The Circle (Inspector Mallin Series #1)

The Circle (Inspector Mallin Series #1)

4.5 4
by Peter Lovesey

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"A treat....Lovesey's restraint, wit, and charming cast ensure him a place in the winners' circle."—Entertainment Weekly

Van driver Bob Naylor, a jingle writer, joins the Chichester Writer’s Circle fearing that he will be shunned by literary snobs. Instead, he finds himself plunged into the midst of a circle of murder victims and murder

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"A treat....Lovesey's restraint, wit, and charming cast ensure him a place in the winners' circle."—Entertainment Weekly

Van driver Bob Naylor, a jingle writer, joins the Chichester Writer’s Circle fearing that he will be shunned by literary snobs. Instead, he finds himself plunged into the midst of a circle of murder victims and murder suspects—including himself. The other members, enthusiastic but not necessarily talented, come from all walks of life and write all sorts of things: fantasy, household hints, even torrid romances, but there seems to be no common thread to tie the arson victims together. Inspector Henrietta Mallin, Peter Diamond’s partner from The House Sitter, is the investigator in charge of the case and with Bob’s help—and despite other would-be sleuths’ hindrance—she discovers the motive for the serial murders and the identifies the killer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspector Henrietta "Hen" Mallin, an ingenious and acerbic sleuth who played a supporting role in Lovesey's Peter Diamond novel The House Sitter (2003), proves herself fully capable of carrying a story on her own when she takes over a serial murder case connected with the Chichester Writers' Circle, an eccentric amateur writers' group The chair of that group, an author hoping to make a splash with a work on unsolved mysteries, has already been arrested for the arson that killed an unscrupulous publisher who used a speaking invitation before the writers' group to lure his eager audience into a vanity publishing racket. But while the writer's incarcerated, a similar attempt is made on the life of an aspiring poet who's the group's newest member, followed by two more fatal fires. Lovesey's trademark dark humor and playfulness are very much in evidence, as he presents a crafty fair-play puzzle replete with quirky, three-dimensional characters. As with his classic Diamond novel, Bloodhounds, Lovesey employs the device of competing amateur detectives to good effect, increasing suspense and conveying valuable clues through their efforts. While there's every reason to believe Diamond has plenty of life left in him, traditional mystery fans will have no regrets if Lovesey's next few books continue to focus on Mallin. (June 7) FYI: Lovesey has won the CWA Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An old-fashioned whodunit with the style and deviousness you'd expect from a master storyteller. The day after publisher Edgar Blacker addresses the Chichester Writing Circle, someone pours petrol through the letter slot in his door and incinerates him and almost everything inside. The police ask Maurice, the writing circle chairman, to help them with their inquiries. They learn Blacker was refusing to publish Maurice's book unless he subsidized the print run and promptly arrest him. Rushing to his defense, several members of the circle begin their own investigation, calling on Bob Naylor, a new participant, to act as their spokesman. Poor Bob. When he tries to help out Miss Snow, who's received a mysterious phone call, he's waylaid in a boathouse and almost burned to death himself. After two more fires further winnow the circle membership, Detective Chief Inspector Henrietta (Hen) Mallin from Bognor (The House Sitter, 2003) is called in to deal with the arsons, the murders, the circle members' egos and an unknown member of the constabulary leaking information. Frazzled and almost flummoxed by the writers playing amateur detective, Hen ultimately narrows her field of suspects and sets a trap for the villain. Lovesey, who can out-Christie Dame Agatha when he sets his mind to it, offers a smorgasbord of red herrings, a nifty plot twist, charming bits of doggerel and delicious digs at writers of the unpublishable.

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Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Inspector Mallin Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.02(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Lovesey is the author of more than thirty highly praised mystery novels. He has been awarded the CWA Gold and Silver Daggers, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the Strand Magazine Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards, and many other honors. He lives in West Sussex, England.

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The Circle (Inspector Mallin Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The police investigate the fiery murder of unpopular publisher Edgar Blacker, who died following a talk he gave to the Chichester Writers' Circle, an unpublished writers' group. The motive seems obvious as Blacker conned the wannabes into investing in a doomed vanity press con making one of the group most likely the arsonist-killer. The prime suspect is the group¿s chair Maurice McDade as Blacker shammed the true crime author of the unpublished Unsolved into a hefty investment and gave nothing back.................. Meanwhile two more fatal fires occur and the newest member Bob Naylor barely survives an attempt to fry him. As the group investigates one another; Inspector Henrietta 'Hen' Mallin takes over the official investigation that has been fumbled while a serial arsonists-murderer has escaped identification........................ Cigar smoking Hen is a diamond of a cop who turns Peter Lovesey's latest police procedural into a fabulous reading experience. The story line is typical of the grandmaster as the cast seems real especially the wannabe writers turned amateur sleuths and the who-done-it complex yet interesting. As usual the plot contains plenty of red herrings and twists as well as humor as Hen, who played a secondary role in THE HOUSE SITTER, takes the starring role carrying a terrific investigative tale on her pint sized back................. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pianotshr More than 1 year ago
It's my first book by Peter Lovesey. I am right in the middle of it and can hardly put it down. It is well written and keeps you guessing as "who dun nit"! I especially enjoy British mysteries so plan to buy more of his other books. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ON cover was noted that there would be an appearance by Peter Diamond. I love Peter Diamond. Guess what? All of one paragraph was 'devoted' to him. Couldn't put the book down.Kudos to Peter Lovsey!!!!