Recently I had a heavenly vacation most of which I spent on the couch drinking tea and reading British police procedurals. I'd been in a mystery rut; I had stalled in some of my favorite series and felt the need for something fresh, so I brought home a stack of newish books and cracked their spines. Here are a few of the mysteries I read, all of which were written in the past few years and are either stand-alones or series starters. If you need some fresh blood in your (reading) life of crime, check these out!
1968 London. It might be swinging for some, but for one teenager, it's deadly. DS Breen has just left another policeman alone in a dangerous situation and isn't very popular at the moment. When a teenage girl is found lying naked and dead close to Abbey Road, Breen and his female (and newly minted) detective constable are on the case. Can Breen redeem himself? Can DC Tozer make a go of it in CID, a department completely dominated by men? I loved experiencing the officers' struggles as they dealt with the challenges of the late 1960s in She's Leaving Home by William Shaw.
Moving into the 21st century, policing (and finding a guy to date) is still not necessarily easy for a woman. DS Bradshaw is on the cusp of forty and is not particularly satisfied with her circumstances. She gets a chance to take her mind off her crappy life when a young woman goes missing from her home leaving a trail of blood. It's up to Bradshaw and a team of detectives from Cambridgeshire to figure out what happened in Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner.
In Coffin Road, a man washes up on an island in the Outer Hebrides with no idea who he is. It's possible he may have killed a man, and he and the police separately try to figure out the mystery of his identity. This is as much a thiller as a police procedural - we see the mystery mostly from the point of view of the unidentified man. The setting was fantastic and I got to learn about a real life mystery that took place on the Flannan Islands.
For more British police procedurals written in the 21st century, take a look at this list.