Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Vault by Peter Lovesey

First Sentence: Some weird objects are handed in at Bath Police Stations.

Bones—contemporary bones, not Roman bones--are discovered in a vault below the house in which Mary Shelly wrote most of her book “Frankenstein.” An American academic and Shelly fan, reports that his wife has gone missing at the time he was in an antique shop trying to buy a letterbox said to have belonged to the author. When the owner turns up dead, D.S. Diamond has to question whether the man is guilty of one murder, two…or none.

The book begins with an excellent hook. There’s no question of putting the book down, once one starts it.

It’s hard not to love the characters, particularly with Lovesey’s humor, bad puns…”The bony hand, resting on its pizza box, was deposited on Detective Superintendent Peter diamond’s desk. “What’s this—a finger buffet?”…”…When’s medieval?” “Later than Roman,”… The dialogue, in general, is wonderful… “Where did you find it.?" "At Hay-on-Wye." This was cause for a smile. "Sooner or later everything of no special distinction seems to end up there.” It’s wonderful to have dialogue that is clever and witty enough to make one laugh.

Diamond is a great character and a bit of a contrast. Although he always describes himself as believing other see him as annoying and a curmudgeon, there’s little actual evidence of that from his actions. He helps a young reporter who wants to join the police. He has a wonderful conversation with a 6-year-old girl. He has a good relationship with his wife. And he sings songs by Queen—how can one not like a character that single Queen? As an investigator, he uses logic and questioning, rather than makes assumptions. 

The plot is interesting and contains information on some rather obscure history of Bath, Mary Shelly, and art—including a reference to David Hockney. One intriguing comment was that in all his years as a murder man, the board of crime scene photos had never been of an practical help. There are a couple threads to the plot, as well as some clever twists, and everything is brought together really well at the end. 

The Vault,” although perhaps not my favorite of the series, is a very clever mystery; well written and enjoyable. Lovesey’s Peter Diamond series has become a definite favorite of mine. 

THE VAULT (Pol Proc-DS Peter Diamond-Bath, England-Contemp) - VG
Lovesey, Peter – 5th in series
Soho, 1999


  1. LJ,
    I sent this to Peter. I think he will love it! I love his books, too!

  2. Oh, dear. I hope he doesn't mind my saying it wasn't my favorite, but I'm very picky where his books are concerned. I hope to meet him in September. I plan to show up with my HUGE stack of his books. Thanks, Coco.