Cop to Corpse: A Peter Diamond Investigation
by Peter Lovesey
Review by Cathy Green
Soho Crime Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781616950781
Date: 12 June 2012 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond is back for his twelfth case in Peter Lovesey's Cop to Corpse. While out on his foot patrol in Bath, PC Harry Trasker is felled by a sniper's bullet. Inspector Lockton is the senior officer on the scene, and like everyone else assumes that the so-called "Somerset Sniper" has struck again, killing his third policeman. Eager to make his mark before someone more senior comes to take over the case, Lockton also foolishly attempts to apprehend the sniper himself, getting his head bashed in and causing suspicion to fall on the residents of the apartment building where Lockton and his sergeant found the sniper's rifle and attempted to set a trap.
Thanks to Lockton's blunder, Peter Diamond now has two crime scenes, Trasker's and Lockton's. Complicating matters, Jack Gull, head of the Serial Crimes Unit, breezes in and informs Diamond that he is taking over the case. Diamond is not sure that Trasker's murder is the work of the Somerset Sniper, but he accepts Gull moving in on his turf with more grace than anyone expects, given Diamond's reputation for not playing well with others even when he likes and respects them.
On this case, Diamond manages to upset his entire team. Convinced that Trasker's murder is not linked to the Sniper murders, Diamond orders his team to investigate Trasker. They are not happy about investigating a fellow officer, even less so when information comes to light that suggests Trasker may have been on the take. This information considerably widens the suspect pool, even though there is still no concrete evidence that the case is not linked to the prior Sniper killings.
Diamond's team would rather operate on the assumption that Trasker was killed by the Sniper and not damage Trasker's reputation, but Diamond doggedly pursues his parallel investigation. The book is also interspersed with blog entries that at first do not seem to have anything to do with the case, but then seem to become increasingly relevant.
Peter Lovesey has given us another great case involving Chief Superintendent Diamond, Detective Inspector Keith Halliwell, and Detective Constable Ingeborg Smtith. Cop to Corpse is a solid police procedural with plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as significant amounts of interaction among the members of Diamond's team and with the Serial Crimes Unit. The reader follows Diamond and his colleagues through multiple interviews and re-interviews with suspects and witnesses, stakeouts, autopsies, and paperwork.
The novel stands alone, so readers new to Peter Lovesey and Chief Superintendent Diamond do no have to worry about needing to read the previous Diamond books in order to fully understand what is going on. Lovesey neatly ties together all the plot threads for a satisfying resolution of all the murders and the various plot lines attached to multiple suspects.