Through a particularly tragic series of events, couch potato Maeve Kelly has been forced to sign up for the Other Half, Bath’s springtime half-marathon. What Maeve doesn’t know is just how brutal some of the other runners are.
As race day draws closer, an Albanian refugee named Spiro makes a run for freedom on the other side of town, escaping the chain gang that has held him hostage and its murderous foreman, who is known to his charges as The Finisher. The Finisher has killed for disobedience before, and Spiro knows there’s a target on his back as he tries to lose himself in the genteel medieval city of Bath.
Meanwhile Detective Peter Diamond is tasked with crowd control on the raucous day of the race – and catches sight of a violent criminal he put away a decade ago, and who very much seems to be up to his old tricks now that he is paroled. Diamond’s hackles are already up when he learns that one of the runners never crossed the finish line and has disappeared without a trace. Was Diamond a spectator to the prelude to a murder?
There are those among us who would read Lovesey if he took to writing on the backs of cereal boxes . . . All the signature elements of this acclaimed series are present: the gin-dry humour, the engaging characters, the ending that kills you before you know you're dead . . . Slowly, but with relentless pacing and magical writing . . . the plotlines converge * Booklist (starred review) * I came away impressed by the storytelling, the relative pace of the plot and of the frequent twists and turns that made this a compelling read * Chicago Review of Books * Mr Lovesey's descriptive passages will have armchair explorers champing at the bit * Pittsburgh Post Gazette * Throughout, Diamond remains his usual appealing self, and Lovesey retains his knack for tight plotting and supple prose * Seattle Times * It is 50 years since Lovesey's first novel, which also featured running. British mystery fiction's reigning head of state returns to that sporting setting with his customary wit, humanity and unpredictable turns of plot * Morning Star * In a peerlessly plotted mystery, Lovesey brings back his prickly rule-abhoring detective, Peter Diamond of the Bath police, who's investigating a murder at a half-marathon. As readers who love the Diamond series know, the picture-perfect old British city, honeycombed with sluices, drains and sewers, offers unrivalled facilities for disposing of bodies * New York Times * This is a story firmly set in the present day (or at least the immediate pre-pandemic present day!) but Peter Lovesey's storytelling skills, and certainly his gift for constructing a fair play puzzle, match those of the finest exponents of Golden Age fiction * Martin Edwards * Masterly, atmospheric . . .On the 50th anniversary of the publication of his first novel, Lovesey is still going strong * Publisher's Weekly * An enthralling read, with an intriguing plot...deals with serious issues of modern life in a compassionate but honest way. The dynamics between Diamond and his team are cleverly portrayed and totally believable * Mystery People * I loved this book and hope that Lovesey, who is in his eighties, will just keep on writing. I adored my virtual trip to Bath and the time spent with this book and its characters * Joyce's Mystery and Fiction Book Reviews * A witty, steadily absorbing procedural marked by Lovesey's customary inventiveness and an unguessable solution * Kirkus Reviews * Threaded through this elegantly written mystery are vivid and timely subplots concerning Russian oligarchs and Albanian fugitives from modern slavery gangs. Peter Lovesey may now be in his eighties, but he tells his tale with all the wit and verve of a much younger man * Irish Independent * Lovesey brilliantly weaves all these disparate characters and storylines into a wonderfully entertaining and compelling story. His work is the gold standard for UK crime fiction writing * Deadly Pleasures * An intricate, well-paced murder mystery set against the beauties of Georgian Bath, solved less by cold reason than by instinct and gut feelings on the part of the amiable old-fashioned copper, with his loathing of modern bureaucracy in the police force, and distrust of technology . . . Cat-loving DS Diamond, with his dog-loving girlfriend, Paloma, is the most amiable copper to come our way since the demise of the immortal duo of Ruth Rendell's Wexford * The Tablet *
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