‘Stagestruck’ is Peter Lovesey’s 11th novel featuring Bath detective Peter Diamond and as the name suggests, this novel revolves around the theatre.
The latest production by the Bath Royal Theatre is I am a Camera and the leading actress in the production is the ageing pop star Clarion Calhoun. The problem is that she is a terrible actress.
On opening night, before speaking her first lines, Clarion starts to scream and claw at her face. It seems that her makeup has caused a violent reaction. Clarion is left with severe burns and her makeup artist Denise is left to take the blame, even though she claims to have no idea what happened.
As Diamond starts to investigate, he is almost paralysed by his theatre phobia. He doesn’t know why he is afraid of theatres but he knows that the problem started when he was about 8 years old. And, after speaking to an old friend, he has suspicions about what happened when he was a child.
He also has a new member on his team, DS Horatio Dawkins, who seems to go out of his way to get on everyone’s nerves.
Then there are a number of deaths in the theatre and Diamond must face his fears in order to do his job properly.
This is certainly not my favourite novel in the series. I found the eccentric theatre crowd with their ghosts and rituals a bit far from real life. And Dawkins was completely over the top. I did enjoy Diamond being fallible and digging up his past.
Book Published 2011