London, 1968: The body of a teenage girl is found just steps away from the Beatles' Abbey Road recording studio. The police are called to a residential street in St John's Wood where an unidentified young woman has been strangled. Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen believes she may be one of the many Beatles fans who regularly camp outside Abbey Road Studios. With his reputation tarnished by an inexplicable act of cowardice, this is Breen's last chance to prove he's up to the job.
"refreshing period Brit police procedural"
November 1968. Judy Garland is performing drunk at the Palladium and the city of London is about to catch fire - literally. Summonded to a gas explosion, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen unearths a shocking discovery beneath the rubble: Mind-bending paintings by Bridget Riley and Peter Blake... and the garroted body of Jacob Pugh, a playboy god in the art world. With Detective Helen Tozer, Breen must infiltrate the artistic demimonde of a volatile and increasingly murderous city.
"Not cutesy-cozy, but not hard-boiled; a delight"
London, October 1968. As Beatles fans encamp outside Abbey Road Studios up the road, the Marylebone CID is as much an old boys' club as it ever was: comfortably sexist, racially prejudiced and crawling with corruption. Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen is the pariah of the office, having just run out on a fellow officer held at knifepoint, when it's shaken up by the arrival of WPC Helen Tozer: awkward chatterbox, farmgirl, and the first woman to enter the murder unit - apart from the secretary.
Marylebone, November 1968. Detective Sergeant Breen has a death threat and two burned bodies on his hands. One is an un-mourned vagrant; the other the son of a politician. One case suffers the apathy of the police; the other obstructed by a PR-conscious father. Then the potential perpetrator of his death threats is murdered. Banished from a corrupt system, Breen is finally forced to fight fire with fire.
Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation. He is a murderer himself. But the victim was his only friend - like him, a passionate birdwatcher. South is warily partnered with the strong-willed Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, newly recruited to the Kent coast from London. Together they find the body, violently beaten, forced inside a wooden chest. Only rage could kill a man like this. South knows it.
It's 1969. Five years ago, teenager Alexandra Tozer was murdered. Her sister, Helen Tozer, will never forget. Returning home after quitting the Met Police, she brings with her the recovering Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen, who slowly becomes possessed by the unsolved case. But Breen is on a trail, for the two men connected to this case met in Kenya, during the Mau Mau uprising; and the history that Britain has turned its face from is now returning to haunt it.