15th May 2020. 5 stars.
If you haven’t discovered the Serial Murder Squad series you’re in for a treat. I discovered the series last year and immediately took to DCS Palmer and his team. As I was reading the later books in the series, it felt only right and natural to go back to the beginning.
Future Riches begins with a couple of murders in the world of TV production. As soon as the Serial Murder Squad takes charge, Justin Palmer and his colleague, Gheeta Singh, immerse themselves in the theatrical world of TV drama, actors and their agents. With Palmer’s nose for anything off key and Gheeta’s formidable IT skills, they’re soon on the trail of the killer.
The story may be short, but it’s crammed with action, a generous measure of humour and witty one-liners, internal work conflicts, and a pace that leads you breathless through a few twists and turns to the exciting climax. At the story’s core is the relationship between Palmer and Singh. Their differences complement each other and they have an understanding and respect that needs no explanation, thanks to the skill of the author. (Looking at his bio, I suspect he’s drawn heavily on his time in TV for this adventure.)
If you like honest, exciting crime fiction, delivered without frills or distractions, this is the perfect introduction to an addictive series.
Justin Palmer started off on the beat as a London policeman in the 1964 and is now Detective Chief Superintendent Palmer running his own serial murder squad from New Scotland Yard.
Not one to pull punches, or give a hoot for political correctness if it hinders his inquiries, Palmer has gone as far as he will go in the Met. And he knows it. Master of the one line put down and slave to his sciatica he can be as nasty or as nice as he likes.
The mid 1990’s was a time of re-awakening for Palmer as the Information technology revolution turned forensic science, communication and information gathering skills upside down. Realising the value of this revolution to crime solving, Palmer co-opted Detective Sergeant Gheeta Singh, a British Asian onto his team. DS Singh has a degree in IT and was given the go ahead to update Palmer’s department with all the computer hard and software she wanted. Most of which she wrote herself, and some of which is, shall we say, of a grey area when it comes to privacy laws and accessing certain databases!
Together with their small team of officers and one civilian computer clerk they take on the serial killers of the UK.
On the personal front Palmer has been married to his ‘princess’ , or Mrs P. as she is known to everybody, for nearly thirty years . The romance blossomed after the young DC Palmer arrested most of her family who were a bunch of South London petty villains in the 60’s. They have three children and eight grandchildren, a nice house in Dulwich and a faithful dog called Daisy.
Gheeta Singh lives alone in a fourth floor Barbican apartment having arrived on these shores as part of a refugee family fleeing from Idi Amin’s Uganda . Her father and brothers have built up a good computer parts supply company in which it was assumed Gheeta would take an active role on graduating from University. She had other ideas on this, and also on the arranged marriage her mother and aunts still try to coerce her into. Gheeta has two loves, police work and technology, and thanks to Palmer she has her dream job.
Combining the old ‘coppers nose’ and ‘gut feelings’ of Palmer with the modern IT skills of DS Singh the two make an unlikely, but successful team. All their cases involve multiple killings and twist and turn through red herrings and hidden clues alike keeping the reader in suspense until the very end.