The Lost Girls of Penzance by Sally Rigby is a highly recommended police procedural.
Pengelly of the Penzance police was supposed to be on leave when she learns that a skull has been found and rushes to the scene. Detective Matt Price, second-in-command
to Pengelly, is guarding the scene. This is his very first day and he
has never met Pengelly so he doesn't allow her on the scene until the
medical examiner vouches for her. There are other bones, obviously not
recent, so the site must be seriously examined.
Then the station receives a call about a little girl disappearing from her nursery/preschool. The team rushes over to search for her and check out the staff and buildings security. Pengelly and Price quickly begin to investigate and seemingly have a suspect, but then another little girl disappears from a different nursery/preschool and it is clear that they need to reexamine the facts. The search for the missing girls is intense while the identification of the bones is also being investigated.
Since this is the start of a new series, any development of the characters is beginning with this first novel. The good news is that readers are provided with an excellent foundation for future development. The backgrounds and personalities of both Pengelly and Price are presented as realistic, believable characters with individual personalities and depth. Pengelly is not immediately a likeable character, she is stern and tough, but there are a few hints and a scene late in the novel that show a hidden side of her personality. Price has a heartbreaking backstory and he is immediately likeable.
The narrative moves quickly as both investigations are underway. The missing little girls is the more compelling of the two but both investigations are brought to a conclusion. The action and clues provided will hold your attention. This is a fast read. While there is a twist, The Lost Girls of Penzance excels in presenting a straightforward police procedural where the investigation logically leads to a conclusion.