the traditional, British form - think Colin Dexter, John Harvey or Ian Rankin. Lovesey tries to break the form up by varying the point of view, the book divided into parts, with each told from the perspective of a different character. It’s a useful device to add some depth to what is a fairly mundane story. The characterisation is good, although it’s difficult to warm to Diamond until near the end of the book and at that point his personality seems to have been transformed. There is a good sense of place, the story clearly rooted in Bath and its surrounds, and there is nice contextualisation with respect to Jane Austen’s link to the city. The plot works fine, having a couple of twists and turns, some misdirection, and good procedural detail with respect to the case and a trial, but ultimately, the book hinges on two events that both seemed weak to me. Difficult to discuss without giving spoilers, but the dramatic change in Diamond’s life was needed as a plot device but didn’t ring true, and the resolution is based on a confession that comes very easily and seemed very unlikely. Overall, an okay, straight up-and-down police procedural.

  • Suzy

    I really enjoyed this first in a mystery series featuring Peter Diamond. I was introduced to it when I asked my friend Kathleen about her favorite books of 2015 and this was on the list. Diamond appears on the surface as a strong-arm, arrogant detective, but is shown to be more than what's on the surface in the course of this story. A woman is found naked in a lake at the beginning of the book and it appears that there are no clues to go on. Diamond to the rescue! He is old school, do

    I really enjoyed this first in a mystery series featuring Peter Diamond. I was introduced to it when I asked my friend Kathleen about her favorite books of 2015 and this was on the list. Diamond appears on the surface as a strong-arm, arrogant detective, but is shown to be more than what's on the surface in the course of this story. A woman is found naked in a lake at the beginning of the book and it appears that there are no clues to go on. Diamond to the rescue! He is old school, doggedly following through on both evidence and hunches. This was written in 1991 and Diamond is of the "resistant to technology" type, relying rather on experience and old-time policing approaches. I did tire of the "men in the white coats" references to those that embrace and use modern methods, but in general his resistance sets up interesting dynamics.

    There are many story lines and suspects, lots of clues and red herrings to add interest and energy to keep the story moving. Lovesey changes twice from 3rd person to 1st person POV to allow the main suspects to tell their story to the police . . . and to us. I guessed who the murderer was a little more than halfway through, but for the rest of the book I doubted my conclusion, a testimony to Lovesey's writing. This would have received more stars from me except that most of the story came out in a rush in the last third of the book. While it made things more interesting, it felt crammed in at the end, with some aspects of it implausible. But that won't stop me from continuing with Peter Diamond. I've already ordered

    , book 2, from the library.

    I want to give a shout out to the narrator, Simon Prebble. He was excellent. I can't believe I've never heard him narrate before given there are 16 pages of a wide range of books on Audible that he's narrated. I look forward to hearing him read book 2

  • Bettie☯

    Read by.................. Simon Prebble

    Total Runtime......... 11 Hours 28 Mins

    Description:

    Read by.................. Simon Prebble

    Total Runtime......... 11 Hours 28 Mins

    Description:

    The opening scene has a cat-walking elderly lady (I imagined Margaret Rutherford) knocking on a door late evening - she has something to report.

    Diamond is aged forty-one in this first book; it is explained that he gave up rugby eight years ago, at the age of thirty-three.

    That was gentle, twisty fun. Obviously I'm not going to become a

    Peter Diamond fan because of my interest and support for the forensic sciences, however if all the episodes are up to this standard, it looks an enjoyable series.

    3* The Last Detective (Peter Diamond, #1)

    3* Bloodhounds (Peter Diamond, #4)

    3* Diamond Dust (Peter Diamond, #7)

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