REVIEW: The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey

REVIEW: The Last Detective by Peter LoveseyThe Last Detective (Peter Diamond #1) by Peter Lovesey
Published: Soho Crime (1991), eBook, 336pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fiction, Mystery

A nude female floats dead in a large reservoir lake south of Bristol. To solve the "Lady of the Lake" mystery, and save a woman unjustly accused, Sussex Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond must find two missing letters attributed to Jane Austen, and defy his superiors. (from Info)

So unfortunately this was not one of my better reads this month. I bought it (on sale and with a coupon!) last month mainly because I’d half-watched the TV show version with Peter Davison a while back and it wasn’t too terrible.1 The book series the TV show is based off of seems to be the same sort of not terrible/terrible mix.

Lemme explain! Okay, so, first: the writing is all over the place. First books usually have growing pains anyway, so I expected a little weirdness. But! Some parts were terrific! And other parts were terrifically boring. I don’t actually know if that’s because of the writing style or because of the various plot choices.

For example: the terrific parts were the ones where the POV wasn’t Peter Diamond’s. Two of the suspects get a chance to tell their side of the story, and those chapters are REALLY good. They’re emotional, they’re exciting, both of the suspects’ voices were very distinct and true to their characters. But when Peter Diamond takes over, it’s kind of…bleh.

Part of the bleh comes from the uber-realistic approach to police detective life. Like, they actually have to wait more than a day for lab results! The case stretches over most of a year! Office politics! Nosy reporters! etc.! Great stuff if you like your mysteries to be very true-to-life. Not so great when it slows the pacing down so much that I wanted to give up reading it entirely.

I kept going because I wanted to see who the killer was. That’s one of the good things about The Last DetectiveI had NO DEA what the solution was, not even a hint. Fantastic! I love not being able to figure things out before the detective does, and it was handled in such a way that I didn’t feel stupid for not guessing, either. Yay!

Though it has its good points, there’s no way I’m continuing onward in the series. I liked the actual mystery, but I was bored to tears by the hero/detective. Not the book for me, nope.

Read: December 10-21, 2013

I have another Lovesey book on my TBR pile: Bertie and the Tinman, an Edwardian mysteries starring the Prince of Wales. I wonder if I’ll like that one better?


  1. It wasn’t all that good, either. Maybe it was the way Peter Davison kept breathing heavily and looking confused/bewildered, idk.

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