The House Sitter

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

When a body is discovered among hundreds of vacationers on a Wightview Sands beach, the case belongs to the Senior Investigating Officer of Bognor Regis, the talented and irreverent Henrietta ("Hen") Mallin. Curmudgeonly Inspector Peter Diamond gets involved when the victim is identified as Emma Tysoe, a psychologist who lived in Bath.

Tysoe advised the police as a criminal profiler; her latest case concerned the murder of a famous film producer. The killer left a note at the scene naming his next two victims: golf prodigy Matthew Porter and former pop singer Anna Walpurgis. The police secure Porter and Walpurgis in safe houses and assign whiz-kid detective Jimmy Barnestone to the case. Unfortunately neither potential victim is cooperative, Barnestone has no leads, and Diamond’s superiors reject his interest in the murder. There are no apparent links between the film producer, the golfer, and the singer; in the Emma Tysoe case, no witnesses come forward although she died in the midst of a sunbathing crowd.

Hen Mallin and Inspector Diamond are tough cookies who quickly recognize each others’ talents and form a wary professional partnership. Mallin focuses on the beach murder while Diamond is more intent on catching the serial killer. The eighth book in Peter Lovesey’s Inspector Diamond series, The House Sitter provides plenty of the snappy dialogue and flashes of humor that distinguish this popular series.