In Death in Profile Guy Fraser-Sampson introduces us to the first in a new series of books – the Hampstead Murders. A serial killer is at large having just claimed their fifth victim in what looks to be a sexually motivated attack. The Detective Chief Inspector in charge of the investigation, Tom Allen, is quietly shuffled off the case having failed to produce results. Bright young Detective Superintendent Simon Collison is brought in to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the investigation. We are introduced to other members of the team: DC Priya Desai, DC Karen Willis, DI Bob Metcalfe. At the suggestion of Karen, profiler Dr Peter Collins is brought in to build up a picture of who might be responsible. Through careful examination of the clues, one clear suspect emerges ticking all the boxes suggested by the profile. But can it be that simple?
What I found most interesting in this book were the two approaches to police work – old school gut-instinct, working steadily through evidence and facts versus the more modern approach looking at profiling the possible perpetrator. The profiler, Peter Collins, was highly intelligent and a really fascinating character in himself, I enjoyed reading about how he came to his conclusions. The slight twist in the story where the team found inspiration from the great fictional detectives was very entertaining. There were plenty red herrings to keep me guessing just who the criminal might be and, as is usual for me, I didn’t guess whodunnit!
While the story of the hunt for the serial killer was fascinating, I felt that this book was equally an introduction to the police team, watching them begin to work as a unit and get to know and trust each other. I certainly enjoyed reading about the team and am looking forward to getting to know more about them in future novels. A very enjoyable crime novel, witty and astute.
My thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing a review copy via Netgalley. Death in Profile will be published today as an ebook and in paperback on 28th March. You can order a copy here: Death in Profile
From the back of the book
The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what?
Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source – a famous fictional detective. A psychological profile of the murderer allows the police to narrow down their search, but will Scotland Yard lose patience with the team before they can crack the case?
Praised by fellow authors and readers alike, this is a truly original crime story, speaking to a contemporary audience yet harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction. Intelligent, quirky and mannered, it has been described as ‘a love letter to the detective novel’. Above it all hovers Hampstead, a magical village evoking the elegance of an earlier time, and the spirit of mystery-solving detectives.