‘The Vault’ is Peter Lovesey’s 6th novel featuring Inspector Peter Diamond, head of the Bath murder squad.
Once again there is a shortage of murders in Bath, so when a pair of skeletonised hand arrives on Diamond’s desk, he is determined to find their owner.
Meanwhile American professor Joe Dougan is visiting Bath with his wife. While he tries to locate the house in which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, his wife goes shopping. The house no longer exists but was located above the vault in which the hand bones were found. Body parts in the cellar of the house in which Frankenstein was born! The press love it.
Diamond soon finds out that the bones are much more recent and sets about trying to match them to missing people. Then a skull is found in the same vault.
Meanwhile, having already obtained a book he believes belonged to Mary Shelley, Dougan is now on the trail of her writing box. He thinks he has found it in Peg Redbird’s antique shop, but seeing his interest, she is now holding out for the best possible price. Peg has also just obtained two Frankenstein paintings that appear to have been painted by William Blake.
Then within a short space of time, a woman goes missing, another is murdered and a policeman is hit over the head and is fighting for his life.
Diamond manages some incredible mental gymnastics to determine the murderer and victim from 25 years ago as well as uncovering an attacker and a forger.
Once again, this was a very enjoyable novel from an increasingly enjoyable series. It is always fun to follow Diamond through his thought processes and as usual we were ahead of him in finding out the clues. A great writer makes you want to follow his references and I certainly have an urge to read Frankenstein.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in this series – ‘Diamond Dust’.
Book Published 1999