Peter James's Roy Grace mystery series was recently adapted for television by Endeavour writer Russell Lewis. Now, many are discovering the series for the first time – or starting all over and reading it anew with actual characters in mind.
In the UK, the first two episodes aired on ITV. In the US, they found a home on BritBox (April 27th, 2021). Whether you're new to the series or starting over from a point where you left off previously, this post will help you figure out where you are and continue on in order.
What are the Roy Grace Novels About?
Roy Grace is a Brighton-based detective whose outlook has been coloured by the disappearance of his beloved wife Sandy. He has a good heart and a strong drive to help others, but he's a damaged man.
Along with the usual police procedures, Grace is open to a variety of unorthodox techniques. If it helps him catch a criminal, he won't hesitate to turn to mediums and clairvoyants.
All of Peter James's Roy Grace Books in Order
As of April 2021, there are 17 novels in the Roy Grace series. You can buy them separately (links below each title) or get the first 10 in an ebook bundle HERE.
Book 1 | Dead Simple
Michael Harrison's friends decided it would be funny to bury him alive as a stag night prank. Unfortunately, they were killed in a car accident before they could retrieve him, leaving the man buried in an unknown location just days before his wedding. DS Roy Grace sets out to help his beautiful, distraught fiancee.
Book 2 | Looking Good Dead
Tom Bryce tries to do the right thing and return an item left on the train seat beside him. Unfortunately, he becomes witness to a murder while attempting to return it – and then his own family is threatened. He bravely contacts the police anyway, and the murderers make good on their threats. DS Roy Grace will have to solve the case.
Book 3 | Not Dead Enough
DS Roy Grace is sure Brian Bishop murdered his socialite wife. The only problem? He was sixty miles away, asleep in bed at the time of the murder. Has someone stolen Bishop's identity, or is he just a very clever killer?
Book 4 | Dead Man's Footsteps
In the aftermath of 9/11, a failed Brighton businessman sees an opportunity to shed his debts, disappear, and reinvent himself in another country.
Six years later, skeletal remains of a woman's body are found in a storm drain, leading DS Roy Grace on an international investigation as he races to save the life of a woman being pursued in Brighton.
Book 5 | Dead Tomorrow
When a missing teenager is dredged up off the Sussex coast, missing a number of vital organs, it leads DS Roy Grace to a gang of child traffickers operating from Eastern Europe.
Book 6 | Dead Like You
After a wild New Year's Eve celebration, a woman is raped while returning to her room. A week later, the same thing happens to another woman. In both cases, the attacker takes their shoes.
DS Roy Grace quickly connects these cases to a similar set of unsolved crimes back in the 1990s. Could it be a copycat? Or is the “Shoe Man” back in business?
Book 7 | Dead Man's Grip
After being involved in a fatal traffic accident, Carly Chase receives word that the drivers of the other two vehicles have been tortured and murdered. DS Roy Grace has warned her that she could be next.
Though advised to change her identity and go into hiding, Carly feels the killer would find her regardless of her actions – so if the police can't find the killer, she'll have to take matters into her own hands.
Book 8 | Not Dead Yet
When a major Hollywood movie begins filming in Brighton, it has the potential to mean big things for the local area. Unfortunately, star Gaia is being pursued by a stalker – and DS Roy Grace is tasked with finding the stalker before something goes terribly wrong.
Book 9 | Dead Man's Time
At a secluded Brighton mansion, a robber makes off with millions of pounds in valuables, leaving the elderly occupant dying. DS Roy Grace is on the case, and he learns there's one priceless and sentimental item the family cherished above all else – and they're willing to do anything to get it back.
DS Grace will set off on a trail that leads him from the shady antiques scene in Brighton to Europe and New York as he pursues the killer.
Book 10 | Want You Dead
When Red Westwood meets Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, the sparks fly immediately. It all seems great until secrets from his past begin to emerge. Virtually everything she knew about him was a lie, and love quickly turns to terror.
With the help of the police, she's able to remove him from her life – but he's obsessed and determined to destroy her and everything she ever loved.
Book 11 | You Are Dead
The last call Jamie Ball had with his fiancee saw her driving into an underground car park, then screaming before the call cut out. Although police responded quickly, she was gone before they arrived, leaving only her car and mobile phone behind.
Later that day, workmen dig up a long-dead woman in an entirely different part of the city. Though the cases initially seem unrelated, it doesn't take DS Roy Grace long to put the pieces together.
Book 12 | Love You Dead
As a child, Jodie Bentley's only two wishes were to be rich and to be attractive. A plastic surgeon helped her with the attractive part, so now she's working on marrying a rich man. The only hard part is getting rid of him once you've caught him.
DS Roy Grace suspects there's a black widow operating in his city, but he may have underestimated just how dangerous she is.
Book 13 | Need You Dead
Desperate to escape a bad marriage, Lorna Belling falls for another man she hopes will rescue her. Unfortunately, things don't work out according to plan.
When a woman's body is found in a Brighton bath, DS Roy Grace is called to the scene. Though it initially seems pretty straightforward, a sudden turn of events reveals the case to be much more sinister and complicated than he could have imagined.
Book 14 | Dead if You Don't
Successful businessman Kip Brown is having a run of bad luck. When he takes his teenage son to a football match, he takes his eye off him for just moments, only to have him stolen away. Though the kidnappers tell him not to contact police, he reluctantly does so anyway – and DS Roy Grace is brought in to investigate.
Book 15 | Dead at First Sight
In two different cities in two different countries, two men wait for women they believe to be their soulmates. Unfortunately, the women never arrived and the men soon learn they've been conned.
In Brighton, DS Roy Grace is brought in to investigate a suicide that isn't quite what it seems. He'll soon find himself neck-deep in a global web if internet scammers willing to murder anyone who might expose them.
Book 16 | Find Them Dead
Meg Magellan's daughter is off on a gap year in South America, and she welcomes a stint on jury duty as a distraction. Unfortunately, she's assigned to the trial of a drug lord – and just a few days into the trial, she gets a call saying she needs to ensure a not guilty verdict if she ever wants to see her daughter again.
As Grace investigates a nearby murder, he soon realises the man on trial is pure evil, and he'll stop at nothing to ensure his own freedom. Will he be able to stop the man before anyone else gets hurt?
Book 17 | Left You Dead
Niall and Eden Paternoster always spend their Sundays the same way. They take a long drive, visit a country house, then stop by a local supermarket on the way home. This time, however, Niall waits in the car park and his wife never returns. No one has heard from her. She's gone without a trace.
It's not long before Niall is arrested on suspicion of Eden's murder – but it doesn't take DS Roy Grace long to figure out it's not what it seems.
Walk Around Roy Grace's Brighton
If you're used to mysteries set in cosy English villages, gritty London, or the distinguished university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, Brighton may seem a very different sort of setting. It's a quirky coastal town about 50 miles south of London, and though it's quite distinctly British, it has a dash of San Francisco about it.
Brighton is a lively town with a thriving cultural scene that's much bigger than the city's size might suggest. You'll find loads of street art, and a vegetarian will have no trouble at all finding tons of food options (though in fairness, the UK is pretty veg-friendly as a whole).
Independent businesses thrive in Brighton, and it's the LGBTQ capital of Britain. It was also home to the world's first Body Shop location, opened back in 1976.
Brighton isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly unique – and by getting a taste of the city, you'll enhance your reading of the Roy Grace series.
Below, we've embedded a Google StreetView frame where you can virtually “walk” the city. It works best on desktop, but it does still work on tablets and phones. Just drag your cursor across the scene in the direction you wish to turn, or click the arrows to move in the designated direction.
Have You Read the Roy Grace Novels?
What do you think of the Roy Grace novels? Have they kept up the quality throughout, or has the series gone stale. If you haven't read them, will you? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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