Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Con Man: Ed McBain

This was the fourth book that I have read by Ed McBain; they have all been in the 87th Precinct series. I plan to read all of them in order. That may be ambitious because I have quite a few left and all of them are not as short and sweet as these first four.

This novel concentrates on one kind of criminal: the con man. There are two cases, and the book explores the different levels that a con can be played at. In one case, the end result is murder, and the game is much more serious.

A unique element of the 87th Precinct series is that they include documents from the investigations, which contributes to the feeling that you are getting the real picture of an investigation. The policemen are very believable characters, with flaws and varying personalities.

I also like the ethnic mix of characters, which makes sense in the setting of these books, where Isola stands in for New York. Steve Carella, in the spotlight in this book, is Italian. Arthur Brown is black. There is a Chinese tattoo artist who also figures prominently.

This book kept me entertained and engaged throughout. In my reviews of previous books in this series, I had noted some lovely descriptive passages. That type of writing seemed to be absent in this book. Not a detriment, necessarily; this one focused more on the policemen's experiences. Steve Carella was seriously wounded in the previous book and is still suffering pain and working through it. Bert Kling, the newest detective on the squad, is trying to find some way to take a trip with his fiance.

The only negative aspect for me was that I did not care for Steve Carella's wife being so involved in this story, to the point of getting herself in danger. The storyline was plausible and it did fit her character, so I don't know why it bothered me.

See other reviews at Tipping My Fedora, The Violent World of Parker (also reviews Killer's Choice), and Joe Barone's Blog.


Publisher:   Thomas & Mercer, 2011 (orig. pub. 1957)
Length:       204 pages
Format:      Trade paperback
Series:       87th Precinct, #4
Setting:      Isola, fictional city loosely based on New York City
Genre:        Police procedural
Source:      I purchased my copy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

In Bitter Chill: Sarah Ward

In Bitter Chill is about the abduction of two very young girls while walking to school. Rachel is returned to her family, but Sophie is never found. Over thirty years later, Sophie's mother is found dead in a hotel room on the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, and all evidence points to suicide. Everyone wonders what triggered her to commit suicide so many years after the incident, and the police consider reopening the investigation of Sophie's abduction.

Rachel's life is turned upside down by the new attention she is getting and it brings her buried feelings about the event to the surface. The story moves between 1978, when the crime occurred, and the police investigation in the present. Rachel plays a big part in both of these. Although she has never been able to remember anything about what happened after she was abducted up to the the time she was found, she begins to want to make some sense of what happened.

The unfolding of the story is very well done and kept me absorbed from beginning to end. All of the primary characters were very interesting and fleshed out very well. Rachel is a genealogist and has her own business doing research for clients. Thus she is well-equipped to follow up on some clues herself.

The first chapter is a perfect introduction to Detective Inspector Sadler and his team. Detective Sergeant Damian Palmer, who took the job to be closer to his fiance, is like a younger version of Sadler. Detective Constable Connie Childs is a local; she brings an understanding of the community to the job. Connie is also the most prominently featured detective in this book. They work for Bampton CID in Derbyshire.
Bampton had started off, like many others in England, as a place of trade. Tourists were often surprised to find that the picturesque Peak town also supported working businesses, a continual gripe with locals trying to find parking spaces during the summer. A cattle market had been in existence since 1309, but Bampton's pinnacle had been during the nineteenth century when a canal had been built to facilitate the movement of goods in and out of the town. The canal had carried coal from the mine thirty miles south and limestone from the nearby quarries. The fact that it had now become a tourist stop had only added to Bampton's image of itself. An air of self-satisfaction was the legacy of its affluent Victorian heritage.
Another element I enjoyed is the exploration of family and community relationships. Rachel has had close relationships with both her mother and her grandmother, but her father died before she was born. Sophie's mother was a loner before and after Sophie disappeared. The detectives talk to many in the community who were around when Sophie disappeared.

I highly recommend this book. This is Sarah Ward's debut novel, but it is hard to tell that it is her first book. It is a police procedural, one of my favorite types of crime fiction, and I especially liked that it had strong female characters.

The book was published on July 2nd, 2015 in the UK. It will be published on September 29th, 2015 here in the US.

Also see:


Publisher:   Minotaur Books, 2015 (orig. pub. in UK)
Length:       314 pages
Format:      Hardcover
Setting:      Derbyshire, UK
Genre:       Police procedural
Source:      Provided by the author and the publisher for review

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Spies, Spies, Spies (Book Sale Part 1)

Today the Planned Parenthood Book Sale ended, and unlike last year, I attended on the last day when the books go down to 50% off. I did not expect to find much (and I hoped not to find much). I had already overdone my book buying on the previous three visits. But I did find books I had not seen before that I was very happy with.

However, the subject of this post is the spy novels I found on the earlier visits. Two of them I was looking for (A Spy's Life by Henry Porter and Catch a Falling Spy by Len Deighton). The other three were either entirely new to me or not really on my radar.

I would love to hear if any of you have comments on your experiences with any of these books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ask For Me Tomorrow: Margaret Millar

This book was published in 1976; Margaret Millar's first novel, The Invisible Worm, was published in 1941. Her later books are not generally considered her best.  This is only the second one I have read recently, so I can't judge, but I liked this one just fine. The story was strange and different, which is what I expect from Millar. There is more than one twist toward the end and she kept me guessing. The dialogue is well done. Just enough dialogue, just enough story and description. The book kept me entertained and I am looking forward to more books by this author.

Tom Aragon is hired by Gilly Decker to find her ex-husband, B. J. Lockwood, who eight years earlier ran off to Mexico with a servant who was pregnant with his son. In the meantime, Gilly remarried but this husband had a stroke almost immediately after they married. From a letter received from B. J. requesting money, Gilly knows that he went to Baja California and got in trouble with a development scheme. Aragon makes two trips to to the small fishing town that B. J. settled in to find out what happened to him or his son.

The story is set in two places, a California town by the ocean, called Santa Felicia in the book, and a small town in Mexico, also on the ocean. Because Millar and her husband, Kenneth Millar (pseudonym of Ross Macdonald) lived in Santa Barbara, California, one can assume that Santa Felicia stands in for Santa Barbara. Because I moved to Santa Barbara only four years after this book was published, it was interesting to think that the city would have been about the same then as when I moved there. The part set in California takes place primarily in the rich woman's home and I have no familiarity with the homes of the rich. There are a lot of them here though.

Millar describes the Santa Ana winds that are common in the summer and the fall in Southern California:
The wind had come up during the night, a santa ana that brought with it sand and dust from the desert on the other side of the mountain. By midmorning the city was stalled as if by a blizzard. People huddled in doorways shielding their faces with scarfs and handkerchiefs. Cars were abandoned in parking lots and here and there news racks had overturned and broken and their contents were blowing down the street, rising and falling like battered white birds.
I don't remember any Santa Anas quite that damaging, but they are scary and uncomfortable. And now we always worry that they will cause a wildfire.

Some reviewers suggest that Millar's failure to stick with a series character may have affected the popularity of her books. This book features one of her series characters, Tom Aragon, who is also in two later books. Aragon is a junior member of a law firm and in this book he does detective work for the firm. (I understand that is true of the other books also.)

The majority of the story is centered on Tom Aragon's trips to Mexico, and that was the part I enjoyed most. Gilly requested a bilingual investigator. Aragon grew up in the "barrio on lower Estero Street" and his mother never learned to speak English, so he fits her needs. In my opinion, he is the most fleshed-out character but there are a lot of interesting characters in the book.

This book is my second submission for 1976 for the Crimes of the Century meme at Past Offences.


Publisher:   Avon, 1978 (orig. pub. 1976)
Length:      176 pages
Format:      Paperback
Series:       Tom Aragon, #1
Setting:      Southern California, Mexico
Genre:        Mystery
Source:      Purchased at the Planned Parenthood book sale, 2014.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Bruges with Love: Pieter Aspe

Description from the Open Road Media website:
Behind the glamorous facade of elite Belgian society lies a seedy world unseen by the public eye—but nothing stays hidden forever 
Inspector Pieter Van In is begrudgingly finishing up a healthy lunch when he hears the news: While restoring their farmhouse, the Vermasts have found a skeleton in the backyard. Van In, who happens to be married to the deputy public prosecutor, is determined to solve the case in double-quick time and squeeze in one last vacation before the birth of his first child.
But this murder is trickier than it looks, and Van In soon finds himself in murky waters. The Vermasts’ land belonged to the most prominent businessman in West Flanders before it was suddenly handed over to a right-wing charity. The heavily endowed foundation appears to have no expenditures or investments. So who’s financing it—and why?
Before he knows it, Van In finds himself in the middle of a complex web—one that involves high-level officials, local law enforcement, and common thugs.
This is the third book in a long series of police procedural novels by Belgian author Pieter Aspe. It was originally published in 1997 as De kinderen van Chronos. Open Road Media has published the first three books in English-language translations.

I enjoy reading books that give me a view of how policemen work in other countries. As a proscecutor, Van In's wife Hannelore works directly with the police during an investigation. Van In is a maverick and often goes more on intuition than evidence, but he is known for getting results. He is also cantankerous and moody, with his co-workers and at home. He and his wife are both dealing with the uncertainty of what their life will be like after a child is born.

I really haven't figured out why I like this series so much, but the fact is, I do. The style of writing is not what I am used to, definitely not lyrical, but often subtly humorous. The policemen are not all likable, and have their foibles. Yet they are friends and very loyal to each other. Van In and Hannelore can be very irritating at times, but I like their relationship. They accept each other and support each other.

Of the three books I have read in this series, this book has the least flavor of Bruges, not that I have visited Bruges or am an expert on the subject. The first book did focus a lot on the city of Bruges. and the second featured a cache of treasure from World War II buried nearby. In all three of the novels, corruption in the government and in police and judicial departments is a theme. Some of the crimes covered in this story are pretty sordid, but to say more would tell more of the story than I care to. Thus this series does not fall into the cozyish type of police procedural, even though the husband and wife both work together.

See my reviews of The Square of Revenge and The Midas Murders.


Publisher:   Open Road Media, 2015 (orig. pub. 1997)
Translator:  Brian Doyle
Length:       336 pages
Format:       e-book
Setting:       Bruges, Belgium
Genre:        Police Procedural
Source:      This book was provided for review by Open Road Integrated Media via NetGalley.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

King and Joker: Peter Dickinson

About the Book (from the author's website):
If Prince Edward hadn't died in 1892 he would have succeeded to the throne of England, instead of his brother George, and reigned as King Victor I, to be succeeded in his turn by his grandson King Victor II, the present monarch. Much would have remained the same, but much would have been very, very different. E.g., as a young man the king had refused to go into the army and insisted on having a medical training. In the same spirit his daughter, the teen-age Princess Louise, from whose point of view the story is seen, attends Holland Park Comprehensive. The palace is troubled by a series of practical jokes, humorous at first, but becoming increasingly unpleasant, until a corpse is discovered on the throne of England.
“Peter Dickinson has a fantastic eye for creating imaginary settings that come across as real and believable. They add to his mysteries a special extra fillip of enjoyment. He out- does himself this time.. . . A most unusual and original mystery. ”
Publishers Weekly

To be candid, this book is one of my favorite books ever, no matter what genre we are considering. So my review is very biased and subjective. This is the third time I have read the book, and I have loved it every time.

King and Joker crosses genres, being both alternate history and a mystery. The book is set in 1976 (when it was written), and most of the story takes place at Buckingham Palace. The story centers on Princess Louise, who is 13 years old. She is mature for her age, but also very naive, as one would expect in such a situation.

Princess Louise is a lovely character, as is her brother Albert. Most of the rest of the characters did not appeal to me so much, not unlikable but just not drawn in as much depth. Princess Louise often visits her former nanny, Durdy, who has been nanny to many princes and princesses. Durdy (or Miss Ivy Durden) is very old and only being kept alive by the various machines she is attached to. The reader gets some of the history of the present king from Durdy as she reminisces.

I will be honest and say that I would not consider this a great mystery novel. I enjoyed it most for the coming of age story of Princess Louise and the beautiful way that the story is told from her point of view. Yet, it has quite enough mystery for me, both in discovering who could be getting away with practical jokes in such a secure environment and who perpetrated the murder that happens as a result of the practical jokes.

There is a sequel to this book, Skeleton in Waiting, published in 1989. I have read that book and I found it disappointing. Probably my expectations were too high since I love King and Joker so much. Yet some reviewers like it, so I would not discourage anyone from giving it a try. Which I plan to do again someday.

Some other resources:
Jo Walton has a great discussion of this book at She says:
"It’s a mystery set in an alternate history. It’s not a story about the alternate history, though the background is well worked out and the revelations are well fitted in to the story." 
Analytical review by cjwatson.
This reviewer mentions one of my least favorite plot points which involves the nanny's nurse, Kinunu. I definitely had reservations about that part of it, at least at this reading of the book, and I think that element could have been handled better. Too much of a plot spoiler to go into it further, though.
I have read several other books by Peter Dickinson. Only one has been reviewed on this blog: The Last Houseparty.
This book is a submission for 1976 for the Crimes of the Century meme at Past Offences. I have been surprised to find that I have enjoyed reading books for the 1970's and 1980's as much as those from earlier decades.


Publisher:  Pantheon Books, 1976. 
Length:     222 pages
Format:     Hardcover
Series:      Princess Louise, #1
Setting:     UK
Genre:      Alternative History / Mystery
Source:    I purchased this book.

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival

For 29 years, the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival has been held in Santa Barbara on the Memorial Day weekend. The squares for the paintings are always set up on the plaza immediately in front of the Santa Barbara Mission, which is a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Saturday morning, many of the artists begin work on their allotted spaces. By Monday afternoon, most of them are finished.

I do not know how many years we have been attending this event. We started when my son was young and his school participated by purchasing a square and decorating it. The festival seemed fairly established at that time but it could not have been in operation too many years.

Somewhere along the way, we stopped going. The crowds are intense and often it is sunny and hot. About eight years ago when we had digital cameras to take photos with, we started attending again. It has become a tradition. We always go early Friday to see the work on the squares begin, and return on Sunday morning to see some of the completed squares. With breakfast out on both days, of course.

Here are some of our photos from the event.

The following links show some other views and provide more information:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Where Memories Lie: Deborah Crombie

Description from my paperback edition:
A lifetime ago, Erika Rosenthal and her late husband, David, fled to England to escape the Nazis—which is all Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Gemma James truly knows about her secretive friend's past. But Erika needs Gemma's help now. A family heirloom, stolen during their flight, is being sold at a prestigious London auction house. Who has had it all these years? And was Erika's husband's death more sinister than it appeared?
The two  protagonist's of this series, Inspector Gemma James and Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard, are living together and both have one child from a previous relationship. This novel, the 12th in the series, begins with the discovery of the long-lost piece of jewelry and then gets combined with an investigation into the death of an employee at the auction house. Are the two related? Also included are flashbacks to the previous investigation of the death of Erika's husband (in 1952) which was eventually ruled to be suicide.

My thoughts:

This type of story that blends a current case with an older case and includes multiple points of view is usually appealing to me. The Holocaust and the pain that remains for the Jewish victims who lived through it is a compelling basis for the story. I enjoyed those aspects of this novel. There were many plot threads, some related to the crimes, some not. Gemma's mother has a serious illness and her relationship with her father is uncomfortable; more background of Erika's life before and after she left Germany are revealed; there are upsets in the balance of relationships in the various police teams. These all felt realistic but there were too many unrelated threads for me. The book is not that long and some of these separate elements seem like padding, not fully developed parts of the story.

Other views:

This review at Reviewing the Evidence is very good, both in exploring the good points  and pointing out the bad points of this book and Deborie Crombie's books in general.  I agree very much with this statement from that review:
Deborah Crombie's James and Kincaid series is something of an enigma in that the entries within it tend to vary quite substantially in terms of quality. Fortunately this is one of the better efforts. There are quite substantial soapy elements here which will appeal most to series aficionados; anyone coming to this as their introduction to Gemma and Duncan might find them not only intrusive, but also feel that they are missing out.
Two other good reviews are

Summing up:

I highly recommend the first books in the series. I read the first eight books back in 2002 and loved them all. After that point, I found the emphasis on the home life and trials and tribulations of the couple and their children to be distracting, and to detract from the main plot. I don't see how these could be read as stand alone books, since so much of the couple's history informs the situation in each book. However, I can tell from the many reviews I read on the books in this series that the family life of Duncan and Gemma are the main drawing point for many readers. Thus I would caution that many readers will find these elements to be positives, not negatives.

Possibly it is my love for the earlier novels that leads to my criticism of the later novels. I expect much more from the author. I also like the character of Duncan Kincaid more than Gemma James, and the focus of the most recent books that I have read seem to be on Gemma.

Why do I continue to read this series by Deborah Crombie when I have reservations about them? First, because I still have some books in the series. Mainly, because I love the maps in the later books, created and illustrated by Laura Maestro. I have bought two of the later hardcover books solely because of the maps. Seriously. If you are interested in the maps, you can read about them at Deborah Crombie's website.


Publisher:  Avon Books, 2009. Orig. pub. 2008.
Length:     289 pages
Format:     Paperback
Series:      Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, #12
Setting:     London
Genre:      Police Procedural
Source:    I purchased this book.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Reading in August

In August I read nine books, eight mysteries and one non-fiction book. This was one of the best reading months I have had, with so many books that I loved that I cannot pick a favorite.

I read one non-fiction book this month, Erik Larson's account of the years from 1933 to 1937 when William Dodd was the American Ambassador to Germany. He and his family lived in Berlin and took part in society functions there, although Dodd worked hard to stay within the Ambassador's salary. The full title is In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin; it is a very interesting account.

Please check out Bill's review at Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan.

I am having a hard time realizing that it is already September and we are two-thirds through this year. There are so many books I planned to read this year that I haven't gotten to yet. That does mean that I have lots to look forward to in the last four months of the year.

These are the crime fiction novels I read in August:

Motor City Blue by Loren D. Estleman
Shotgun Saturday Night by Bill Crider
Charity by Len Deighton
Hopscotch by Brian Garfield
Dead in the Morning by Margaret Yorke
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
Diamond Solitaire by Peter Lovesey
Funeral in Berlin by Len Deighton

One interesting thing to me was that all of the crime fiction books I read in August were published in 1996 or earlier. I have always preferred reading older books, and often let books sit for years before I read them, but lately I have included more newly published novels or more contemporary reads. The oldest book in this group was The Moving Finger by Christie, published in 1942. The most recent was Charity by Deighton. So I will tell you just a little about each in order of publication.

The Moving Finger is set in a small village, and I liked all the characters and village stereotypes. The novel is considered to be a Miss Marple story, but she shows up very late as a visitor to this village. I did not miss Miss Marple at all in this story and her participation is minimal. I have not reviewed the book yet, but I liked it a lot. One of my favorite Christie's so far.

Funeral in Berlin (1964) is the third novel in the Nameless Spy series by Len Deighton. It was made into a film starring Michael Caine and I will be watching that soon. I will confess to being confused about plot points when reading books in this series. In this particular book, there were only a few chapters where he lost me temporarily and later it all began to make sense. This is my favorite so far of that series.

Dead in the Morning (1970) is the first book in the Patrick Grant series by Margaret Yorke. Grant is a likable, highly intelligent, but also extremely nosy amateur detective. In this first book, Grant visits his sister at the same time a death occurs in the small village she lives in and he insinuates himself into the investigation. The Patrick Grant series is not considered to be Yorke's best books; there were only five books in the series. I enjoyed it though; it inspires me to read more of her books.

Hopscotch (1975) was another spy thriller, a genre I am very fond of. I was motivated to read this one because I loved the film Hopscotch so much. The book and the film are both wonderful. I think just about anyone would enjoy the film because it has something for everyone: adventure, lovely locations, romance, and beautiful music. And Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson. I liked the book equally well, but the tone is more serious and there is no romance.

Motor City Blue was my book of 1980 for the Crimes of the Century meme at Past Offences. It was my introduction to Loren D. Estleman, and as a result both my husband and I got interested in his Valentino series, and my husband has already read the first book in that series.

Shotgun Saturday Night (1987) was the second book I had read by Bill Crider, and I liked this entry in the Dan Rhodes series even more than the first one. Dan Rhodes is the Sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas. I am hooked on the series, which has now extended to twenty two books.

Peter Lovesey's Diamond Solitaire (1992) is the 2nd book in a police procedural series that is now 15 books long. Its protagonist, Peter Diamond, is ex-CID, due to difficulties in his last assignment. At the beginning of this book, Diamond is sacked from his job as a security guard at Harrods in London. He pursues a personal investigation into the identity of a young Japanese girl, traveling to New York City and Japan along the way.

Len Deighton's Charity (1996) is the last in a nine book spy fiction series, set during the Cold War, mainly in London and Berlin. As the series starts, Bernard Samson is an agent, married to a beautiful and intelligent woman in the same office, with two children. In the nine books, we follow Samson and his trials and tribulations over five years, 1983 to 1988. A wonderful series of books which I will certainly reread.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Diamond Solitaire: Peter Lovesey

This is the most unusual police procedural mystery I have ever read. I categorize it as a police procedural because much of the legwork does take place in a police department setting, even though the protagonist, Peter Diamond, is ex-CID, due to difficulties in his last assignment in the department.

At the beginning of this book, Diamond is sacked from his job as a security guard at Harrods in London, and in such a way that he cannot get work in that area again. He is at loose ends, although he is actively searching for a job. Much of the action early in the book takes place in London, where Diamond and his wife have moved after he loses his CID job. They are living in an unpleasant flat which Peter is trying to improve with paint and other handyman jobs.

The cause of the sacking at Harrod's is the discovery of a young Japanese girl hidden behind a mound of cushions on a sofa in the area that Diamond was patrolling. The young girl is mute and exhibits symptoms of autism. No one claims her. She is placed in a home for autistic children, and given the name Naomi. Diamond becomes very interested in tracing her identity and returning her to her family.

The story is somewhat unbelievable, but I did not have any problems stretching my disbelief and going along with the story. There is second plot thread about a large pharmaceutical company, with a facility in Milan which is blown up and obvious connections to criminal elements. It is clear that the two plots will come together in the end, and this lends more credence to the long, slow journey that Diamond follows to help the young girl. There is a wonderful scene where a famous Sumo wrestler becomes Diamond's champion in his cause to find Naomi's identity and promises to provide all the funds he needs to search for her.

I don't want to imply that the book is too leisurely. At a bit over 300 pages, the length is just right. There is a build to the point where all the plots come together. About midway in the book the pace picks up. There is an abduction, a journey to New York City and Japan, and lots of action.

I enjoyed the book throughout, including the methodical way Diamond looks for clues and the patience he exhibits in getting to know Naomi. In the end, I was most impressed by the emotional connection that Diamond has with Naomi. She isn't just a case for him to while away the hours. He truly cares. Along with his search for her identity, he hopes to find that her muteness is not a result of autism, but related to the trauma she has experienced.

I also liked the relationship he has with his wife, who endures his attempts at do-it-yourself projects that cause more problems than they fix, and supports him fully in his unusual project to find out who Naomi is and why she was abandoned.

I love this quote from The Guardian:
Here is a classic quest story intertwining kidnapping, murder, deception, fraud and farce with a Sumo wrestler in the unlikely role of fairy godmother. Lovesey sustains his reputation as a deft mystifier in one of the choicest crime-shelf entertainments of the year.
There are now 15 books in the Peter Diamond series. Diamond Solitaire is the 2nd book in the series, and I did read the first one years ago. I liked it so much I collected a few more of them, but it took me a long time (twelve years) to get to this one. Now I am glad I did.

LaVonne Neff at Lively Dust describes the books...
Not noir at all, actually. These books are about 3/4 police procedural, 1/4 comic novel.
The books have many funny touches, but they are subtle. The same reviewer talks about the series here. This is actually a review of Cop to Corpse, the 12th in the series, but she went on to read all the rest of the series before that book, and summarized her thoughts:
So what about beginning a detective series with the last book? After reading the earlier Peter Diamond volumes, I re-read Cop to Corpse. I liked it better the second time around, now that I knew more about the detective and his city. My advice? Don't start this series with book 12. If you're patient and methodical, read the books in the order they were written. But it's also fine to begin reading somewhere in the middle. If you want to get well acquainted with Peter Diamond (and don't mind spoilers), start with Diamond Dust. If you're a fan of cozies, go for Bloodhounds or The Vault. If you lean toward thrillers, try The Summons. Or just grab a Peter Diamond book at random and start reading—the whole series is a delight.
I am convinced, which is a good thing, since I already have books 3 through 7.

See John Grant's review at Goodreads.


Publisher:   Soho Press, 2002 (orig. pub. 1992)
Length:      327 pages
Format:      Trade paperback
Series:       Peter Diamond #2
Setting:      London, New York City, Japan
Genre:        Police Procedural
Source:      I purchased my copy.