Written by Peter Lovesey

Peter LovesPeter Lovesey

The scene is an interview room in Bath police station. Peter Lovesey, looking anxious, has been waiting for some time when Diamond enters and takes the seat opposite.


D. Okay, let’s get this underway, Mr Lovesey. This is off the record, so I won’t be hitting you with the official caution.


L. I hope you won’t be hitting me at all.


D. Thirty years ago, in 1991, you wrote The Last Detective, based loosely on a case of mine triggered by the discovery of a naked body in Chew Valley Lake.


L. I object to ‘loosely’. I gave a true account of the case.


D. And I object to your account of me. You introduced me in Chapter 3 as if was the corpse. To quote you: ‘In the Bristol City mortuary a body lay on a steel trolley. In profile the swell of the stomach suggested nothing less than a mountainous landscape.’ That’s pretty insulting.


L. Agreed. There’s some artistic licence there.


D. It gets worse: ‘To an imaginative eye it might have been evocative of a dinosaur lurking in a primeval swamp, except that a brown trilby hat of the sort seen in 1940s films rested on the hump.’ Anyone can see what you’re doing here, suggesting I’m backward in my methods.


L. Well you are. You’re uncomfortable with technology. You resist every advance of modern policing.


D. Only because you’re not up with it yourself.


L. True, but I’m the writer, not the cop. My job is to make the story live for the reader. I don’t pad it out with pages of boring stuff about forensic medicine. Dealing with that is your job, not mine.


D. It strikes me that your job is character assassination. By the end of that book you have me under the cosh from the Assistant Chief Constable for some misdemeanour.


L. Some misdemeanour, shoving a small boy against a radiator and putting him in hospital?


D. As a result of which I was forced to resign. That could have been the end of my career.


L. It was intended that way. You were meant to be a one-off. The only reason you made it to a second book is that the first won the Anthony award, so I was persuaded to find a way of getting you back in the police.


D. And The Summons won the Silver Dagger, proving I’m a hit with your readers. The one after picked up another Silver and more awards in America and the rest is history, a history running to twenty volumes. One-off, my arse!


L.  One-off is right, superintendent. You’re riding for a fall. You haven’t read read the new one yet. Diamond and the Eye pits you against a particularly annoying private eye who puts you through detective hell.


D. I don’t believe this. A private eye in Bath?


L. You’d better believe it. Just so you do, here are the first few lines. Read them, and eat your heart out. 


‘Mind if I join you?’

       Peter Diamond’s toes curled.

       There’s no escape when you’re wedged into your favourite armchair in the corner of the lounge bar at the Francis observing the last rites of an exhausting week keeping a cap on crime. Tankard in hand, your third pint an inch from your mouth, you want to be left alone.

The stranger’s voice was throaty, the accent faux American from a grainy black-and-white film a lifetime ago. This Bogart impersonator was plainly as English as a cricket bat. His face wasn’t Bogart’s and he wasn’t talking through tobacco smoke, but he held a cocktail stick between two fingers as if it was a cigarette. Some years the wrong side of forty, he was dressed in a pale grey suit and floral shirt open at the neck to display a miniature magnifying glass on a leather cord.

'Depends,’ Diamond said.

'On what?’

‘Should I know you?’

‘No reason you should, bud.’

No one called Diamond ‘bud’. He’d have said so, but the soundtrack had already moved on.

‘I got your number. You’re the top gumshoe in this one-horse town and you’re here in the bar Friday nights when you’re not tied up on a case. What’s your poison? I’ll get you another.’

‘Don’t bother.’ Diamond wasn’t getting suckered into getting lumbered with a bar-room bore who called him bud and claimed to have got his number.

‘You’ll need something strong when you hear what I have to say.’ The bore pulled up a chair and the voice became even more husky. ‘Good to meet you, any road. I’m Johnny Getz, the private eye.’

‘Say that again, the last part.’

‘Private eye.’

Against all the evidence that this was a send-up, Diamond had to hear more. ‘Private eye? I thought they went out with Dick Tracy.’

‘Dick Tracy was a cop.’

‘Sam Spade, then. We’re talking private detectives, are we? I didn’t know we had one in Bath.’

‘What do you mean – “one”? I could name at least six others. The difference is they’re corporate. I’m the real deal. I work alone.’


‘Over the hairdresser’s in Kingsmead Square.’ An address that lacked something compared to a seedy San Francisco side-street, which was probably why the self-styled private eye added, ‘The Shear Amazing Sleuth. Like it?’


Diamond & the Eye

Diamond and the Eye is published on July 8th by Sphere. 

Peter’s website is



Peter Lovesey

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor