Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tooth Tattoo - Peter Lovesey

I must admit - mysteries are probably my favourite genre. Peter Lovesey is an author I hadn't yet sampled - until I picked up his latest book - The Tooth Tattoo.

This is the 13th book to feature Peter Diamond, a police detective in Bath, England. 

A young Japanese woman's body is found in a local waterway. The initial reaction is that is was an accident or perhaps suicide. Diamond is not so sure. He orders a second (unauthorized) autopsy that reveals much more - a faded tattoo of a musical note - on one of her incisors and proof that her death wasn't an accident.

I initially felt like I was playing catch up as I got to the know the characters, their personalities and the interpersonal dynamics. It didn't take too long to get up to speed. (although I do wish I had discovered this author earlier on)

What an unusual plot Lovesey has concocted! The whodunit circles around a classical string quartet and the music and machinations of this elite group are the major part of the intrigue. Each of the widely varied personalities is distinctly drawn. Lovesey employs wonderful descriptors and appreciation of the music itself and how an ensemble works together. But he also weaves in elements that you wouldn't think of blending in - the Japanese yakuza, chess sets made from mammoth ivory and more. Very original and it blended together seamlessly. I actually learned quite a bit as well.

I really liked the character of Peter Diamond - he has a gruff and biting attitude at work, but at the same time knows his team and is quite fair with them. We get a personal glimpse into this man via his on again off again relationship with girlfriend Paloma. I didn't get a chance to know the detective team as well as I would have liked. But I liked the easy banter and wide range of personalities.

The Tooth Tattoo was a wonderfully literate mystery and a great introduction to a prolific, prize winning author. Read an excerpt of The Tooth Tattoo.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I didn't know you could get a tattoo on a tooth. This sounds like a series I need to explore.