PETER N. WALKER – Missing from Home. Robert Hale, UK, hardcover, 1977.

PETER N. WALKER Missing from Home

   You’d have to live in the UK to have heard of Peter N. Walker, I suspect, even though he’s written tons of books (figuratively) under not only his own name, but that of Andrew Arncliffe, Christopher Coram, Tom Ferris and Nicholas Rhea too.

   He’s probably best known under the latter byline for his rather cozy “Constable” series, which was also the basis for a TV series called Heartbeat, which may be well known in England, but is far from that over here. (An understatement, I suspect.)

   Missing from Home, written under his own name, is a straightforward and standalone crime novel, but in his own words, Walker says this about one of the series characters whose adventures he also related:

    “Carnaby was a flamboyant and very unorthodox detective who had a private income in addition to his police salary. His wealth enabled him to enjoy the roving commission he used for his undercover CID work. There are eleven titles in the series which ran from 1967 to 1984…”

   If there is a detective of record in Missing from Home, it is a lowly (and very new to the job) Police Constable named Keith Bowman, in an even lowlier police outpost in a small village called Brocklesford. It is only Bowman who takes seriously the case of a missing woman, a wife and mother of two small children, a woman who simply would not take off on her own without warning.

   And once it turns out that the woman was kidnapped by an escaped prisoner with a grudge against the system that sent him there, it is also Bowman, in spite of all of the high ranking superiors who by then are on the job, who comes up with the location where the woman is being held prisoner.

   A straightforward crime novel, as I said up above, but down to earth and direct storytelling, and smooth sailing all the way. No depth, one would have to admit, but smooth.