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The Secret Hangman    by Peter Lovesey order for
Secret Hangman
by Peter Lovesey
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Readers now have the opportunity to buy and read the paperback edition of veteran writer Peter Lovesey's The Secret Hangman, another highly recommended top-notch police procedural in the Peter Diamond series.

When the suspense-filled action in the complex British mystery begins, a woman's body is found hanging in a children's playground at a local park. Police superintendent Peter Diamond of Bath's Manvers Street station almost immediately learns that the dead woman is Delia Williamson, the waitress who had been reported missing from nearby Walcot.

The superficial evidence initially suggests suicide but forensic evidence quickly shows that Delia Williamson had been strangled elsewhere and then left to be discovered in the playground. Diamond's interviews with Delia's live-in partner, her family, her employer, and her co-workers seem to reveal little of value, but the father of Delia's children is suddenly missing and a cryptic clue found among Delia's clothing at her workplace suggest that Diamond and his fellow investigators may be closing in on something significant.

On the trail of Delia's killer, Diamond and his colleagues are about to be shocked into the realization that Delia's death may be the work of a serial killer with a mystifying and macabre agenda. Other bodies - similarly murdered - are found at different times and at different places throughout the Bath area: hanging bodies are discovered at a viaduct, a tree, a building, and an archway in a park. In the end, the pursuit of the elusive killer will lead Diamond to a truly shocking discovery - one that he should have seen coming from the very beginning.

Remarkable for its clever blending of suspense, humor, and characterization, Golden Dagger Award winner Peter Lovesey's The Secret Hangman is an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Killer Book that will certainly be embraced by fans of traditional British puzzle mysteries.

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