This is the first in a satisfying cozy/police procedural mystery series set in England’s Lake District. It’s my favorite kind of case—a cold case!
Daniel Kind, an Oxford history professor, returns to his childhood vacation spot of Brackdale after many years’ absence. Enchanted by the peace and quiet of country living, he decides to relocate there with his girlfriend, Miranda. He becomes intrigued by an unsolved mystery from years before, in large part because his now-deceased father had been the investigating office on that case. Also, the prime suspect had been a friend of Daniel’s in his childhood— an autistic boy who had conveniently died soon after the crime, the ritualistic murder of a young woman.
Meanwhile, DCI Hannah Scarlett of the Cold Case Squad, who had worked under Daniel’s father years before, gets an anonymous tip about the very same case and begins digging. Things get complicated when her longtime boyfriend emerges as a suspect and Hannah’s official investigation collides with the amateur sleuthing of Daniel, with whom she feels an instant connection.
Daniel’s amateur sleuthing also complicates his relationship with his girlfriend Miranda, and he too senses the chemistry between himself and DCI Scarlett. These issues are left unresolved, with the promise of further romantic complications to come in future installments.
The mystery at least is resolved, with a nice twist at the end. I appreciated the juxtaposition of Hannah’s official “police procedural” investigation with Daniel’s personal interactions with suspects.
This series will appeal to readers of Elizabeth George’s Thomas Lynley/Barbara Havers series and Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks series.