Praise for Stagestruck
A New York Times Notable Book
“A brilliantly conceived and smartly executed mystery set in the hallowed Theater Royal of Bath . . . As always, the plot’s the thing with Lovesey, and the solution to the mystery of Clarion’s disfigurement, while arrived at fair and square, is stunning. But the story also has genuine depth and dimension."
—The New York Times Book Review
“Mr. Lovesey's narrative is swift, but he takes time out for local color and abundant humor, the latter springing from the book's quirky characters . . . Lovesey is a wizard at mixing character-driven comedy with realistic-to-grim suspense. And in a writing career spanning four decades, he has created a stylish and varied body of work . . . That Mr. Lovesey would make a midcareer transition from period fiction to contemporary police investigations is just as surprising as one of the sudden mood shifts in any of his idiosyncratic works—and just as satisfying.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Lovesey, as always, uses his wit like a whip and whirls through the theatre scene like a scourge. Bodies drop, clues appear, and it’s all done with the master’s perfect touches, including witty dialogue, smart plotting and superior characters. Definitely one of Lovesey’s best.”
—Toronto Globe and Mail
“Superb . . . Once again, Lovesey proves he has few peers as a crafter of contemporary fair-play whodunits.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“From that start, Lovesey has grown a series combining fair-play puzzle themes with eccentric players, situations that demonstrate the clash between Britain’s past and present, and much humor mined from Diamond’s frustration in dealing with subordinates who are less old-fashioned in their ways of crime-solving . . . Lovesey has shown himself to be a master of mystery-making and misdirection, with the prizes to prove it. Stagestruck earns him more kudos for effectively deploying an ensemble cast, particularly journalist-turned-detective Ingeborg Smith.”
“In top-notch, Simon Brett manner (see the Charles Paris series), Lovesey serves up threatrical superstitions, rituals, and diehard rivalries as Diamond overcomes his own phobia about being backstage in a theater to find the killer. Vivid and fun.”
Praise for the Peter Diamond Series
"These erudite and wondrously witty books are unlike any police procedural you've ever read."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Lovesey's novels are consistently well plotted and his characters smart and witty."
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"History, humor, inspired clues, maniacal twists and a paean to the beauty of the Bath countryside. Lovesey, who's won every prize going, deserves another for Diamond's tenth. "
—Kirkus, Starred Review
"Diamond remains one of the most realistic and human of fictional sleuths...sharp prose and characterization make this another winner in this enduring series."
From the Hardcover edition.
…brilliantly conceived and smartly executedAs always, the plot's the thing with Lovesey, and the solution to the mystery of Clarion's disfigurement, while arrived at fair and square, is stunning. But the story also has genuine depth and dimension.
The New York Times
At the start of Lovesey's superb 11th mystery featuring Det. Supt. Peter Diamond (after 2009's Skeleton Hill), pop singer–turned–actress Clarion Calhoun collapses on stage at Bath's Theatre Royal, the victim of some chemical preparation that disfigures her face. After Calhoun refuses to be interviewed by the police, Diamond's CID boss, Asst. Chief Constable Georgina Dallymore, brings him into the case because Dallymore fears that the tragedy could imperil the Royal's future. Suspicion quickly falls on the dresser who applied Calhoun's makeup before the show, though the motive for the crime remains obscure. The appearance of a dead butterfly leads the company to fear that a death will follow. After the clever reveal of the main criminal, many readers will go back to the beginning to see how artfully a major clue was planted. Once again, Lovesey proves he has few peers as a crafter of contemporary fair-play whodunits. (June)
Maybe there's a good reason for Peter Diamond's (Skeleton Hill) theater phobia.
Backstage hugger-mugger at Bath's Theatre Royal.
The curtain has barely gone up when the pop star hoping to resurrect her glory days by switching from singing to drama begins to scream and tear at her face. Clarion Calhoun is rushed to hospital, her understudy goes on and the production is put in serious jeopardy. Disfigured from the caustic drain cleaner someone added to her face powder, Clarion decides to sue the theatre, a catastrophe only slightly diminished when Denise, who applied Clarion's makeup, commits suicide in remorse. Battling a lifelong fear of theatres, Detective Peter Diamond (Skeleton Hill,2009, etc.) steps in to sort out matters. His task is complicated by the actors' ability to act innocent; the theatre management's romantic proclivities and financial woes; the appearance of the grey lady (the resident theatre ghost); and the dreaded sighting of two dead tortoiseshell butterflies, which according to theatre lore presage tragedy. Furthermore, Diamond is saddled with Sergeant Dawkins, a vulgarly dressed, loudmouthed pendant who keeps volunteering for more work. Clarion, for unspecified reasons, drops her lawsuit, but on an unannounced visit to a performance is suffocated anyway with a plastic bag. Determined to get to the bottom of the bathos at Bath and pinpoint the origin of his theatre terror, Diamond slogs on, finally standing center stage to confront at least one of his nemeses.
Far from Lovesey at his best, without the wit, trickery and demonic plotting that has earned him silver, gold and diamond daggers from the British Crime Writers' Association.