The body was gone, the detectives had left and the forensic people unanimously agreed there was nothing more that could be done until dawn – which was three hours away. Until then, they just needed a couple of mugs to guard the crime scene until shift change.
Which is how I came to be standing around Covent Garden in a freezing wind at six o’clock in the morning, and why it was me that met the ghost.
My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else).
My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May.
Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.
Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden ...and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.
The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.
Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch)
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 300 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 34 mm