‘Skeleton Hill’ is the 10th Inspector Diamond mystery by Peter Lovesey. The series is set in Bath and always makes me want to visit the place.
Lansdown Hill was the site of a civil war battle 350 years ago. These days, civil war re-enactments are carried out on the Hill.
It is during one of these re-enactments that two cavaliers (pretending to be dead) discover a human femur buried under a tree. Thinking that it dates back to the civil war, they rebury it. When History Professor Rupert Hope returns to retrieve the bone to show in one of his history classes, he is hit over the head.
The bone is later retrieved by a dog and eventually is handed in to the Bath police. After analysis, it proves to belong to a female aged in her early 20s and buried for less than 20 years. When the rest of the skeleton is retrieved, the head is missing, so identification proves to be difficult.
Shortly after the investigation into the death begins, there is another murder on Lansdown Hill. Diamond contrives a connection between the two murders so that he can keep both investigations.
With two difficult murders to solve the investigation takes in the colourful characters who live, work and patrol around Lansdown.
Through amazing perseverance and analysing the personalities involved, Diamond and his team eventually find the motive and murderer for the two tragic deaths separated by 20 years.
This is one of my favourite detective series as the grumpy, old, technology averse Peter Diamond solves impossible crimes through determination, analysing people and making amazing leaps of logic.
The locations are stunning and the characters are very real.
This particular mystery was one of the best so far and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series – ‘Stagestruck’.
Book Published 2009