Each year, Police Review, in co-operation with the Crime Writers Association, gives an award to the crime novel with the most authentic police background published in the previous year. The award for 1987 goes to Roger Busby for Snowman published by Collins Crime Club. Jill Haldon reports.
Awful ring of truth about it
When we reviewed the winning novel earlier this year we described Roger Busby’s Snowman as that rare thing, a one-hit read, and we haven’t seen any reason to change our minds.
Things start to go wrong early for Jack Monroe, a federal narcotics agent, when the policewoman he has borrowed from New Scotland Yard is killed. He has needled her in to disobeying police procedure and both pay for it.
Meanwhile, Tony Rowley, a DS at Scotland Yard, has troubles of his own. He has been too close for too long to one of the older types of officer, Dad Garrett, for whom the end justifies the means and for whom the end means the arrest of London gang leaders, The Twins.
But Garrett has a heart attack, a witness disappears, The Twins walk free and now Rowley is under threat from them, and in disgrace with his superiors. He is assigned to watch over Monroe in an international cocaine bust, masterminded by a German police officer.
Descriptions of the wheeling and dealing of politicians and senior officers on the fringe of affair and the chicanery going on at high level to secure the best publicity are masterly. And back in London Rowley is still not free from his gangland connections. The action has that awful ring of truth about it.
Roger Busby, Press Officer at Devon and Cornwall, has displayed a first hand knowledge of police procedure, police thinking and media manipulation.