The Stone Wife, Peter Lovesey, Soho Crime, ISBN 978-1-61695-393-5, $26.95, 368 pgs.

During an auction in Bath, a large slab of carved stone draws a lot of attention, some of it unwanted.  The stone turns out to be a carving of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and the attention it draws involves large sums of cash being bid and a trio of masked gunmen.  When it is all over the stone remains in the hands of thestone wife auction house and one of the bidders is dead.  Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond, and his team, are soon called in to sort things out.  But things don’t add up.  The gunmen, apparent thieves, leave empty handed.  The shot bidder, who dies from his wounds, is a university professor who is a Chaucer expert but who also has a history of bad luck.  The assailants appear to be there with little reason.  As the team begins to try to put things together they end up raising more questions than they can answer.  Pretty soon they’re investigating people with the most unusual connections and what first seemed a fairly simply case of theft now looks like more of a case of gun running and revenge than robbery.

This is Lovesey’s latest entry, the 14th, in his Inspector Diamond series and it is as stylishly crafted as the others in the series, perhaps more so since this one carries forward the history of character.  Lovesey has once again built a mystery that seems almost unsolvable and then has Diamond manage to put it all together through what seems more sheer determination than anything else.  Along the way there are amusing interplays between the investigating team and some seriously puzzling interventions required.  The cast of characters is wide and diverse and any one of them seems capable of having been involved in the deed.

The Stone Wife is a fun and entertaining read giving you bits of English history along the way and introducing you to a cast of characters who are just as they should be for the roles they fill.  Diamond and his team seem almost world weary with their lot but they manage to press on anyway.  Lovesey presents all the clues but holds the resolution until right at the end as Diamond plays his hand in front of his team and the reader.

Recommended and if you would like to get a copy of your very own, click here: The Stone Wife (Peter Diamond #14)

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About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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