- Series: A Detective Peter Diamond Mystery
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Soho Crime (September 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1569475989
- ISBN-13: 978-1569475980
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Skeleton Hill (A Detective Peter Diamond Mystery) Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Silver Dagger Award–winner Lovesey's 10th Peter Diamond investigation (after 2007's The Secret Hangman) may offer a less intricate plot and more procedural work than usual, but Diamond remains one of the most realistic and human of fictional sleuths. During a recreation of an English Civil War battle outside Bath, Rupert Hope, an academic who's playing a cavalier, and another participant discover a human femur. Presented with this minor puzzle, the police eventually unearth the entire skeleton, minus the skull. After someone bludgeons Hope to death, Diamond wonders whether Hope's murder and the headless skeleton are connected, and his team redoubles their efforts to identify it. A zipper found near the skeleton may point to a link with London's Russian community. While some readers will anticipate the solution with little trouble, sharp prose and characterization make this another winner in this enduring series. (Sept.)
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Praise for Skeleton Hill
"Diamond is a classic—better catch him while you can."
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Peter Lovesey is the real deal. A top master of the police procedural British subgenre, he's an ace at spinning out teasingly slow plot revelations . . . crisp prose and humane characterizations.”
—The Seattle Times
"Nobody can write the modern traditional detective novel as perfectly as Lovesey."
—The Denver Post
"History, humor, inspired clues, maniacal twists and a paean to the beauty of the Bath countryside. Lovesey, who’s won every prize going, deserves another for Diamond’s tenth."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Diamond remains one of the most realistic and human of fictional sleuths . . . another winner in this enduring series."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Praise for The Peter Diamond series
“I’m jealous of everyone discovering Lovesey and Diamond for the first time—you have a wonderful backlist to catch up on. Me, all I can do is wait for the next book.”
"These erudite and wondrously witty books are unlike any police procedural you've ever read."
—The New York Times Book Review
“Thickly textured, amusing, unpredictably mixing puzzle and procedural.... One of the best.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Witty . . . A perfectly realized murder mystery.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Extremely stylish, lighter than air ... utterly surprising.”
“Lovesey’s books are so beautifully constructed and cleanly written that they could be used as textbooks in a crime writing course.”
another winner in this enduring series
From the eBook edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Peter Diamond is a big man - overweight, unfit, funny and irascible by turns, and totally consumed by his job. A demanding boss, he assumes everybody wants to work as hard as he does. Oddly enough for a man who's often in a rush, he likes to drive slow (even old ladies pass him). He's put off by technology but not above using it. In this book he's painfully learning to use his cell phone.
The focus of the action is Lansdown, a hill near Bath where the Roundheads fought the Cavaliers in 1643. The locals periodically re-enact the battle in historic costumes for enthusiastic audiences. During the latest re-enactment, two Cavaliers sneak off to have a few beers under an ancient fallen oak. Some cans are missing, and digging around in search of them, the men find a human femur. Finally they re-bury it out of respect, assuming it's a combatant killed centuries ago.
But in fact the skeleton is no more than 20 years old - and headless. That gets the police to wondering. And when one of the Cavaliers who found the skeleton is murdered, Peter Diamond suspects that the two deaths must be linked.
There are lots of eccentric characters in the story, and interesting glimpses of the sex trade and the aristocratic horseracing scene. The mystery is solved by putting a hundred bits and pieces of information together from interviews, research, forensics and plain old-fashioned snooping. It's quite absorbing to go through the process with Diamond and his team.
I highly recommend the whole series, as well as this latest book.
OK--so author Peter Lovesey delivers a decent plot and a rather good procedural. Where this story does not succeed so well is when it hits the denouement and the motivation of the killer(s?) becomes paramount. That motivation as laid out by the author is just not plausible enough to be attributed to the kind of person(s) that the killer(s) turn out to be. For me, it was literally a "oh, come on" moment.
Lovesey is a good writer, but this can't be one of his best efforts.
Diamond's investigation takes him to historical sites in Bath, to the area's horseracing scene and to London's seamy world of eastern European sex workers who came to England after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
We don't see much of Peter Diamond's personal life in this particular entrant in the series. It's more of a straightforward police procedural. I thought it was interesting, but not a standout. Still, a medium-grade Lovesey is well above average for most mysteries.
What follows is a case lead by old pro Peter Diamond, who insists that the two crimes are connected and doggedly pursues the truth in spite of strong discouragement from his boss. Author Lovesey's pacing and plotting is superb, his characters genuine and likable, including the bad guys. Inspector Diamond has recently lost his wife, and is provided here with material for a budding, if not wildly romantic, new relationship with a smart, sassy woman (close to his own age, even!). Lovesey also makes good use of his settings, evoking a realistic sense of time and place. As in other series fiction, perhaps it's better to read the entries in chronological order, but I haven't done that, and find that Skeleton Hill holds its own as a standalone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All of his books in this series are good! Trying the others series soon. Recommend his books to anyone loving detective/murder storiesPublished 6 months ago by glacial speed
I love the pacing of Lovesey as he has Peter Diamond solve the case. He always gets his man or woman.Published 7 months ago by Sue-Ellen de Beer
Good writing, good plot, but I'm starting to get tired of Peter Diamond. He's kind of a jerk. Sustained bad behavior gets old.Published 14 months ago by Lawrence Hicks
I love Peter Lovesey's books, and this one is no exception! The plot, humor, setting and general warmth comfort me as I follow the mystery.Published 16 months ago by Book/Music Enthusiast