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It’s not an exaggeration to say that the best crime series are defined by the central detective. Many people might not be able to name individual titles by Conan Doyle, or Ian Rankin or Agatha Christie, but everybody knows Sherlock Holmes, John Rebus and Hercule Poirot.

Peter Diamond, the Bath-based detective in Peter Lovesey’s long-standing and much-lauded crime series, has everything you want from a protagonist. Razor sharp and perennially grumpy, deeply cynical but warm and funny too, he is a pure joy to spend a few hours with. In Showstopper, the latest in the series, his charms are on full display. This time he is called to investigate a TV production unit, after one accident too many sparks rumours of a curse. Showstopper is tense, taut and terrifically entertaining.

Rosanna Forte