Death on the stage

This month has been a bit of a treat as far as crime fiction is concerned. I thought I'd hit the jackpot discovering Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley mysteries; and then I discovered Peter Lovesey....

I thoroughly enjoyed the Inspector Cribb Victorian murder mysteries shown on ITV in the 1980s. I seem to remember that they were quirky and unusual, and generally very clever. What I hadn't realised was that they were by the admirable Peter Lovesey. Stagestruck is not one of his Inspector Cribb mysteries, but a modern day murder mystery set in the beautiful city of Bath. It's the eleventh in his series of mysteries featuring Detective Inspector Peter Diamond.

And it's great fun, if the ending is slightly unsatisfactory it truly doesn't matter as the rest of the novel has just been so good. The Theatre Royal at Bath is lovingly portrayed, Lovesey's affection for the building and its history shines through. There are some suitably gruesome murders, some lovely bits of characterisation, and a wonderfully over-the-top villain who would not have been out of place in a Victorian murder mystery.

Lovesey has a great classic crime style, if you're a Margery Allingham or Edmund Campion fan, Lovesey will be just your cup of Lapsang Souchong. I can't wait to get my hands on another Peter Lovesey, Stagestruck was a complete treat from beginning to end.


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