Cover image of "The Summons," a mystery with too many suspects

A convicted murderer engineers a daring escape from prison in England. Instead of fleeing abroad or hiding out in an isolated location elsewhere in the country, he returns to Bath, the town in Southwest England where the murder was committed. There he kidnaps the nineteen-year-old daughter of the assistant police commissioner and demands to speak with the detective who put him away.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Unfortunately, the detective, Peter Diamond, had resigned in fury from the police several years previously and was eking out a living in London. Only when he receives a desperate phone call from the new commissioner does Diamond agree to allow the two officers sent to retrieve him to hustle him back to Bath.

Once back in the headquarters of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, he learns that the man he helped convict of murder insists that he is innocent and that Diamond prove it before he will release the young woman. Thus begins The Summons, the third in Peter Lovesey’s widely read series featuring the corpulent and irascible detective, Peter Diamond.

The Summons (Peter Diamond #3) by Peter Lovesey ★★★☆☆

Too many suspects

One of the unfortunate characteristics of so many traditional English mystery novels is an overabundance of suspects. So it is with The Summons. The novel reads well, Diamond is a fascinating character, and the suspense builds satisfactorily for much of the story. But once one suspect, then another and another, emerge from the tangled details of the murder case, the plot becomes increasingly difficult to believe. I enjoyed the two previous novels in Lovesey’s series, so I’ll give the next one a try as well. But the jury’s out on this series. I strongly favor credibility over contrivance.

About the author

Peter Lovesey has written two lengthy series of detective novels. One, early in his career, was set in Victorian times. The other, now fifteen books strong, features Peter Diamond. Lovesey has also written thirteen other novels and six short story collections.

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