Another One Goes Tonight, published by Little,Brown, is the latest entry in Peter Lovesey's long-running series featuring Bath cop Peter Diamond. And the first thing to say about it is that it's a hugely enjoyable read with a discursive but ingenious plot, in which a whole bunch of inter-related strands are brought together quite splendidly at the end. .
The story begins with a brief extract from a mysterious journal which begins "Another one goes tonight." Clearly, we are reading the words of a serial killer, but although this device is familiar enough, it's put to very good use here, as Lovesey shows a Christie-like mastery of the art of misdirection. After this opening, we move swiftly into a strange encounter involving an apparent traffic offence, followed by a police car crash with tragic consequences.
That crash brings Peter Diamond into the story, and when he finds an elderly man on the point of death at the scene, to whom he gives the kiss of life, he is plunged into perhaps the most baffling enquiry of his career - a case whose disparate elements include a group of railway enthusiasts, an imaginary cat, a debt owed to a gangster, and an ever-lengthening list of apparent murders.
This novel is an example of Peter Lovesey at his best, and I recommend it highly. This week, incredibly, he will be celebrating his 80th birthday while on a trip to the US. His friends and colleagues in the Detection Club will also be marking this milestone with the publication in November of Motives for Murder, a gathering of brand new stories with an intro by Len Deighton and an afterword by Peter himself, in which he tells the story of his early days in the Club. The collection will be published in the UK by Little, Brown, and in the US by Crippen & Landru. I like to think that, as with his latest novel, this is a book not to be missed.