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Killing with Confetti: A Detective Peter Diamond Investigation


Killing with Confetti: A Detective Peter Diamond Investigation

Four years ago, immobilized while recovering from knee surgery, I came across a book by Peter Lovesey, an author with whom I was not familiar. When I closed the cover, I thought, Where has this man been all of my life? A Google search revealed a mother lode of a backlist, so I went on a digital hunt at libraries and used bookstores. Zip, nada. It turns out that he wasn’t published in the U.S. until around 2016. I did learn that he was a multi-award-winning mystery writer in Great Britain, but was an unknown this side of the pond.

As is my habit, I dove into this treasure trove, starting with THE LAST DETECTIVE and have worked my way to the present. Lovesey's series is rich with history of the scenic area of Bath, England, and laced with wit, danger, pathos, love and loss. His protagonist, Peter Diamond, is a fully rounded human being with his own unique crime-solving methods. Here is book #18 as he has climbed the steep ladder from disillusioned beat cop to Detective Superintendent.

"[K]ick back and enjoy a delightful summer escape from the drumbeat of real-world events that pays off with a surprising, page-turning denouement."

Diamond solves crimes the old-fashioned way: Follow the clues, question the suspects and victims, if still alive, and slap on the cuffs. Computers and cell phones are a nuisance. He’s a bit of a plod, to borrow the British term, but he also gets his man or woman (as the case may be) with as little nonsense as possible. So when the regional top brass, Deputy Chief Constable George Brace, summons him to headquarters to give him a plainclothes assignment complete with concealed sidearm, Diamond is equally flattered and alarmed. For starters, he barely owns a decent suit that still fits him, and it isn’t news that British cops, especially detectives, are no gunslingers.

But Brace's orders are for Diamond to work undercover at his son’s upcoming wedding: Mingle discretely with the guests while keeping an eye on them and the rooms for any potential assassins. Assassins? It turns out that Brace’s son is marrying his longtime sweetheart, the daughter of wealthy and notorious crime baron Joe Irving (much to the surprise of all concerned, including the groom), who soon will be released from lockup.

The blushing bride has always wished for an elaborate white wedding in none other than the Cathedral of Bath, followed by a reception in the famous and cavernous Roman Baths. What baby wants, Daddy gives. Call it repentance to make up for years of neglect and concealed shame, while Irving has left behind a trail of criminal activities interrupted by sentences in virtually every prison in England. Not to be ignored is the number of potential enemies both inside and outside the prison walls. The posh event will take place the day after Irving’s hush-hush release. Brace assures Diamond that every attempt is being made to keep the event out of the press, known only to a select few family members. What could possibly go wrong?

Diamond is fully aware of the pitfalls hidden in this famous landmark, which is open daily to the public but closed to evening events. The awe-inspiring Roman Baths have played a prominent role in many of his earlier cases, so he knows every nook and cranny of the ancient Cathedral and Baths that date back to the Roman Empire. The potential for hiding places is infinite for an attempted assassination of the infamous crime lord. Diamond’s orders to mingle as a guest begin to erode as the event draws near. When word leaks out that someone may be hunting down Irving, all concepts of discretion fly out the window. The guest list expands to include uniformed officers, as few are the men and women under Diamond’s command who blend inconspicuously in plainclothes at a full-dress event.

KILLING WITH CONFETTI begins more lightheartedly than Lovesey’s previous mysteries, as entertaining as its title. So kick back and enjoy a delightful summer escape from the drumbeat of real-world events that pays off with a surprising, page-turning denouement.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on July 26, 2019

Killing with Confetti: A Detective Peter Diamond Investigation
by Peter Lovesey

  • Publication Date: July 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • ISBN-10: 1641291877
  • ISBN-13: 9781641291873