Ryan Wilkins grew up on a trailer park, a member of what many people would call the criminal classes. As a young Detective Inspector, he’s lost none of his disgust with privileged elites – or his objectionable manners. But he notices things; they stick to his eyes. His professional partner, DI Ray Wilkins, of affluent Nigerian-London heritage, is an impeccably groomed, smooth-talking graduate of Balliol College, Oxford. You wouldn’t think they would get on. They don’t.
But when a young woman is found strangled at Barnabas Hall, they’re forced to.
Rich Oxford is not Ryan’s natural habitat. St Barnabas’s irascible Provost does not appreciate his forceful line of questioning. But what was the dead woman doing in the Provost’s study? Is it just a coincidence that on the night of her murder the college was entertaining Sheik al-Medina, a Gulf state ruler linked to human-rights abuses in his own country and acts of atrocity in others?
As tensions rise, things aren’t going well. Ray is in despair. Ryan is in disciplinary measures. But their investigation gradually disentangles the links between a Syrian refugee lawyer now working in the college kitchens, a priceless copy of the Koran in the college collection and the identity of the dead woman.
A Killing in November introduces an unlikely duo from different sides of the tracks in Oxford in a deftly plotted murder story full of dangerous turns, troubled pasts and unconventional detective work.