The Stone Wife - Peter LoveseyIn a break with the usual police procedural tradition, I’ll start with a confession: Peter Lovesey is a new name to me. Further investigation reveals that he has written 35 crime and historical novels and was Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. He’s been presented with Lifetime Achievement awards both in the UK and the US and been shortlisted for numerous literary awards. Add hundreds of really positive and passionate reader reviews to the evidence against me and I’m starting to feel a bit baffled as to how I have could possibly have missed out – and I’m starting to think that I really have missed out. I’m putting that right with his latest novel, The Stone Wife, which is published in April and opens with a brilliantly original scenario.

We’re in a Bath auction house, when there’s a disturbance as three armed men burst in: they’re after a medieval carving of the Wife of Bath, Chaucer’s famously saucy Canterbury Tales heroine. The successful bidder, a professor, is shot dead when he tries to prevent the theft of his new treasure. Senior detective Peter Diamond later finds himself sharing an office with the figure. Could it really be jinxing the investigation? Determined that nothing will derail him – there are no such things as curses – Diamond rallies his team and starts digging deeper.

Peter Lovesey’s first novel was Wobble to Death (1970), published on both sides of the Atlantic after winning a prestigious competition. It opened the series featuring Victorian detective Sergeant Cribb. Lovesey’s second series character is Peter Diamond who operates on the streets of modern-day Bath. The Stone Wife is the fourteenth in the series. While I can’t personally recommend it (yet!), there are hundreds of online reviewers that think his work is among the very best they’ve read.

I’m off to the bookstore.