There are some cozy murder mysteries in Kent.

Who is Inspector Thanet?

Written by British mystery author Dorothy Preece Simpson, this crime series follows the investigations of Luke Thanet, a police inspector in Kent, England.

Set in Sturrenden, an imaginary town in Kent, the Inspector Thanet series takes us in the lives of Inspector Thanet and his sergeant, Mike Lineham, as they solve the crimes, mostly by delving into the life and relationships of the murder victim, sometimes with the help of their own family members.


Inspector Thanet Books in Order:

  1. The Night She Died – Inspector Thanet is called to investigate the death of a young housewife. His clues are a painting, a disc jockey, a mermaid, an estate agent, a recurring nightmare and an unsolved murder. Delving into the past he realizes he is hunting a murderer who has gone unpunished for twenty years.
  2. Six Feet Under – Curiosity killed the cat. Did it also kill Carrie? Inspector Thanet is called in to investigate the murder of a singularly unprepossessing middle-aged spinster in a peaceful Kentish garden. The author is a winner of the Silver Dagger Award.
  3. Puppet For A Corpse – When prominent GP, Arnold Pettifer, is found dead of an overdose, Inspector Thanet is immediately suspicious, for Dr Pettifer apparently had everything to live for. The finger of suspicion points at Mrs Pettifer particularly when it emerges that she has a lover.
  4. Close Her Eyes – Charity Pritchard hasn’t had much of a life. Her parents are strict religious fundamentalists who deny her simple teenage pleasures such as jeans or makeup. Now Charity is missing, and her parents want to leave the matter in God’s hands, much to the concern of Inspector Luke Thanet. When Charity’s body is found in a back alley, Inspector Thanet determines to bring to light the dark details of her unhappy, secret life, piece by piece.

  1. Last Seen Alive– It’s been all of twenty years since Alicia Parnell last saw Sturrenden. While she was still a schoolgirl a jilted boyfriend killed himself, and her parents tactfully moved away from that corner of Kent. Nevertheless the old crowd are delighted when she turns up out of the blue one day. Just why she has chosen to come back, no-one can guess. But within hours Alicia has been found strangled, and Inspector Luke Thanet is called upon to solve her murder.
  2. Dead on Arrival – Det. Inspector Luke Thanet is brought in when a dead man is found in bed, apparently killed by a single blow with a blunt object. When the corpse is identified as Steven Long, the question is no longer who wanted to kill him, but who didn’t? A troublemaker with enemies wherever he went, Long was loathed by everyone in town, from his long-suffering ex-wife to the man whose family he killed in a driving accident.
  3. Element of Doubt – Det. Inspector Luke Thanet is pulling into his driveway when murder intervenes. A village so lovely it seems straight out of a fairytale, Ribbleden is far from the main roads and Thanet’s usual beat. When the inspector pulls into town, the quiet country streets are deserted: Everyone is crowded outside the manor gates, waiting to learn what happened to Nerine Tarrant.
  4. Suspicious Death – Change is coming to the Sturrenden police station. After twenty years at the helm, the superintendent has retired, and Det. Inspector Luke Thanet is now reporting to a brusque, ambitious upstart recently promoted from Cardiff. A new chief means turf wars and bureaucratic infighting. With the station in chaos, Thanet is almost happy to investigate a suspicious death.

  1. Dead by Morning – Over the last year, Superintendent Draco has turned the little police station at Sturrenden upside down. A hard-driving, fiery Welshman, he has breathed new life into a stagnant police force, and Det. Inspector Luke Thanet has been forced to admit that even if he’s difficult to work with, Draco gets results. But when a body is found in the little village of Sutton-in-the-Weald the morning after a heavy snowstorm, Draco insists on overseeing the investigation.
  2. Doomed to Die – When a woman is found with a bloody gash on her scalp and a plastic bag over her head, there’s no question that she was murdered. But Det. Inspector Luke Thanet is about to discover a mystery far more shocking than anything he’s encountered before.
  3. Wake the Dead – The Thaxden Fête is one of the highlights of the Sturrenden social calendar, and this year it promises to be better than ever. Local celebrities have descended on Thaxden Hall to raise money for the town hospice. The food is exquisite, the music lovely, and the company divine. Det. Inspector Luke Thanet and his wife are having a wonderful time at the party—until murder intervenes.
  4. No Laughing Matter – Sturrenden Vineyard is a few miles west of town, a lovely piece of land where tourists come to sip wine, tour the grounds, and enjoy the exquisite Kentish scenery. But Det. Inspector Luke Thanet is too busy for such frivolous activities, so his first visit comes with the introduction of a an attraction far more in keeping with his usual interests: murder.

  1. A Day for Dying – When playboy Max Jeopard is killed at his own engagement party, Inspector Luke Thanet is called in to investigate and uncovers a host of suspects, including his fiancee, a jealous brother, an ex-girlfriend, and the victim’s future in-laws
  2. Once Too Often – Newspaper reporter Jessica Manifest’s questionable death takes Inspector Luke Thanet away from his daughter’s wedding preparations to investigate the victim’s supposedly accidental death. As he delves into her secretive past, he realizes that there are many people with motives for murdering her.
  3. Dead And Gone – Inspector Luke Thanet and Detective Sergeant Mike Lineham unravel the intricate events leading up to the drowning of Victoria Mintaur, the wife of a renowned barrister.