We’ve recently becomes fans of the British television series “Hinterland,” a police procedural show starring Richard Harrington as DCI Tom Mathias. It’s set in Wales, and the series is actually filmed in both English and Welsh versions. We just started watching the second season, and the third is being filmed or scheduled for broadcast.
The sweeping Welsh vistas in the series are gorgeous, often looking desolate and empty but with a stark beauty that is simply awe-inspiring. Those same vistas play a backdrop role in Stephen Puleston’s Ian Drake novels, police procedurals that evoke a strong sense of Welsh identity.
The first in the Ian Drake series is Brass in Pocket, the title taken from a 1979 song by the Pretenders. Detective Inspector (DI) Ian Drake works for the Wales Police Service, stationed in Caernaffon in North Wales, and is paired with Detective Sergeant Caren Waits. Thewy’re called to investigate the crime that every policeman hates – the murder of two policemen, traffic cops, on an isolated highway known as Crimean Pass.
The two have been killed with a crossbow. A paper left at the scene indicates the number 4.
Drake and Waits, assisted by a task force, begin the investigation, trying to determine if there’s any link in the two policemen’s pasts that might suggest a motive and a killer. The case quickly becomes like turning over the proverbial rock – and finding what lies underneath. And then there’s another killing – this one denoted as “#3.” Now the case becomes a race against time, as the two detectives try to prevent #2 and #1.
n DI Drake, Puleston
has created a hero with interesting attributes – a tendency to speed while
driving, an addiction to Sudoku number puzzles that provide both distraction
and the ordering of his mind, a man of rather fierce loyalties than can at times
be blinding, and an intense preoccupation with order and arrangement that can
drive his colleagues crazy. He is also addicted to his work.
Puleston, a native of Wales, trained as a lawyer at the University of London. His work in criminal and family law serve him well in his stories. In this particular novel, Puleston provides a cameo role for Inspector Marco of the South Wales Police, who features in his other police procedural series. (And Puleston has a page about “Hinterland” on his blog.)
Brass in Pocket is a riveting, tense read, as the detectives race against a taunting, intelligent killer determined to wreak revenge.
Photograph of the pier at Ilandudno Beach in north Wales by Irena Jackson via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.