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“The threads of Peter Lovesey’s new Peter Diamond mystery, Upon a Dark Night, twist up so neatly they make a perfect hangman’s noose—another triumph of plotting from this master of the classic puzzle form.”—The New York Times Book Review
A young woman is dumped, injured and unconscious, in a private hospital’s parking lot. She is an amnesiac with no memory prior to her discovery by hospital personnel. Detective Inspector Peter Diamond of the Bath homicide squad is unwilling to become involved. He has other, more important cases to solve: A woman has plunged to her death from the roof of a local landmark while half the young people of Bath partied below, and an elderly farmer has shot himself. Are these apparent suicides what they seem, or are there sinister forces at work? And might the amnesiac woman hold the key to both cases?
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Things have been so quiet lately; Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond suffers from hypertension caused by ennui as he has not had a homicide to keep his blood pressure level. Normally Diamond would ignore an apparent suicide by a farmer, but with nothing else to occupy his time, he decides to take a quick look. First thing he realizes that the farmer¿s arms were too small to pull the trigger of a shotgun placed under his chin --- Peter simultaneously investigates what he believes is a homicide while trying to persuade his superior that someone killed the farmer. At about the same time, a girl falls off a rooftop during a party. Initial reaction was it was a tragic accident, but Diamond sees incongruities with that explanation. He investigates both deaths while an amnesiac is found in a hospital parking lot by a shoplifter Ada who reluctantly releases the woman to someone claiming to be a sister. Ada talks with Diamond, who reluctantly follows up her comments and links the two deaths and the abduction with a fourth party as he begins to find the buried connection. --- UPON A DARK NIGHT is a fantastic Diamond police procedural as the cop is at his curmudgeon worst due to absolute boredom from no cases; only someone like Diamond could bemoan a major drop in the murder rate. Thus two homicides would have probably remained under the radar screen with the killer free except that Diamond basically had nothing interesting to do. The mystery is brilliantly established so the audience like Diamond¿s boss sees no foul play until Diamond¿s inquiries begin to cleverly prove otherwise. Peter Lovesey is at his best with this awesome who-done-it.--- Harriet Klausner