Lovesey, Peter - 'Down Among the Dead Men'
I was attracted to this book as the author stands out from the crowd because the plots of his books as just so original and unusual. Some years ago I read one of his which involved a train journey from London to Bath in a slam door carriage and the passengers in this compartment included DS Peter Diamond, a clergyman and a Scotsman in national dress with kilt and sporran and several others, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to identify the name of the book but it was very memorable just for these details.
In his latest book, Danny Stapleton, a car thief has had to invest in some expensive kit to keep up with the latest computer technology that is included in cars these days, to deter theft. He steals a BMW from a pub car-park, with the aid of this equipment and drives off in it on the way to a contact of his, whom he hopes will provide him with false number plates - when he is stopped by a police car. The police search him and discover that he has over two thousand pounds in notes on his person (which he found in the glove-box) and when they search the boot of the car they discover a sack containing a dead body. Danny is arrested and put on trial as accessory to murder and is found guilty and given a life sentence.
Seven years later and Bath, Somerset, Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is asked to investigate the conviction because of alleged corruption by the Chichester police. He is accompanied by his old enemy, Georgina Dallymore, Assistant Chief Constable of Bath and feels he has to be on his best behaviour! The two go to the prison that Stapleton is held in and interview him and then proceed to Chichester police station where they examine the past records of the case when it came to trial all those years ago. Diamond discovers that the Superintendent in charge at the time was an old work-mate,' Hen' Mallin, whom he worked with many years previously in Bath.
Diamond gets distracted from this case by the disappearance of an art teacher from a private school for girls and decides to interview the headmistress and the story goes off on an apparent tangent. However, all the different strands come together in the end.
This is the fifteenth book by the author about Peter Diamond and mainly set in and around Bath, where he used to live, but he has many more titles to his name and that of his pen-name Peter Lear. He writes both contemporary detective police procedural stories and historical mystery books and was a story consultant for the Rosemary & Thyme gardening detective series with Felicity Kendall and Pam Ferris.
I really enjoyed this very gripping book which had such an unusual plot, or should I say plots as there were so many different elements going on but it all turned out right in the end. Extremely well recommended.
Terry Halligan, England