The PC Peter Grant series, of which Foxglove Summer is the fifth instalment, could be described as Harry Potter for grown ups. But it is more than this - part supernatural, part police procedural and part observational humour - at times the series is more Terry Pratchett than JK Rowling. The series started strongly with Rivers of London and while some of the entries don't quite meet those heights, Aaronovitch continues to deliver.
PC Peter Grant has been taken on as an apprentice to the last officially working wizard detective in England. Based in an old house known as The Folly, Grant and his boss, DCI Nightingale, get involved in cases where there is a hint of the supernatural. While there have been individual cases solved along the way, there is an ongoing story through the series involving a dangerous rogue wizard known only as the Faceless Man. The first four books of the series are based in London and have a loving sense of place. Foxglove Summer takes the action to the British countryside and provides a welcome change of scene and pace.
PC Grant is sent to the little town of Rushpool where two 11 year old girls have gone missing. Needless to say, being the English countryside there are rumours of both fairies and UFOs.
While there is no immediate evidence of supernatural involvement, Grant agrees to stay and help with the search. But it isn't long before things start to get weird (or "Falcon" as the local police euphemistically call it) and Grant needs to sort it out without his usual backup.
This is another solid and enjoyable outing for fans of this series. The overarching plot of the series, the hunt for the Faceless Man, continues as background. Other long running plot threads are teased out and explained including the engagement in World War 2 that decimated the wizarding community and the possible origins of Nightingale's creepy housekeeper. But it also comes as a welcome break from these main concerns, allowing PC Grant to have centre stage and shedding light on a new part of Aaronovitch's demimonde.
As the fifth book in a series, Foxglove Summer is not the best place to start. But, with its confined story and only brief appearances by key characters, it is the easiest entree into the series since the original Rivers of London. While it could be read on its own, the best thing to do would be to start at the beginning and enjoy this series all the way through.