A Peter Diamond Mystery by Peter Lovesey
Review: Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is drawn into the glamorous world of the theatre to investigate a gruesome disfigurement of an actress and the death of a talented make-up artist in Stagestruck, the eleventh mystery in this series by Peter Lovesey.
Clarion Calhoun has turned 30, an old-timer to her pop star fans. Having always fancied herself as an actress, even studying drama at one time, she has been cast in a performance of I Am a Camera at the Theatre Royal in Bath. But just after making her grand entrance on opening night, she screams in pain, holding her hands to her face. Rather than cancel the performance, as she is rushed to the hospital, her understudy taking over the role. It is determined that Clarion had been chemically burned by a form of caustic soda having been mixed into her stage make-up. Denise Pearsall, her personal dresser, had touched up Clarion's make-up just prior to her entrance and would be a natural suspect. Except she's now dead, having jumped — been pushed? — from a catwalk high above the stage. Though a suicide note is found, the case presumably closed, Diamond feels it's all a bit too perfect, that everything that's happened has been carefully staged. To the distress and anger of the theater owners and cast, he closes the production so that he can more thoroughly investigate who might have had a motive to disfigure Clarion and murder Denise.
Actors' superstitions and supposedly haunted theaters provide a fitting backdrop to this fine police procedural. Add to this a storyline in which illusion is reality and nothing is as it seems and the result is another compelling case for DS Diamond. The only serious drawback in the book is a subplot involving Diamond's phobia of theaters. No doubt included to heighten a sense of drama, it seems all too "staged" that he's assigned this particular case and must overcome his own fears in order to solve the mystery.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Stagestruck.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Stagestruck for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Mad Hatter's Holiday
Soho Constable (Trade Paperback), June 2009
ISBN-13: 9781569475607; ISBN-10: 1569475601
Cop to Corpse
Soho Crime (Hardcover), June 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616950781; ISBN-10: 1616950781
Location(s) referenced in Stagestruck: Bath, England
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Stagestruck by Peter Lovesey — A Peter Diamond Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: June 2011
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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