As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Sphere, 14 July 2020. ISBN: 978-0-7515-8084-6 (HB)
The story is centred around Bath’s
annual half-marathon, the Other Half, and the early chapters follow the
preparation of two participants, Maeve and Olga,
neither of whom consider themselves to be natural athletes. Maeve is a young
teacher who is running to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, a
charity important to her aunt. Her reason for doing this is to assuage her
guilt because, Trevor, a colleague who is attracted to her, gave her a very
ugly Toby Jug. Maeve intended to donate the jug to the British Heart Foundation
charity shop, but she accidentally broke it, and then discovered that it was a
surprisingly valuable antique. Olga is a very large lady who has taken up speed
walking in order to lose weight. Olga is married to an extremely wealthy
Russian businessman; although her life is luxurious, her husband is unpleasant
and insulting, despising her for being fat but mocking her attempts to get fit.
Maeve and Olga meet when Maeve helps Olga after she is mugged, and they become
friends. Other chapters follow the fortunes of two young men who are literally
‘on the run’. Spiro and Murat are Albanians who have been smuggled into Britain
by people traffickers; they have escaped from imprisonment and are now
terrified of being captured by the traffickers’ enforcer; a ruthless killer
known as The Finisher.
Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond
has no interest in watching the Other Half but he has to be present as part of
the ‘overt and covert’ police presence decreed necessary to counter the fear of
terrorism. However, Diamond’s interest is awakened when he sees a familiar face
amongst the runners. Some years ago, Tony Pinto had made a habit of picking up
young women and sleeping with them, but whatever the women anticipated, for
Pinto these were always one-night-stands. A young student had warned Pinto’s
latest target that his intentions were not serious, and Pinto used a knife to
carve up her face, scarring her for life. Diamond had led the investigation
that sent Tony Pinto to prison but now, after serving several years and
apparently being a model prisoner, Pinto has been released. Diamond does not
believe that Pinto has changed and is appalled to see him taking part in the
race and talking in a familiar manner to a young woman, who is obviously
uncomfortable with his attentions.
Diamond is obsessed with the fear that
Pinto is a dangerous predator and he is deeply concerned when he realises that
a young woman called Belinda Pye has failed to complete the race and has not
returned to her lodgings. The race records show that Pinto did finish but now
he is nowhere to be found. He has missed reporting to his parole officer, a
fact that Diamond is more concerned about than the parole officer, another
woman who appears to have fallen victim to Pinto’s charm. Diamond is convinced
that Pinto has harmed Belinda and fears that she is lying injured or captive,
possibly down a shaft leading to abandoned quarries. Diamond is not a man who
has a great respect for rules and now his determination to locate Belinda causes
him to take measures that could endanger both his career and his life.
The Finisher is the eighteenth book in the series featuring Peter
Diamond, although it works well as a stand-alone novel. It is an enthralling
read, with an intriguing plot, which deals with serious issues of modern life
in a compassionate but honest way. The dynamics between Diamond and his team
are cleverly portrayed and totally believable. Diamond is wittily portrayed as
a grouchy man who is not fond of modern technology and even less keen on the
tendency to reduce everything to acronyms, however, he has an integrity,
honesty and determination to help the vulnerable, which makes him very likeable.
The Finisher is a page turner, which I wholeheartedly recommend.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
was born in 1936, and attended Hampton Grammar School before going to Reading
University to study fine art. He soon switched to English. National Service
followed before Peter qualified as a teacher. Having already published The
Kings of Distance, named Sports Book of the Year by World Sports, in
1969 he saw a competition offering £1,000 for a first crime novel and decided
to enter. Wobble to Death won and in 1975 Peter became a full-time crime
writer, winning awards including the Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2000 in
recognition of his career in crime writing. He is most well-known for his
Inspector Peter Diamond series. There are 18 books in the series. The most
recent being The Finisher.
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.She is the moderator for the cosy/historical
crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime
novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.The Terminal Velocity of Cats the
first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently
gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link