July MysteryCat - Police Procedurals
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During July the MysteryCat focus will be on police procedurals, novels in which the emphasis is on the procedures used by the police in solving the crime. This sub-genre of detective fiction is often referred to as a “howcatchem” as opposed to the classic “whodunit” as the preptrator’s identity is usually (but not always) known early in the book. Police procedurals often include descriptions of police methods such as autopsies, evidence gathering, interrogation as well as the use of forensic science methods and they are often published in the form of a series.
In police procedurals, the main character is often the lead detective. During the course of the book, as well as the on-going series, this main character does more than just solve the crime. He or she is given a distinct personality, we come to know their story, past, present and future, and often their personal situations are carried forward throughout the series.
There are far too many books to list here but some of the popular series that would fit this month’s topic are:
The Inspector John Rebus series by Ian Rankin
The Sherrif Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson
The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French
The Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo
The Harry Bosch series by Michael Connolly
The Fiona Griffiths series by Harry Bingham
Lord Lynley/Barbara Havers series by Elizabeth George
Police procedurals have many different settings in countries and cities all over the world. You can read of police tactics in countries from China, Saudi Arabia, Norway, England and America. Whichever procedural you decide to read during July, please let us know here and don’t forget to add the titles to the Wiki which can be found HERE.
I think I'm going to go with The Sinner which is the next (for me) in the Rizzoli and Isles series.
>2 DeltaQueen50: Thank you for an excellent description of a police procedural. I am doing this challenge to add more mysteries into my reading so learning the different sub-genres as I go. I plan to read The Late Show by Michael Connelly. I heard an excellent interview with him on "Just the Right Book" podcast. This is the start of a new series with a female detective.
>1 DeltaQueen50: Great definition, Judy. I love this category!
I've come up with about two dozen titles that are on the shelf. Something tells me I have too many books - is that even possible??
Some great police procedural reading is being planned here. This genre and classic mysteries are probably my favorite of all crime stories.
>10 beebeereads: That is new series to me so I will be interested in what you think of it.
>11 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne. As I sit here surrounded by books I've come to the conclusion that, no, you cannot ever have too many books!
>13 DeltaQueen50: Hi Lisa, I loved the D.I. Jack Frost series but I tried not to read them too close together as the author stuck to a similar format for all his books. But the humor was fantastic and you can't help but root for Jack Frost. Enjoy.
I'm counting Murder at the Savoy, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (translated by Amy and Ken Knoespel) for this challenge. In keeping with my strategy of choosing books for the CATs at the beginning of the year and reading them whenever the mood strikes, I read this one back in March.
I've read this series slightly out of order, so even though it's the sixth book in the series I now have only three books left: The Locked Room, Cop Killer, and The Terrorists.
I might read one of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series -- I recently read Killer's Choice and was reminded of how much I liked this series.
I plan to read the next (for me) Deborah Crombie. I just finished reading the short story that came right before it. It whetted my appetite!
Currently reading a rather good police procedural / crime novel: Zulu by Carly Ferey. I will finish it well in advance of the switch over to July but thought I would still mention it here in case someone is looking for a dark, Noirish crime read set in South Africa for this CAT.
>20 streamsong: I'm jealous of you having all those great books to look forward to. I have to wait for the next one!
I need to decide what I'm reading for this group. I have several Rankins, a Nesbo and a Reginald Hill to choose from.
If I get around to doing so I intend to starat the Martin Beck series with the first one Roseanna by the team of Walloo and Sjowall. I read a good essay today about this series and since I have several of the books in the series, now seems like a good time to start reading them.
I pulled The Beautiful Mystery off the shelf to start but I have lots of other police procedural books and plan to read more than one this month.
I am starting off the month with A Nest of Vipers, the 21st Inspector Montalbano mystery. I love this series which combines police procedural, Sicilian politics and Montalbano's personal life in just the right proportions :)
I finally realized that Dark Tide Rising fits - William Monk newest by Anne Perry
Just finished Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante. One of those books that was originally written as a successful tv series. I enjoyed Helen Mirren's performance of a high ranking police officer at a time when female officers were hardly tolerated and she had to struggle against the hostility of her male colleagues. These attitudes from the 1990s made the story a bit dated (although I'm sure they still exist to some extent today), but not a bad police procedural nevertheless.
Finished my read of Zulu by Caryl Ferey this afternoon. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, but on the violent side so not a recommendation for anyone who isn't up for doses of Quentin Tarantino-styled violence. Otherwise, a great police procedural set in South Africa.
I finished The Blackhouse, which was not a planned read for me, but my turn at the library came sooner than I expected. Now I want to read the next installment! It was really good.
>30 jonesli: I've got this on my tbr! Maybe this will be the month I read it.
I finished Deborah Crombie's No Mark Upon Her, giving it the rare honor of 5 stars!
Sleep With the Lights On / Maggie Shayne
Rachel has been blind since she was a teenager, and now she’s receiving a cornea transplant that finally “takes”. She has no idea what she’s in for. She received the corneas of a serial killer and is now having terrifying visions. And the killing continues…
I really liked this one. It kept me wanting to read. I did guess at the mystery very shortly before it was revealed, but I still really enjoyed the story to get there. Apparently, it is a series, and I do plan to continue.
I've finished By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt and, as sad as it was, it is my favorite so far.
I hope to read more than one police procedural this month. They are almost leaping off the shelf at me I own so many. (How does that happen?) The first was The Beautiful Mystery, the eighth and latest for me in the Inspector Gamache series. It was a good one.
I have completed Buried by Mark Billingham. This is the 6th book about London Detective Tom Thorne. I find this series just keeps on getting better.
White Nights / Ann Cleeves
A stranger has wandered into an art opening on the Shetland Islands, and makes a scene. He is later found dead – it is initially deemed a suicide, but on closer inspection, it appears to be a murder.
So, the premise sounds really good. I was hopeful. But, I was also listening to the audio, and it just couldn’t hold my interest. I did follow enough at the start to get my little summary (and it’s why the extra .25 stars), but it really went downhill after that, and I could rarely focus on what was going on. It makes me not want to continue the series, but I feel like I should try the 3rd one, just not on audio, and decide from there. I don’t remember the first book blowing me away, either, though I did rate it as “good”.
COMPLETED The Best Man to Die by Ruth Rendell, an early Chief Inspector Wexford story
After Jack's stag night in the local pub, Jack Pertwee and Charlie Hatton, his best man, go their separate ways. The next morning Charlie is found in the river with his head bashed in and the large sum of money he was carrying missing.
This novel dates from 1969 and both author and the characters are very keen to impress on us that although Jack and Charlie are very close friends they are not gay. It was a satisfying solution to the mystery but nevertheless, I think prefer the later Wexford novels, where although he seems to be about the same age, Wexford has mellowed a bit. Still, I'lll continue reading some of the earlier ones to see how his character develops.
COMPLETED A Guilty Thing Surprised by Ruth Rendell
Kind, generous Elizabeth Nightingale is found battered to death in the woods outside her home. But whodunnit and why?
Wexford is maturing more into my memory of him from the later books. A good, logical, but unexpected solution. But this ebook is full of misprints.
My latest read that fits the category was Echoes in Death the latest-to-me book in the “In Death” series. This was book 44 in the series and still going strong.
I have remembered that I have Peter Lovesey's Abracadaver on my shelf which will also fit this month's AlphaKIT :)
Still Life was as good as everyone predicted. And now, instead of getting one book off MT TBR, I have a whole 'nother series to acquire and work through. :)
I also have Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman home from the library. This is the third in Hillerman's Chee & Manuelito series, a takeoff on her father's work. Probably won't get it done this month, but I should finish it early next month.
I have completed Last Rites by John Harvey which is the 10th book in his Charlie Resnick series. This was meant to have been the last book in the series, but after some years went by, the author wrote 2 more. There was a sense of finality about this book in that many previous characters made an appearance.
I read my first Michael Connelly The Late Show I almost gave up on it! The first half of the book was primed with way too much detail about the physical movement of the characters. i.e. She picked up her cup, took a sip and placed it down on the desk (not a direct quote just an example of what I mean). Couldn't it just be she took a sip of coffee?
I really enjoyed the second half of the book. I felt like the narrative took over and I was finally free of all the stage directions. The characters became much more real and their emotions and their motivations were revealed. The mystery was interesting with a few good twists. I came away really liking the detective character who I understand is the focus for this new series.
I know Connelly is well-liked and I’d be happy to hear some input from fans of his as to whether I should consider going back in his body of work. The plot was definitely secondary to the methodology. Perhaps that is what a police procedural is supposed to be?
I have finished the 3rd Sergeant Cribb book, Abracadaver. While it was an interesting premise, I don't think that I will pursue this series. However, my RL situation makes it hard for me to read or concentrate at the moment, so take my reaction with that in mind.
Thank you Robert. The temperature was around 35C and I was wearing a fleece hoodie in bed because I was shivering so much. I'm still recovering strength.
I went on a shopping trip and all I got was flu. :(
I squeezed in another Maigret, one of the very early ones: Monsieur Gallet décédé where he is sent to Sancerre. Not procedural in the strict sense, but as he is always telephoning or telegraphing the home office for files and reports, I think it fits.
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