The Brock and Poole novels

Detective Chief Inspector HARRY BROCK is about 45, the son of Fred and Sheila Brock.  Fred Brock was an Underground train driver working out of Morden, and Sheila worked in Woolworth’s as a shop assistant.  Brock’s father died some years ago; his mother is still alive and lives in retirement in Streatham.

Brock went to a grammar school near Croydon but left at the age of 16 with a few O-levels.  He worked for three years as a clerk with a water company before joining the Metropolitan Police at the age of 19.

Brock is about six-foot tall and slender.  He has youthful good looks and an eye for the women.  He is fastidious about having his hair cut properly and wishes he could afford to go to Trumper’s of St James’s.  He is a sharp dresser and is always buying shirts and ties from reputable West End suppliers (Crichton of Sackville Street being his favourite), but his suits are made in the east end of London by a German tailor he met while on the Flying Squad.

He plays squash regularly and does his best to keep fit, despite the Job.  He drinks in moderation liking the occasional scotch, but prefers a decent glass of red wine or, better still, champagne.  He keeps trying to give up smoking, but nevertheless smokes Marlboro. He doesn't like oranges or the smell of them, enjoys a fillet steak, but is not keen on sandwiches.

When Brock was 24, he married Helga Büchner, a 21-year old German girl (a native of Cologne) who was working at Westminster Hospital as a physiotherapist.  He was there for a course of treatment following an injury on duty, and took her out dancing the same evening.  They were married two months later and lived in a cramped flat in Earlsfield, south west London.  They had a son, Robert.

When Robert was four, Helga left him with a friend while she went to work.  While playing in the garden, Robert fell into the pond and drowned.  Brock never forgave Helga for going to work instead of looking after their child and her insistence on doing so had caused arguments even before the tragedy.  The result was an even greater rift, not helped by Brock’s difficult hours as a CID officer.

Helga wrongly suspected Brock of adultery, not believing that, unlike the German police (in which her uncle served), he could be working such long hours.  Recriminations followed and the relationship turned sour.  There was much talk of divorce, but they never got around to it (until Light Fantastic), mainly because of the expense, and they began what is known as an ‘open’ marriage.  They divorced after 16 years.  The only benefit of the marriage, Brock claims, was that he learned to speak fluent German.

Brock’s first three years of police service was spent as a foot-duty constable at Cannon Row police station in Whitehall, before going to Gerald Road station as a trainee detective.  He was confirmed as a detective constable three years later.  He attended the Junior Command Course at Bramshill Police College, and has served in various ranks with the Flying Squad and the Fraud Squad.  Did several trips to Germany on fraud enquiries because he could speak the language.  He is now a detective chief inspector with Homicide and Serious Crime Command (known in the earlier books as the Serious Crime Group (West)).

Detective Sergeant DAVE POOLE is 28 and serves on the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (known in the earlier books as the Serious Crime Group (West)) as Brock’s assistant.  Of Caribbean descent, his grandfather came over from Jamaica in the 1950s and set up practice as a doctor in Bethnal Green.  Dave Poole’s father is an accountant.

Dave graduated in English from London University and is a bit of a purist when it comes to spoken and written English.  He writes shorthand, plays the piano and has a good voice.  He, like Brock, is trying to give up smoking, but smokes Silk Cut.

He lives in Kennington with his wife Madeleine, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet.  She is white, petite, aged 25, and has blonde hair.  There are unconfirmed rumours that she occasionally beats him up, but this is put down to unconfirmed canteen scuttlebutt.

Harry Brock and Dave Poole both appear in Working Girl, Light Fantastic, Whiplash, Kicking the AirWhispering Grass, Drumfire, Lost or Found, Jack In The Box, Breach of Privilege, All Quiet on Arrival, GunrunnerMake Them Pay, Reckless Endangerment, Exit Stage Left and the soon to be published Suddenly at Home.

© Graham Ison 2017