By Peter Lovesey.
1996. 359 pages. $22.00
Peter Lovesey tosses off a real brain-banger in BLOODHOUNDS the fourth book in a challenging series that opened with THE LAST DETECTIVE. I am mad for these pyrotechnic teasers, and this one had my head spinning.
The test of wits begins when Peter Diamond, the irascible British copper who heads up the Bath murder squad, declares his longing for 'a good old-fashioned mystery,' something along the lines of those impenetrable scenarios that John Dickson Carr used to dream up, complete with 'the cryptic rhymes, the ingenious theft, the locked room puzzle and the closed circle of suspects.' Diamond gets his wish when someone breaks into a museum and pinches a priceless stamp that later turns up between the pages of a classic whodunit under discussion by a group of mystery buffs (the so-called Bloodhounds). The plot quickens when one of these contentious Hounds is found murdered on his locked boat and . . .
. . . and on and on it goes, getting trickier at every turn. Watch out for red herrings, listen up when those opinionated Bloodhounds go on about 'escapism versus realism,' 'the puzzle versus the police procedural' and 'country houses versus mean streets,' and don't underestimate Diamond, who gets his kicks poking holes in the plots of vintage thrillers like TO CATCH A THIEF.
Category: Detective fiction