Wednesday 15 March 2023

Showstopper by Peter Lovesey - review

Peter Lovesey is the only writer living in Britain who has received the two top crime writing awards - the CWA Diamond Dagger and MWA Grand Master award. Showstopper, his latest Peter Diamond novel shows that he remains in fine form. We all know that when a series has been running for a long time, the books can become repetitive. But that isn't a trap that Lovesey has ever fallen into. This is another unorthodox story, very different in style and content from Diamond's last outing, Diamond and the Eye, and as entertaining as it is devilishly readable.

At the start of the book, Daisy Summerfield, a veteran member of the cast of the successful TV series Swift, goes home and is confronted by a burglar. Daisy dies and this is the latest in a long series of misfortunes plaguing the series - there have been accidents, people have gone missing, and so on, over a period of years.

Diamond investigates at a time when he's wondering if he should bring the curtain down on his crime-solving career. At first he is sceptical about the so-called jinx on Swift, but when his colleague Paul Gilbert witnesses another serious mishap, he begins to revise his opinion.

Lovesey cleverly blends traditional elements with up-to-date material (dashcam footage plays an important part in the storyline) and manages to keep the reader guessing about what is really going on. When you take risks, as Lovesey does so admirably, and keep trying something different, there's always the chance that the occasional book will misfire (and if it happens, I think it's a matter for commiseration, not complaint.) But it's not something to worry about here. Showstopper is a highly enjoyable mystery that reminds us that very few British crime writers have ever maintained such high standards for as long as Peter Lovesey. 

No comments: