“Peter Lovesey tosses off a real brain-banger in Bloodhounds, the fourth book in a challenging series . . . I am mad for these pyrotechnic teasers, and this one had my head spinning.”—The New York Times Book Review
A rare stamp and a corpse are discovered in Bath within hours of each other. As he investigates, Inspector Peter Diamond discovers that both the person who found the stamp and the victim belong to the Bloodhounds, an elite group of mystery lovers, who now urge Diamond to bring the murderer to justice. But there’s a hitch: the body lies inside a padlocked houseboat and the only key is in the pocket of a man with an airtight alibi.
About the Author
Peter Lovesey is the author of more than thirty highly praised mystery novels. He has been awarded the CWA Gold and Silver Daggers, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the Strand Magazine Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards, and many other honors. He lives in West Sussex, England.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Bloodhounds are a weird mystery fan group who meet in strange places like crypts to hold discussions. Just prior to tonight¿s meeting Milo finds a rare Penny Black stamp inside a John Dickson Carr novel; the stamp was recently stolen from the Postal Museum. Not long afterward, Milo is found dead in his locked riverboat and the stamp is missing....................... The killer sends riddles to the police and the media driving an already irate Bath Detective Superintendent Diamond up a wall while his staff interviews the other members of the Bloodhounds. Diamond soon comes up with a theory on how the killer escaped the locked riverboat puzzle, but that fails to get him any closer to identifying the culprit making him wonder if his hypothesis is sending him down the wrong path......................... Paying homage to John Dickson Carr, no one writing today does locked room mysteries as good as Peter Lovesey does. In his fourth Diamond police procedural (see THE LAST DETECTIVE, DIAMOND SOLITAIRE, and THE SUMMONS) is a terrific tale that grips readers as the cops question the obsessed Bloodhounds only to uncover all sorts of personal secrets, but no murder motive as none seems like a thief. Diamond remains cantankerous perhaps more so this time because the serial killer is laughing in public at his foibles. Besides the locked room, Mr. Lovesey pulls a brilliant sleight of the hand that will fool and satiate the audience............................... Harriet Klausner
First, a rare stamp is stolen in broad daylight after the thief notifies the police and press ahead of time in a bold taunt. The Bloodhounds, the local reading group for mystery fans in Bath, are interested in the opportunity to discuss a real mystery, but after one of their members ends up dead, murdered, in a different member's locked houseboat (the Mrs. Hudson), they all begin to suspect one-another. Only one Bloodhound, Milo, is above suspicion as he has a solid alibi--being with the police at the time of the murder. However, Milo, the fan of classic mysteries and locked room puzzles, had the only key to his houseboat in his possession at the police station, and the houseboat was found locked with no sign of forced entry. Peter Diamond, the Detective Superintendent in charge of investigating the murder, has his own locked-room puzzle to solve.Peter Lovesey builds his characters well. His plotting is creative and fair to a reader who likes a mystery that gives enough clues. The writing is clear, and the dialogue is sharp. None of these assets are the best point of the book however. My favorite aspect is the clever references to other mystery authors and mystery genres which any crime book lover will find amusing. Whether it's Bloodhounds debating the benefits of the noir crime versus the puzzle-based whodunits or it's John Dickson Carr's rules of a proper locked-room mystery, a well-read reader will appreciate the nods to favorite authors.
I like Lovesey, in general. But with this book, everything has to be qualified. Killer is "least likely", all right -- but unsatisfying (and eminently guessable) nonetheless. Investigative team is well contrasted -- but not very compelling. Suspects are diverse enough, OK -- but to almost no purpose. The concept of a murderous mystery book club is amusing -- but not nearly sufficiently exploited for its comic potential. What is interesting is Lovesey's habit of starting a dialogue sequence between two characters who are part of a larger social context and then continuing with unattributed statements that create a sense of ambiguity as to who, precisely, is speaking. I only wish this habit had been in the service of the mystery(ies).