The Stone Wife, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Just as the bidding gets exciting in a Bath auction house, three armed men stage a hold-up and attempt to steal Lot 129, a medieval carving of the Wife of Bath.

The highest bidder, appalled to have the prize snatched away, tries to stop them and is shot dead. Peter Diamond, head of the murder squad, soon finds himself sharing an office with the stone wife - until he is ejected.

To his extreme annoyance the lump of stone appears to exert a malign influence over him and his investigation. Refusing to be beaten, he rallies his team and begins finding suspects and motives. The case demands that someone goes undercover. The dangerous mission falls to Sergeant Ingeborg Smith, reverting to her journalist persona to get the confidence of a wealthy local criminal through his pop star girlfriend. And soon, murder makes a reappearance ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780751554076



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I am surprised that Peter Lovesey's novels featuring Superintendent Peter Diamond haven't found been dramatised for television. After all, the combination of the photogenic city of Bath, the irascible protagonist and the engaging and soundly-constructed plots strikes me as a winning formula, readily susceptible of the same effect that the Inspector Morse series has had for Oxford.This latest instalment, which revolves around the shooting at an auction room of a scholar specialising in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, is a welcome addition to the series. Superintendent Diamond is always entertaining, alternating between down to earth common sense and explosive rage, and in this latest outing he also displays hitherto unsuspected remorse and concern for the wellbeing of his junior detectives. Lovesey tends towards the gentler end of modern crime fiction, and doesn't subject his readers to the more gory aspects of murder. Indeed, one of the more notable facets of Superintendent Diamond's psyche is his reluctance to attend post-mortem examinations. The corollary of this is that, occasionally, the plots veer away from strict plausibility. This is not, however, necessarily a fatal flaw. The novels may be slightly escapist, but they are certainly enjoyable, and Lovesey uses Diamond's prickly sensitivity and his interaction with junior colleagues (the feisty Sergeant Ingeborg Smith in particular) to great effect.

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