The stage seems a natural setting for a crime story, doesn't it, thriving as it does on disguise and deception. Lovesey, that most ingenious of crime writers, does something else as well. He has a supporting player on the police force whose only dialogue is clownishly baroque wordplay.
The verbal games remind the reader that the simplest statement can be twisted into any number of meanings — surely appropriate for a mystery story. And they drive Peter Diamond entertainingly batty.
Such over-the-top verbal business might be a distraction in an otherwise realistic police novel. Here, the character is like a commedia dell'arte clown, thrown into the mix to stir things up.
Now, here's a question you'll likely be able to answer more readily that I could: What other crime writers have set stories in the world of the theater? Why did they choose those settings? What do such settings add to the story?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011