Peter Lovesey

(Redirected from Sergeant Cribb (character))

Peter (Harmer) Lovesey (born 1936), also known by his pen name Peter Lear, is a British writer of historical and contemporary detective novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath.

Peter Lovesey
Peter Lovesey
Peter Lovesey
Born (1936-09-10) 10 September 1936 (age 86)
Whitton, Middlesex
Pen namePeter Lear
GenreDetective fiction, Historical mystery
Notable worksSergeant Cribb series Peter Diamond series
Notable awards

Early lifeEdit

Lovesey was born in Middlesex, England, and attended Hampton Grammar School.[1] He went to Reading University in 1955 but since he did not have the requisite Latin qualification, he chose a degree in Fine Art which included History and English as elective subjects.[1] Two of his English tutors, John Wain (1925–94) and Frank Kermode (1919–2010), thought well enough of Lovesey's essays to get him into the English course after all.[1]

He graduated from Reading with an honours degree in 1958; he then did three years of National Service in the Royal Air Force. Signing up for the third year – National Service was ordinarily for two years – enabled him to train, and obtain better pay, as an Education Officer. When he left the Air Force it also gave him an edge in starting his teaching career. He married Jacqueline (Jax) Lewis, whom he had met at Reading, in 1959.[1]

Teaching and writing careerEdit

Lovesey's career in education lasted fourteen years. He started as a Lecturer in English at Thurrock Technical College in Essex, 1961; he then became Head of the General Education Department at London’s Hammersmith College for Further Education (now West London College). He quit teaching to become a full-time writer in 1975.[1]

Lovesey has written that he entered into writing detective fiction by way of his interest in British sports history. His first detective novel, Wobble to Death (1970), was set within a historically accurate depiction of a 19th century foot race.[2] Lovesey has also authored non-fiction works on the history of British athletics. His first novel was followed by seven others in the Sergeant Cribb series set in Victorian England with the stories often placed in sport or entertainment events such as boxing, rowing, and music hall. After the Cribb series concluded, Lovesey continued with standalone and series mysteries, mostly set in various historical periods. From 1991, he switched to contemporary crime fiction with the Peter Diamond series set in modern-day Bath and consisting of twenty titles as of 2022.

Peter Lovesey lives near Chichester. His son Phil Lovesey also writes crime novels. His son was born in 1963 and worked as an English teacher at Wolverhampton Grammar School until the end of the autumn 2012.[3] His daughter, Kathy Lovesey, was born in 1960, and now lives with her family in Greenwich, Connecticut.


Peter Lovesey has won awards for his fiction, including Gold and Silver Daggers from the British Crime Writers' Association, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and first place in the Mystery Writers of America's 50th Anniversary Short Story Contest. In 2016, the UK's Detection Club published Motives for Murder (US: Crippen & Landru, UK: Sphere) to recognise Lovesey's 80th birthday. In 2019, he was recognised by the Bouchercon Convention in Dallas for Lifetime Achievement.


Lovesey's novels and stories mainly fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the "Golden Age" tradition of mystery writing.

Most of Peter Lovesey's writing has been done under his own name. However, he did write three novels under the pen name Peter Lear.

Sergeant Cribb novelsEdit

Novels featuring Victorian era detective Sergeant Daniel Cribb and his assistant Constable Thackeray.

  • Wobble to Death (1970), ISBN 0-333-11069-2
  • The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (1971), ISBN 0-333-12578-9
  • Abracadaver (1972), ISBN 0-333-13591-1
  • Mad Hatter's Holiday (1973), ISBN 0-333-14409-0
  • Invitation to a Dynamite Party (1974), ISBN 0-333-15656-0 (published in the US as The Tick of Death)
  • A Case of Spirits (1975), ISBN 0-333-18225-1
  • Swing, Swing Together (1976), ISBN 0-333-19322-9
  • Waxwork (1978), ISBN 0-333-23455-3 (Silver Dagger Award) [4]


The novels were adapted into a Granada TV Series simply entitled Cribb (1979–81). The Series starred Alan Dobie as Cribb, with William Simons as Thackeray. The series is available on DVD in the UK, the US, and Canada.

BBC Radio's Saturday Night Theatre adapted six of the novels:

Peter Diamond novelsEdit

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales novelsEdit

Novels as Peter LearEdit

Other novelsEdit

Short story collectionsEdit



  • The Kings of Distance (1968)
  • The Guide to British Track and Field Literature, 1275–1968 (1969), ISBN 0-902175-00-9 (with Tom McNab)
  • The Official Centenary History of the Amateur Athletic Association (1979), ISBN 0-900424-95-8
  • An Athletics Compendium (2001), ISBN 0-7123-1104-1 (with Tom McNab and Andrew Huxtable)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Peter Lovesey: Speaking Of Murder - Peter Lovesey : Crime Writer". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ Peter Lovesey, Afterword to The Finisher (2020)
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "The CWA Gold and Silver Dagger Awards for Fiction". 16 January 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". 2 October 2003. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards". Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Deadly Pleasures: Barry Awards". Archived from the original on 23 April 2012.
  8. ^ Revealed by the author in an online event organised by Bracknell Forest Library on 25 March 2021.

External linksEdit