Lovesey, Peter. The Tooth Tattoo.

NY: Soho Press, 2013.

This twelfth book about Detective Superintendent of Bath CID is one of the more successful ones in the latter part of the series. (Diamond wasn’t a very sympathetic character in the first couple, but he got better.) The topical theme this time is classical chamber music, a very attenuated world which Lovesey obviously knows a good deal about. (He’s big on theater, too.)

A young Asian woman turns up dead in the nearby canal and she turns out to have connections to the members of a string quartet that’s trying to reform and reestablish itself after its violist disappeared a few years before. And now they’re doing a residency at the local university while they get used to each other in rehearsals.

Funnily enough — the author sometimes gets carried away with extremely unlikely coincidences — Diamond and his lady friend were on a short holiday in Vienna recently and came across a flower memorial to another young Asian woman with serious musical connections whose body was found in a canal there. And while Diamond has an amazing memory (he’s something of a technophobe), it takes him a perplexing amount of time to make the connection from all the telling details.

The process of the investigation is well handled and all the background information about the extremely competitive and highly stressful world of professional classical music is quite fascinating. We also see events from the POV of Mel Farran, the quartet’s new violist, which provides a nice balance to Diamond’s own take on things he doesn’t entirely understand. A good way to lose a weekend.

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Published in: on 1 February 2016 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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