It takes considerable courage for the creator of a successful series of crime novels to kill off his central character and draw the line under a popular series of books.
But that is exactly what British crime writer Graham Hurley did when the 12th book in his critically acclaimed Portsmouth-based Faraday and Winter franchise, published last year, opened with the discovery of the body of Detective Inspector Joe Faraday, dead by his own hand.
Hurley's latest book brings Faraday's former sidekick, DC Jimmy Suttle, centre stage. After his boss's death, a disillusioned Suttle has moved from Portsmouth to a post in rural Devon. Now a detective sergeant, Suttle gets his first major case when the body of an unpopular property developer is found on the pavement beneath his penthouse in Exmouth. Did he fall or was he pushed?
About the only person who cares is Suttle, and he sets about finding out the truth – to the detriment both of his new career and his fragile relationship with his wife Lizzie. Hurley cranks up the tension by intimating that while Suttle may feel he's left Portsmouth and Farady behind, the villains from his Pompey stamping ground have some unfinished business.
Hurley, whose Faraday and Winter novels are enjoying a boost in France since they were translated from Portsmouth to Le Harvre in a French TV adaptation, leaves enough loose ends fluttering to whet the reader's appetite for the next investigation.