British Police Procedurals

One of the strengths of Patricia Hall's (Dead on Arrival, etc.) superior Yorkshire mystery series is the evolving relationship between journalist Laura Ackroyd and DCI Michael Thackeray. In Deep Freeze, the pair face the greatest test of their love yet, when they both investigate the death of a teenage girl shot outside an abortion clinic. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 256p ISBN 0-312-28212-5; Jan. 31)

Last seen in Little Knell (2001), DI C.D. Sloan, "head of the tiny Criminal Investigation Department of 'F' Division of the County of Calleshire Constabulary," looks into the murder of a woman found at the center of a Tudor-period maze. Catherine Aird's breezy Amendment of Life provides an intricate puzzle worthy of the always entertaining Inspector Sloan. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95 240p ISBN 0-312-29080-2; Jan. 31)

In Gay Longworth's (Bimba; Wicked Peace) U.S. debut, Dead Alone, introducing DI Jessie Driver, the hip London homicide detective investigates the case of a headless skeleton the Thames washes up—with silicon breast implants in the rib cage. When the remains are identified as those of B-movie actress Verity Shore, Jessie finds herself attracted to the chief suspect, the victim's husband, rock star P.J. Dean. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 336p ISBN 0-312-31061-7; Jan. 6)

Chief Inspector Woodend tackles a classic "locked-room" double-murder case in Death of an Innocent, by Sally Spencer (The Golden Mile to Murder; Forecasts, July 16, 2001). How did the killer manage to get away when the crime scene, an isolated farmhouse, was surrounded by fresh snow? (Five Star, $25.99 256p ISBN 0-7278-5708-8; Jan.)

Nick Oldham, a real-life police officer and author of Backlash (Forecasts, Sept. 10, 2001), shows just how brutal the British underworld can be in Substantial Threat. DI Henry Christie can't wait to nab gangster Ray Cragg, whose turf includes drugs, prostitution and illegal immigrants. (Five Star, $26.99 256p ISBN 0-7278-5874-2; Jan.)