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Friday, 25 March 2022

‘Reader, I Buried Them’ by Peter Lovesey

Published by Sphere,
3 February 2022.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-8590-2(HB)

Reader, I Buried Them is a collection of eighteen short pieces of writing gathered together from the long and varied career of Peter Lovesey. The majority of these pieces are short stories, which demonstrate a remarkable diversity of protagonists and settings. These range from the story set in a modern-day monastery, from which the book takes its title (a humorous reference to Jane Eyre’s ‘Reader, I married him) to the lively, tongue-in-cheek The Homicidal Hat, set at the annual decorated hat competition at the Malice Domestic Crime Conference in America. The viewpoints vary between First Person and Third Person and tell the tales of killers and potential victims, some of whom have the good luck or skill to turn the tables on those who intend to harm them. Naturally, there are also some detective protagonists, including a short story set at Christmas and featuring Lovesey’s most famous creation, Bath detective, Peter Diamond. Never the most sociable of men, Diamond much prefers investigating an office party killing to spending the day with his late wife’s well-meaning but intrusive relatives.

Lovesey’s sense of humour shines through many of the short stories, not least in Monologue For Mystery Lovers, the humorous poem that concludes the book. Other stories are darker, such as The Bathroom; in his foreword, Lovesey speaks of this short story, which he wrote fifty years ago and which, to his amazement and delight, was admired by Ruth Rendell, who encouraged him to write more short fiction. The Bathroom was inspired by the famous real-life murders of three women, the wives of George Joseph Smith, whom he killed in different locations and at different times but using the same method; the case became popularly known as the Brides in the Bath. Lovesey first heard of Smith’s crimes when he was a ten-year-old boy, during the Second World War, when he had limited reading matter because his family home had been destroyed by bombing. It was then that he discovered The Life of Sir Edward Marshall Hall, a renowned defence lawyer who had been involved in many famous murder trials. In the only non-fiction article in the book, Lovesey takes a unique slant on the story of Smith’s murders by following the story of the three baths that Smith used to drown his unfortunate wives.

Reader, I Buried Them is a superb collection of stories by an outstanding writer who has clearly enjoyed challenging himself and experimenting with different styles over the years. This is a great book either to dip into or to read straight through, because it has something for every taste and every mood, and which I wholeheartedly recommend.

Reviewer: Carol Westron

Peter Lovesey 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 twenty books in the series. The most recent being Diamond and the Eye.

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 6 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book
The Curse of the Concrete Griffin
click on the title

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