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by Peter Lovesey
Soho, July 2019
336 pages
ISBN: 1641290595

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

There are some authors whom we must admire simply for their professionalism. They respect the parameters of the genre. They play strictly fair with the reader. Their plotting is faultless and their prose style impeccable. The best of them are witty and entertaining. And at the top of the list are the very few that do all of this but despite however many volumes they add to their series, never sink to boilerplate or the mixture as before. For myself, I'd place Peter Lovesey on the top rung of this particular ladder.

KILLING WITH CONFETTI is the 18th in the Peter Diamond series. Here Peter is required to oversee security for the problematic wedding of the daughter of a notorious crime baron to the son of the Deputy Chief Constable, George Brace. The wedding is not to take place as it reasonably should, in a quiet registry office, but in Bath Abbey, followed by a reception in the Roman Baths. Clearly this odd match will attract publicity Worse, Joe Irving, the crime boss, has just got out of the slammer and there are presumed to be more than a few gunning for him.

Joe is determined to play father-of-the-bride in the traditional style and is willing to lay on a lavish wedding, one that he can well afford from the proceeds of his criminal activities. The DCC is obviously discomfitted by his forced association with a notorious criminal and more than a little worried about what the alliance will do to his career. Peter Diamond is very worried indeed about keeping everyone safe and avoiding a Red Wedding.

I have to confess that at this point (quite early in the book) I was rolling my eyes a bit at the improbability of the entire situation. I was wrong. I should have trusted Lovesey. Nothing goes anywhere near where you think it might except for Diamond's irritation at having to be involved in all this. Lovesey delays any actual confrontation as long as he possibly can. He even keeps Diamond off in the wings for some seventy pages. But what he offers instead is an engrossing story of a failed prison riot, a rather sweet account of the relationship between the prospective bride and groom, and finally, a detailed and absorbing description of an assassin readying for the murderous deed.

When finally the plot unfurls and we learn the identity of the assassin, we have to confess that Lovesey has played completely fair and that if we were led down the garden path, it was our own fault. We allowed ourselves to be misdirected while Lovesey was cheerfully supplying us with everything we needed to know and simultaneously pointing of in a variety of directions. He even includes a kitten as a distraction.

Like most of the previous books in the series, this one can be read profitably as a standalone. It is to my mind exactly the sort of book to suit a ridiculously hot summer day. Couple it with something long and cold and you will forget the weather.

Yvonne Klein is a writer, translator, and retired college English professor who lives in Montreal. She's been editing RTE since 2008.

Reviewed by Yvonne Klein, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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