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lovejoy

I heard his voice exclaim, 'Listen to the noisy sods.' And a female voice, husky with love, said, 'Never mind them, darling. Come back here.' And I thought another thought, except this one was even more stupid. I actually recognised her voice, until I corrected myself. It couldn't be, never in a million years.
This is the most recent Lovejoy book, published in 2008, and since the author turns 80 this year I guess it may well be the last. (Though not for me; eleven down, thirteen to go.) It is a rather confused affair; an older Lovejoy, more narcissistic than ever, gets swept up in a massively weird conspiracy by the stranded dregs of colonialism (who of course tend to have retained fantastically valuable antiques). As well as Lovejoy's East Anglia base, we get taken to various parts of England with a climactic scene off the coast of Blackpool. Lovejoy turns out to have a son who has inherited his gift of divvying (the supernatural ability to detect genuine antiques) and is the most memorable new character in the book; also, remarkably, his long-suffering apprentice Lydia develops a sudden burst of characterisation, not that it does her much good. And Lovejoy manages to bed pretty much every female character over the age of consent, though not very explicitly. I won't recommend this as a book to start reading the series with; though it seems that this is where it finishes.

Fails the Bechdel test at the third hurdle. There are many women characters, who frequently talk to each other, but Lovejoy himself is invariably the topic of conversation.

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