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Policing and detection in Inspector Ryga's 1950 set mysteries

Death in the Nets by Pauline RowsonDEATH IN THE NETS is the third in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series, published on 4 October 2021 in paperback, as an e book and on Amazon Kindle. It is set in the fishing port of Brixham, Devon where Scotland Yard's Inspector Ryga investigates the death of a man discovered tangled in fishing nets in the harbour.

DEATH IN THE COVE is the first in the Inspector Ryga 1950s set mystery series, set on the Royal island of Portland, Dorset with DEATH IN THE HARBOUR number two, set in the port of Newhaven, East Sussex..

The 1950s is a fascinating period where memories of the war are very strong, and the fear of more world conflicts haunt people. Rationing is still in existence, there is an acute housing shortage and austerity grips Britain.

Society and policing in the 1950s was vastly different to today, no mobile phones, no dashing about in high speed cars and no computers so it was extremely interesting to research and write.

Policing and detection in 1950 - how the public communicated with the police, reporting in; women in the police, and police vehicles.

Communicating with the police and reporting in

There were, of course, no mobile phones in 1950 and indeed few households had telephones. Mackenzie Trench Police Boxes appeared in London in 1929 and could also be used by the general public. They were a vital communications link. The boxes could be used to report fire, or to summon an ambulance and report crime.

The light on top of a police box illuminated red and could be activated by the station or by a member of the public to attract a police officer. Officers therefore were encouraged to stay within line-of-sight of their Police Box for as much time as possible, although the top of the Police Box lamp contained a gong mechanism which also provided an audible means of attracting attention.

Women in the police force

Between 1939 and 1949 the number of police women rose from 246 to 1148, whereas in 1939, 138 out of 183 forces employed no police women

In 1932 Lilian Wyles was appointed the first woman Chief Inspector in the police force. She joined London's Metropolitan Police in 1919 and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in 1933.

In 1950 women police officers were still fairly rare but a growing number. It wasn't until 1948 that the first two policewomen in the Glamorgan Constabulary, WPC1 Elsie Baldwin and WPC 2 Florence Knight, were appointed on the 13th March. And Liverpool City Police only appointed police women in 1948 (Rawlings, 2002: 199).

On 1 January 1949 the British Transport Commission Police (BTP) was created, formed from the four old railway police forces, canal police and several minor dock forces. In 1950 the first female BTP sergeants were appointed when WPC's Snell (Paddington) and Barrett (Liverpool Street) were promoted.

Police vehicles

In rural areas this often only consisted of a ‘Bobby on a bicycle’ but in towns where there was a sergeant or inspector they often used their own cars for which they received an allowance. It was only in larger areas that police vehicles were used.

In the 1930s the Met was using Area Wireless Cars’ crewed by CID officers and trained drivers and operators (you can see these in operation in some British films of the period). In more rural areas motor patrols would arrive at a phone box at a fixed time and check in. By the end of the 1940s car fleets began to expand equipped with VHF wireless but not all had them, not in fact until the mid-1960s.

A very different time and way of policing from today and a joy to research and write about.

The Inspector Ryga Mysteries

Death in the Cove an Inspector Alun Ryga MysteryDEATH IN THE COVE is Inspector Ryga's first solo investigation outside of London, where he is despatched to solve the mystery of why a man in a pin-striped suit is found murdered in an isolated cove on the Royal Island of Portland in Dorset. Here he meets war photographer, Eva Paisley, for the first time. Ryga quickly realises that her observations could provide the breakthrough he needs in a complex murder investigation and the answer to the haunting circumstances that have sent the man in the pinstriped suit to his death.

Death in the Harbour by Pauline RowsonThe second Inspector Ryga mystery, DEATH IN THE HARBOUR is set in the port of Newhaven, East Sussex where Ryga has to solve a puzzling and disturbing case of why an ordinary police constable was murdered and his sensible law-abiding wife has gone missing.

Death in the Nets by Pauline RowsonNumber three in the Inspector Ryga series DEATH IN THE NETS is set in the small fishing town of Brixham, Devon. It's a cold wet January night in 1951, the body of a man stabbed through the heart, is found tangled up in fishing nets in Brixham Harbour, Devon. After a series of startling revelations, Ryga is tasked to discover why the dead man who left the town eleven years ago has returned and why someone hated him enough to murder him.

The Inspector Ryga mysteries are published in paperback, ebook, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Books and Apple Books.

DEATH IN THE COVE and DEATH IN THE HARBOUR are also available as audio books on Audible, and from B7 Media, narrated by Jonathan Rhodes.

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OCTOBER 18TH, 2021 @ 6:20:57 BST

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