Fifty years after publishing his first novel—the wonderful Wobble to Death, about murder during a Victorian race walking competition—British author Lovesey returns to the sports world in this 19th mystery starring Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond. In the run-up to Bath, England’s spring half-marathon, we’re introduced to Maeve Kelly, a usually non-athletic schoolteacher, who’s training for this charity event in order to atone for an accident that cost the British Heart Foundation a valuable donation. Her preparations are onerous; yet they do lead her into a welcome friendship with Olga Ivanov, a weight-loss-obsessed Russian whom Maeve rescues from a mugging. On the day of the race, the curmudgeonly Diamond finds himself doing crowd control—only to spot among the competitors Tony Pinto, a sex predator recently freed from prison. When one of the women runners goes missing, Diamond blames Pinto. But his imperious efforts to prove that case lead to his censure, a quixotic search for corpses in the quarries beneath Bath, and human-trafficked Albanians fleeing a gang boss called the Finisher. Suffused with dry wit and local history, carefully plotted, and boasting myriad entertaining players, Lovesey’s latest is a master study in weaving a modern whodunit.
—Jeff, Madison Books, Seattle, WA