Readers in search of a dignified, sedately paced, period, police procedural along the lines of, but not as long winded as, P.D. James may want to have a go at Simon Tolkien’s new 1960s detective story The King of Diamonds. We found it slow going to get into, but stuck with it, mostly to see if it got better, which it did. But it takes a willing suspension of the desire for action or sex. Not as much as Midsomer Murders, but in that direction. Probably the most attractive motif was the sad broken marriage of the Oxford detective Inspector Bill Trave and Vanessa, his estranged wife now involved with the powerful diamond merchant whose possible involvement in several murders is at the heart of the stately action.
Tolkien is, by the way, J.R.R.’s grandson. There is, however, nothing in the least elfin about the book.