A young woman turns up at a private hospital with total amnesia of the incident that left her in a coma — and of everything that came before. She remembers nothing of her life, not even her name. Social Services assigns her the name Rose and moves her into  temporary housing once the hospital releases her. There, she encounters a remarkably bright homeless woman named Ada who insists on helping her investigate how she came to be injured. Then a woman turns up who identifies herself as Rose’s sister-in-law and moves her into a vacant flat against Ada’s advice. Ada suspects the woman isn’t who she says she is, but Rose’s amnesia persists. She insists on going along. All very puzzling.

Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is worming his way into a rival detective’s investigation of a supposed suicide nearby. A crotchety and antisocial old farmer has supposedly blown his head off with a shotgun while sitting on a chair in his cottage. Peter suspects there is more to the story.

Upon a Dark Night (Peter Diamond #5) by Peter Lovesey @@@@ (4 out of 5)

No veteran reader of detective fiction will be surprised to learn that the two cases are linked — or that additional mysteries turn up in the course of the several ensuing investigations, all of which are connected as well. Author Peter Lovesey is skilled at offering up complex plots in the novels of the Peter Diamond series, of which Upon a Dark Night is the fifth. However, unlike many other prominent British mystery writers, Lovesey doesn’t devolve his stories into insipid whodunits. (I’ve had enough of Colonel Mustard in the Parlor with the Knife.) The case confronting Detective Superintendent Diamond is legitimately complicated and is a great deal of fun to follow through to the end.

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