Diamond Dust (Peter Diamond Series #7)

Diamond Dust (Peter Diamond Series #7)

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by Peter Lovesey

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Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is confronted with a crime that comes too close to home. His beloved wife has been killed, apparently just the most recent victim in a series of murders of police spouses. Despite his superior's orders to leave the solution of this crime to other members of the force, he is determined to find the killer himself.


Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is confronted with a crime that comes too close to home. His beloved wife has been killed, apparently just the most recent victim in a series of murders of police spouses. Despite his superior's orders to leave the solution of this crime to other members of the force, he is determined to find the killer himself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lovesey more than clears the impressive hurdle he creates for himself in his seventh Peter Diamond mystery (after 2000's The Vault). The series enters new territory when Diamond responds to a fresh crime scene only to discover that the murder victim is Stephanie, his wife of almost 20 years. His personal stake in the inquiry leads to his replacement as chief investigating officer and to his eventual role as the prime suspect. Tellingly, his aversion to casual chitchat and preference for his own company leave Diamond without an alibi, even though he was at work at the Bath police station at the time. Distrustful of the official approach, he conducts his own investigation, consumed by guilt over the possibility that his wife was killed, as an act of revenge, by one of the many criminals he's brought to book. This tightly plotted fair-play mystery presents numerous suspects, including Stephanie's first husband, a possible serial killer targeting police spouses and a mobster recently released from prison. The author manages to keep Diamond his crusty, disagreeable self, while still evincing the devastating and permanent blow he has suffered. Diamond remains one of the most human of series detectives: an uncertain participant in the petty tussles of office politics, gruff to those who attempt to reach out to him, but dogged in his determination to see justice done. Lovesey will be hard-pressed to surpass this current effort for its combination of the puzzle and the personal, but based on his current achievement, it would be no great surprise if he did. Author tour. (June) FYI: Lovesey has won the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement from the British Crime Writers Association. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Eager to maintain his posting as senior homicide inspector in Bath, Peter Diamond swiftly initiates an investigation only to discover that the victim is his wife. Baffled and grieving, Peter is removed from the case and "fitted for a frame" by his replacement. Using the resources and skills he has developed during his career, Peter starts his own investigation to clear his name and satisfy a promise made to his wife. This prime British mystery is wondrously full of scoundrels, hoodlums, perplexing situations, and story elements that seem to mean one thing when they really mean another. Narrator Steve Hodson brings all these elements to life; his accents (to this Midwesterner's ear) are accurate and completely engaging. Diamond Dust is an absolute gem; very highly recommended.-Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
About to be shunted off to Bristol and replaced as the head of Bath's Murder Squad on the eve of his 50th birthday, irascible Peter Diamond is gleeful at the reprieve a body found in Royal Victoria Park buys him—until he gets a good look and realizes it's his own wife Stephanie with two bullet holes in her head. To prevent bias, DCI Curtis McGarvie is put in charge of the investigation, and Diamond soon finds himself, as the husband, the prime suspect. Appalled, grieving, and determined to bring his beloved Steph's killer to justice, Diamond mounts an unofficial parallel investigation, concentrating on miscreants he's jailed. Then, weeks later, another cop's wife, an ex-cop herself, is declared missing, then found dead along the rail tracks in Woking with wounds similar to Steph's. Diamond allies himself with the other widower, Stormy Weathers, and the two track cases and villains they worked on together at the Met. Along the way, they find ties between a diamond snatch planned for the Dorchester Hotel and Steph's first husband, ex-RAF caterer Edward Dixon-Bligh; then the body of Dixon-Bligh himself with his tongue cut out, possibly for ratting out the Dorchester deal. All signs point to the heroin-addicted Dixon-Bligh as killer of both wives, but Diamond, stymied by his unbreakable alibi, begins digging more deeply into the Weathers marriage, with catastrophic revelations. Another example of why Lovesey's Diamond series (The Vault, 2000, etc.) sets awards committees tingling. Fully dimensional characters, juicy plotting, and more twists than the Hampton Court maze.
From the Publisher
Praise for Diamond Dust

“Lovesey takes his hero to emotional places he’s never been before while constructing a plot of infernal ingenuity.”
The New York Times Book Review

Diamond Dust is a gem. It has tension, emotion and a smorgasbord of red herrings.”
Associated Press

“Christie level plotting.”
Time Out

“Lovesey’s writing is lucid and succinct, and he is a consummate story-teller."
—Colin Dexter, CWA Diamond Dagger-winning author of the Inspector Morse series

“Lovesey plots as well as he creates characters or turns an elegant phrase. Nothing is what it seems . . . He’s so good it’s hard to pin a label on him.”
Denver Post

“Lovesey will be hard-pressed to surpass this current effort for its combination of the puzzle and the personal, but based on his current achievement, it would be no great surprise if he did.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Fully dimensional characters, juicy plotting, and more twists than the Hampton Court maze.”
Kirkus Reviews

Diamond Dust is a jewel of many intricate facets.”
January Magazine
“This latest entry in the Peter Diamond series is among the best and in many ways, the most moving . . . an expertly plotted novel.”
—Reviewing the Evidence

Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Peter Diamond Series , #7
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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Read an Excerpt

Diamond Dust

By Peter Lovesey


Copyright © 2002 Peter Lovesey.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1569472912

Chapter One

The prisoner stared at the jury as they filed in. Every one of them avoided eye contact.

    The foreman was asked for the verdict and gave it.

    A few stifled cries were heard.

    Peter Diamond of Bath CID, watching from the back of the court, displayed no emotion, though he felt plenty. Unseen by anyone, his fists tightened, his pulses quickened and his throat warmed as if he'd taken a sip of brandy. This was a moment to savour.

    'And is that the verdict of you all?'

    'It is.'

    'But I'm innocent!' the man guilty of murder shouted, his hands outstretched in appeal. 'I didn't do it. I was stitched up.'

    Yes, stitched up well and truly, Diamond thought, in a Pink Brothers shirt and a fine Italian suit that didn't fool the jury, thank God. Any minute now the lowlife inside those clothes will say something nakedly uncouth.

    'Stitch-up!' a woman supporter screamed from the public gallery, and more voices took up the cry. The people up there began chanting and stamping their feet as if this was a wrestling match.

    The judge slammed down his gavel and ordered the court to be cleared.

Almost an hour after, the prisoner was back for sentencing, a short, swarthy man with eyes like burn holes in a bed-sheet.

    'Jacob Barry Carpenter, you have been found guilty of murder, a murder as callous as any it has been my misfortune to come across. If there was the slightest uncertainty in the minds of the jury, it will have been removed upon hearing your criminal record. You are a man of habitual violence, and you have acted in character once again, and this time you will not escape with a light sentence.'

    'You got the wrong man, for Jesus' sake.'

    'Be quiet. As you well know, the mandatory sentence for murder is life imprisonment, and that is the sentence of this court. As you are also aware, a life sentence has a discretionary element. It need not mean life in the literal sense. In your case — are you listening? — I recommend that it should. You are such a danger to the public that I cannot foresee a time when it will be safe to release you.'

    The man reverted to basics. 'Arsehole! I was fitted up!'

    'Take him down.'

    Shouting more abuse, Carpenter was bundled from view by the prison guards.

    The judge thanked the jury and discharged them. The court rose.

    Peter Diamond turned to leave. His pudgy face revealed no joy in the verdict, nor concern at the prisoner's outburst. A mature detective learns to conceal his feelings when a verdict is announced. But when his deputy, DI Keith Halliwell, said, 'Are we going for a bevvy?' the suspicion of a smile appeared at the edge of his mouth.

    'You bet.'

    The pub was just across the street from the Bristol Crown Court and some of the team would already be there, celebrating.

    Daniel Houldsworth, the QC who had led for the Crown, put a hand on Diamond's shoulder. 'Pleased with the outcome, Superintendent?'

    'It's the right one.'

    The lawyer made it clear he wanted to say more, so Diamond told Halliwell to go ahead. He would join the team shortly.

    'I expected the abuse at the end and so did the judge,' Houldsworth commented, as if he felt some of the gloss had been taken off the triumph. 'They're a cancer, the Carpenters. They've run Bristol for too long.' He went on in this vein for some time, until it became obvious he was fishing for larger compliments.

    'Top result, anyway,' Diamond said, and that seemed to do the trick. He shook hands with Houldsworth and a couple of junior lawyers and left the court. Funny how everyone wanted credit: barristers, solicitor, jury, and, no doubt, judge — when it was obvious the murder squad had done the job. With a shake of the head unseen by anyone else he made for the exit across the flagstoned corridor where the principals in another case waited nervously. He'd missed one round of drinks, and maybe another.

    Thinking only how much he would savour that first cool gulp of bitter, he came down the Court steps into Small Street on a beeline for the Bar Oz. Stared up at the sallow February sun, the promise of brighter times ahead. Didn't glance at the small group in conversation on the pavement. Didn't even react when a woman's voice shrilled, 'There he is, the shitbag.' Simply reached the bottom step and started forward.

    His sleeve was tugged from behind. He swung around and got a gob of spit full between the eyes. There was a blur of blond hair, a shout of 'Sodding pig!' and the woman clawed her fingernails down the right side of his face from eye to neck. The nails ripped the skin, a searing, sudden pain. She was screaming, 'Stinking filth. He done nothing. My Jake done nothing, and you know it.'

    The next strike would have got his eye if he hadn't grabbed the woman's wrist and swung her out of range. In this frenzied state she was a match for any middle-aged man and she lunged at him again, aiming a kick at his crotch. He jackknifed to save himself, caught his heel against the steps and tripped, falling heavily. He lay there trying to protect his groin, and instead got a vicious kicking in the kidneys.

    No one stopped it. People outside the Guildhall stared across Small Street with glazed expressions and pretended they hadn't noticed. What do you do when a woman is assaulting a man twice her size?

    What do you do if you're that man? Diamond struggled upright and tried to hobble away. Where were the police? Someone should have seen this coming after the rumpus inside the court.

    Still she vented her hate on him, pummelling his back and screaming abuse. If he turned and swung a punch at her it was sod's law someone would get a photo and sell it to the papers. So he moved on stoically. Then, thank God, spotted a taxi and waved to the driver.

    The cabbie stared at this man with a bleeding face and a screaming woman raining punches on his back and, not unreasonably, didn't want them in his vehicle. He shook his head and drove off.

    Further up the street, a second taxi had been hailed by one of the junior barristers on the case.

    Diamond charged towards it and shoved the lawyer aside. 'Emergency,' he said with as much authority as he had left.

    His attacker had come after him and still had a hold on his coat. He elbowed her off and slammed the door. 'Police. Foot down,' he told the driver.

    'Where to?'

    'Out of here.'

    The woman and her friends were running beside the cab beating the windows.

    The cabbie drove off fast towards Colston Avenue. 'Friends of yours?'

    'Leave it.' He ran a finger over his smarting face and looked at the blood.

    'Top cop, are you?'

    'Not really.'

    'Got to be Jake Carpenter's bird, hasn't she, the blonde? Wasn't he on trial?'

    He confirmed it with a murmur.

    'Guilty, then?'

    'As hell.'

    'She's marked you. You could do her for assault.'

    'No chance.' He'd been onto a loser the moment she attacked. Really, he had only himself to blame, leaving the court unaccompanied like that. If he nicked her, she'd use it as a publicity stunt, a chance to go over the trial again. And her counsel would plead extenuating circumstances and she'd get off with a caution.

    'So where shall I put you down?'

    They were heading south, towards the river. He was in no shape now to join the celebration in the pub.

    'Bath. I'm going home.'

Chapter Two

'You'll tell me if it hurts, won't you?' Stephanie Diamond was dabbing her husband's scratched face with TCP. 'Is that painful?'

    Without thinking, he started to shake his head, and felt the full pressure of the swab. 'Jee-eez!'

    She drew it away. 'Sorry, love.'

    'My fault.' Mortified for being such a wimp, he said, 'Iodine's the stuff that hurts. They always used that when I was a kid. Wicked. Why, I couldn't tell you.'

    Steph waited, swab in hand. She was still in her work clothes, a white jumper with a magnolia design on the front and a close-fitting black skirt. She moved closer again and rested her free hand on his shoulder. 'These are deep. She must be a vicious woman.'

    'Just angry.'

    'She's marked you with all four fingernails. Do you think I should take a photo?'

    'Whatever for?'


    He grinned. 'Like when someone runs into the car, you mean?' Patiently, he explained that he wouldn't be charging the woman, and why.

    Steph, with her strong sense of right and wrong, didn't appreciate the explanation. 'She shouldn't get away with it.'

    He was basking in her concern, even though it had to...


Excerpted from Diamond Dust by Peter Lovesey. Copyright © 2002 by Peter Lovesey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Diamond Dust (Peter Diamond Series #7) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave up and checked out the hardcopy from my local library. A terrific series.