Brass in Pocket, the first in Stephen Puleston’s Inspector Drake series set in North Wales, opens from the killer’s point of view – something I do myself, so loved the fact that here was another crime writer getting inside the head of the criminal.
The story opens as the killer recounts the setup leading to the murder of two policemen on a deserted country road – they are later discovered shot, but not by bullets and not from a gun. One is still in the driver’s seat and the other is leaning against the car. Set out in traffic cones near the scene is a number four.
When he gets to the police station, Drake discovers a photograph with song lyrics on the back.
As more deaths come to light, so do various suspects, building the tension and deepening the mystery. Nearing the end of the book, I guessed who the culprit was, but hadn’t fully worked out why, so that came as a satisfying surprise. The central character, Ian Drake, is an obsessive compulsive, a nice character development, although as he agrees to see someone about it, this does appear as if it might be dealt with as the series progresses. I hope he doesn’t get completely cured, as I found him to be so intelligent and likable, he needs character flaws to balance his personality.
Although the denouement seemed to come out of the blue, I realised on reflection that all the clues were there for me to find – the mark of a well-constructed crime novel.
I’m really looking forward to reading the next in this series.