Beau Death by Peter Lovesey

Beau Death

Peter Diamond, British detective extraordinaire, must dig deep into Bath history to ferret out the secrets of one of its most famous (and scandalous) icons: Richard “Beau” Nash, who might be the victim of a centuries old murder.Bath, England: A wrecking crew is demolishing a row of townhouses in order to build a grocery store when they uncover a skeleton in one of the atti...

Title:Beau Death
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Edition Language:English

Beau Death Reviews

  • Susan Johnson

    This is the seventeenth book in the series but it's the first one I have read. I am really kicking myself. How did I miss this series? It's fun. First of all it's set in Bath, a delightful town in England. I loved roaming the historic streets with Peter Diamond as he investigates the discovery of a skeleton found in a building being demolished. The catch is the skeleton is dressed in authentic eighteenth century clothes. Could it be the famous Beau Nash?

    As Diamond struggles to solve the myster

    This is the seventeenth book in the series but it's the first one I have read. I am really kicking myself. How did I miss this series? It's fun. First of all it's set in Bath, a delightful town in England. I loved roaming the historic streets with Peter Diamond as he investigates the discovery of a skeleton found in a building being demolished. The catch is the skeleton is dressed in authentic eighteenth century clothes. Could it be the famous Beau Nash?

    As Diamond struggles to solve the mystery of such an old murder (and it is a murder) and tries to learn how old that skeleton actually is, a fireworks event comes to town and there is another murder. And they may be connected? How can this be?

    A really fun book with lots of interesting history thrown in and a setting in a really unique place and an interesting protagonist made for an entertaining read. I can't wait to read more.

  • Maine Colonial

    I’ve read all the books in the Peter Diamond series and, while this isn’t a real standout, its a decent read in spite of some flaws.

    There are two mysteries to be solved in this book. First is to identify the old corpse found in the attic of a building being demolished. That mystery takes up about half the book, while the other half is the whodunnit plot.

    I was irritated a few times with the identification plot. Diamond’s team of detectives behave badly to each other, with John Leeman being so rud

    I’ve read all the books in the Peter Diamond series and, while this isn’t a real standout, its a decent read in spite of some flaws.

    There are two mysteries to be solved in this book. First is to identify the old corpse found in the attic of a building being demolished. That mystery takes up about half the book, while the other half is the whodunnit plot.

    I was irritated a few times with the identification plot. Diamond’s team of detectives behave badly to each other, with John Leeman being so rude to his colleagues that I’d have removed him from the team. There was never anything that advanced the plot or the characters’ development in this squabbling. It just felt like annoying padding. Unfortunately, Lovesey has never done much to develop Diamond’s team as characters. I’m willing to live with that for the sake of a good police procedural, but if he is going to have action with the secondary characters, please don’t have it be pointless conflict among them.

    The other irritation about the identification plot was how slow the detectives were on some key clues, in particular on how some evidence could be used to date the time of the murder. Yes, they got around to figuring that out, but one in particular of these things was something that anybody who has so much as watched the occasional TV crime drama would know instantly.

    Once you get to the whodunnit plot, the book is much more enjoyable. The clues are dropped judiciously and the stories the investigation reveals are interesting. The descriptions of Diamond’s involvement in the Beau Nash Society as part of the investigation are particularly vivid and lively.

    All in all, a decent police procedural once you get to the whodunnit. If you decide to read it, I can’t recommend the audiobook. The male reader uses a screechy falsetto for nearly all the female voices.

  • Gloria Feit

    From the publisher: A wrecking crew demolishing a row of centuries-old townhouses in Bath, England uncovers a body in one of the condemned buildings’ attics. The dead man has been in the attic a long time: all that’s left is a skeleton dressed in authentic 1760s garb, and a distinctive white tricorn hat. Could the body be that of Richard “Beau” Nash, Bath’s most famous historical dandy, the 18th-century Master of Ceremonies who turned Bath into the Georgian-era fashion icon it became, only to fa

    From the publisher: A wrecking crew demolishing a row of centuries-old townhouses in Bath, England uncovers a body in one of the condemned buildings’ attics. The dead man has been in the attic a long time: all that’s left is a skeleton dressed in authentic 1760s garb, and a distinctive white tricorn hat. Could the body be that of Richard “Beau” Nash, Bath’s most famous historical dandy, the 18th-century Master of Ceremonies who turned Bath into the Georgian-era fashion icon it became, only to fall on hard times and supposedly be buried in a pauper’s grave? Thrilled by the possibility of proving the body is the Beau, Detective Peter Diamond rushes to learn all he can about the famed Beau and what became of him, but is he on a historical goose chase?

    Diamond undertakes painstaking and very impressive research into all sorts of aspects of the people and events during the time frame in question, including the underwear worn by them, and eventually to try to pinpoint who was, or was not, the victim.

    The demolition is taking place as the novel opens. An observer sees, “in the attic of the end house, now ripped open, a crumpled figure in an armchair. The dust from the demolition had coated it liberally and it was a parody of the human form held together by what appeared to be long outmoded garments.” It immediately appears that the man is “spectacularly, irreversibly, abso-bloody-lutely dead. As Diamond observes, “He’s been out of it a few years. A few hundred years, if his clothes are anything to go by.” What immediately concerns him is “why hadn’t anyone gone looking for him? A missing person must have caused some concern, even a century or more before the police were created.” A challenge to the famed detective, at the very least. As he says to a colleague, “it’s a cold case and they don’t come colder than this . . . Anyone can see it’s an ancient set of bones. It’s history, almost archaeology.” The first thing to be determined is whether or not it’s murder. When, soon after this discovery, there is another, current, murder. “Two sets of clues, two grids and two solutions. Or perhaps one grid after all, one diabolically difficult cryptic challenge.” He finds himself “dealing with two cases twenty years apart.”

    The author really makes 18th century Bath come alive, and this fascinating novel is recommended.

  • Cynthia

    Richard “Beau” Nash was an 18th century dandy who had the resort town of Bath wired. He set fashions and garnered attention for himself and for his town which is why unexpected events happen when a body is found that might be his is discovered. Peter Lovesey is always an engaging tale teller and this is one of his best. It’s the most recent installment in his Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond series. Don’t be afraid to plunge in with this book, this is only the second or third I’ve read in

    Richard “Beau” Nash was an 18th century dandy who had the resort town of Bath wired. He set fashions and garnered attention for himself and for his town which is why unexpected events happen when a body is found that might be his is discovered. Peter Lovesey is always an engaging tale teller and this is one of his best. It’s the most recent installment in his Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond series. Don’t be afraid to plunge in with this book, this is only the second or third I’ve read in this series and I didn’t feel lost.

    As always in a Lovesey book the characters are as developed as the plot with Peter being his moody yet lovable self. There are Lords and Ladies and representatives of lower classes some struggling and poor, others reformed or reforming or unrepentantly criminal. Best of all Beau Death is fun to read.

    Thank you to the publishers for providing an advance reader’s copy.

  • John Bohnert

    I thoroughly enjoyed this police procedural set in Bath, England.

    I've now read all seventeen (17) novels in this series.

    I'm looking forward to reading the next book when it's published.

  • Susan

    The skeleton found in an abandoned house is dressed in an authentic 18th century costume that could only belong to Beau Nash, onetime social arbiter of Bath. But the autopsy shows that the body is much more recent, and had been murdered. Peter Diamond, head of the homicide squad, makes those dry bones live, figuring out who had disappeared about twenty years before, despite an odd spirit of discontent among his team. But he and his team are called away from the investigation when an event planne

    The skeleton found in an abandoned house is dressed in an authentic 18th century costume that could only belong to Beau Nash, onetime social arbiter of Bath. But the autopsy shows that the body is much more recent, and had been murdered. Peter Diamond, head of the homicide squad, makes those dry bones live, figuring out who had disappeared about twenty years before, despite an odd spirit of discontent among his team. But he and his team are called away from the investigation when an event planner is found shot. It's lucky Peter's significant other Paloma is on hand with her expertise on costumes. One of the reviews of this suggested that it's one of the best in this series, but not to me.

  • Louise

    This book was really a great read. The combination of historical characters and modern day police procedure was right up my alley. I love reading about the city of Bath, a place I fell in love with when I visited. All of this combined with really good characters and an ending I didn’t guess until the last pages. Terrific book.

  • Lexxi Kitty

    I’ve read every book by Lovesey, put out under that name at least (and not counting short story collections), except for the last two books in the Bertie series. Well, there are a few others – at some point a ton of nonfiction sports books suddenly appeared on his profile here at GoodReads, no idea if those books are really by him or not (I think I looked it up once and found that they were in fact by the same author who writes mysteries) and I’ve not read any of those nonfiction books; and a fe

    I’ve read every book by Lovesey, put out under that name at least (and not counting short story collections), except for the last two books in the Bertie series. Well, there are a few others – at some point a ton of nonfiction sports books suddenly appeared on his profile here at GoodReads, no idea if those books are really by him or not (I think I looked it up once and found that they were in fact by the same author who writes mysteries) and I’ve not read any of those nonfiction books; and a few of the books he published under other names have been rereleased under the Lovesey name – haven’t read any of those either (at least not under the Lovesey name, I’ve read a few books by Lovesey put out under other names, some of which might have been later rereleased under the Lovesey name). That’s probably something close to 30 books (17 Peter Diamond books, 8 Sergeant Cribb books, 1 of the Bertie books, the two Inspector Henrietta Mallin books which aren’t part of the Diamond series, and various stand-alones). (I’ve also read all of Phil Lovesey’s adult level psychological thrillers, which is only important in that I liked them, he’s Peter Lovesey’s son, and I’ve always wondered if he’d ever step in to ‘help’ like Dick Francis and W.E.B. Griffin’s sons have stepped in to help their father’s writing careers; which I’ve only thought about because Lovesey is getting up there in years and each book that appears seems like a gift).

    Right, so the above was a bunch of gibberish about how I’ve read a lot of books with Lovesey’s name on the cover and have tended to rather enjoy my time inhabiting those books. Not exactly exciting reading, my paragraph I mean, but meh.

    This specific book finds grumpy old Peter Diamond with several mysteries to solve. Though first he isn’t even certain the case he is assigned has any relevance to modern times. Or, to put it differently since, yes it does (modern or historical corpse, it'd have relevance to modern times), whether or not anyone could actually be found to face punishment for the crime he is investigating. For, you see, Diamond’s case involves a skeleton found in an attic. The skeleton was found in a condemned building and found after a wrecking ball slammed into the building, exposing the body. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the police can’t actually get at the body for a while because the floor is too fragile. So there’s a lot of time to speculate, and one of the things that the huge staff point out is what people have phoned in to say – which includes a bit about how the skeleton has a striking resemblance to Beau Nash – a fella who was huge in Bath in the 1700s, and whose grave, supposedly, is unknown. Could that skeleton

    Beau Nash? Well, as noted, the police can’t get to the body quickly due to fragile floors and stuff, so there’s a lot of time to investigate the idea. There’s a lot of back and forth as to whether or not it could be before the body could actually be examined.

    Several other mysteries crop up for Diamond and his team to investigate over the course of this book, including bones found in the garden of the same building the skeleton was found; and a much more modern murder that occurs during the book, in front of a good portion of the area police but out of their sight.

    A good book that entertained me, though not the best book I’ve read by Lovesey, neither in or out of the Diamond series.

    Rating: 4.25

    January 2 2018

  • Ron Chicaferro

    Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is a thinking man's detective - - no athletic jumping around for this man - - he is as smart as can be and it shows in how he build his cases - - he has a good staff under him all supplying him with details - but, it's his brain that completes the puzzle. Beau Death starts off about a real British character from the 18th century named Beau Nash - - A fashion dandy who lived in Bath, England, Peter Diamond's beat. The story quickly moves into other areas but

    Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond is a thinking man's detective - - no athletic jumping around for this man - - he is as smart as can be and it shows in how he build his cases - - he has a good staff under him all supplying him with details - but, it's his brain that completes the puzzle. Beau Death starts off about a real British character from the 18th century named Beau Nash - - A fashion dandy who lived in Bath, England, Peter Diamond's beat. The story quickly moves into other areas but it's fun learning about Nash and his time period. This is a double murder - - the story is complex and it takes you right up to the finish before you know the villain - - what more could you ask! Peter Lovesey is a super writer and the story moves quickly and expertly.

  • Larry

    Superintendent Peter Diamond's boss, the Assistant Chief Constable, wonders at one point whether her chief detective draws weird crimes to her jurisdiction (Bath and its surrounding counties). Whatever the truth of it, the latest crime, a real murder, has unusual aspects. It also ties into Bath's rather famous historical nature, which commenced in the eighteenth century. The crime is odd. A corpse is found in the attic of a demolition site that had been "home" to transients for years (who have r

    Superintendent Peter Diamond's boss, the Assistant Chief Constable, wonders at one point whether her chief detective draws weird crimes to her jurisdiction (Bath and its surrounding counties). Whatever the truth of it, the latest crime, a real murder, has unusual aspects. It also ties into Bath's rather famous historical nature, which commenced in the eighteenth century. The crime is odd. A corpse is found in the attic of a demolition site that had been "home" to transients for years (who have rights under English law that they would not have in the US). Reduced to bones, the corpse is held together by its eighteenth-century clothing. The questions it poses irritate Diamond, but eventually capture his interest, and his interest is a powerful force. Finding out the identity of the victim, the identity of the perpetrator, and the date of the murder becomes his (and his reluctant, though able, squad's) obsession.

    Spoiler alert:

    Is the "body" that of a murder victim? Yes, it seems to be. Is the clothing genuine to the eighteenth century? Yes, mostly (the exceptions being interesting). Is the body (skeleton, minus teeth, actually) that of Beau Nash, a famous (to Bath) eighteenth-century social trend-setter? Was he buried in a pauper's grave following an ornate public ceremony at the cathedral? Was the body stolen? If not his skeleton, whose is it? Is there a connection with the Beau Nash Society, a bunch of upper-class twits who carry on and defend Nash's reputation? And is the murderer still at large, if the crime is of recent origin. It's an interesting puzzle, and unraveling it proceeds at a leisurely pace until there book's second half.

    When I first encountered Peter Diamond, I saw him as Andy Dalziel light (Reginald Hill's epic detective): a blustering, large, lower-class sort who could be crudely funny, though who remained a strong detective. In pretty quick time the series revealed that he was more than just an echo of Dalziel (or of Inspector Dover, if you remember him) because Lovesey, whose body of work is really impressive, is an expert plotter, and is able to complicate a crime without losing sight of what holds the various strands together.


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