Short Stories About the Police: Mystery, Procedural & Forensics

These short stories all feature police detectives or officers carrying out an investigation.

“The Bone-Headed League” by Lee Child

An FBI agent who thoroughly enjoys England is assigned to the embassy in London. The work is easy. He liaises with the police when Americans are involved in a crime. One day, he’s called to Baker Street by Scotland Yard. Some details of the case are obvious references to a story he’s familiar with. His enthusiasm for British things takes over.

This story can be read in the preview of The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10. (29% in)

“Murder at the Metropole” by Robert J. Randisi

Detective Val O’Farrell is at the Hotel Metropolis in Times Square. A body is on the front steps. He’s joined by Sgt. McKeever. The deceased is a man they both recognize—Herman Rosenthal, who ran an illegal casino. They know who the press is going to blame for this. O’Farrell has to find out if it’s true.

This story can be read in the preview of Crime Square(17% in)

“12:01 AM” (A Karen Vail Story) by Alan Jacobson

Vaughn is on death row and due to be executed in 2 hours. He thinks back on his “work” and accepts his fate. He takes some solace in the fact that his legacy will live on. Three hours earlier, Debra Mead was coming out of a grocery story when she was pulled into a van. A rookie detective noticed a similarity to an old case.

This story can be read in the preview of Nothing Good Happens After Midnight: A Suspense Magazine Anthology(28% in)

“Fast (A Kathryn Dance Story)” by Jeffery Deaver

Kathryn and her young daughter are about to see the octopus exhibit when she gets an urgent text from work. Monitoring has picked up news of an impending terrorist attack in about two and a half hours. The location isn’t known, but the number of potential victims is—about two hundred. They have the make on a car and a last-seen location.

Most of this story can be read in the preview of Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories(9% in)

“Swiftwing 98” by Peter O’Donnell

Inspector Lestrade gives his new Detective Sergeant an assignment—prevent a woman, Eva Kossuth, from being murdered. She defected from Hungary and is coming to live in England. Her country believes she’s been a spy for the west. She’ll be arriving today by train, and they need to be prepared.

This story can be read in the preview of Daggers Drawn(24% in)

“The Mystery of Chenholt” by Alice and Claude Askew

To recover from an illness, Reggie is transferred to a small police station in the country. One day, he gets a letter saying someone would come by on a vitally important matter. A man named Grimsby turns up. He’s the butler for Mr. and Mrs. Darrell. He believes Mr. Darrell is slowly poisoning his wife.

This story can be read in the preview of The Long Arm of the Law: Classic Police Stories(33% in)

“Screwball Division” by Anthony Boucher

Detective Lieutenant MacDonald talks to the housekeeper about the murder of Father Halloran. He was shot while sitting in his chair. MacDonald tries to get the housekeeper to focus and work out a timeline. They establish he was found between 5:30 and 5:45 in the evening. MacDonald looks at Halloran’s wristwatch—it’s stopped at 7:06.

This story can be read in the preview of Exeunt Murders: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher(18% in)

“Away in a Manger” by Graham Brack

Slonsky, Navratil and Peiperova of the Prague police head out for a drink and patrol on Christmas Eve. Captain Lukas says he’ll meet up with them. They go to the Old Town Square, which is packed with people. There’s a nativity play starting.

This story can be read in the preview of Midwinter Mysteries: A Christmas Crime Anthology(10% in)

“A Change of Heart” by Catherine Aird

Susan Merton sees Detective Inspector Sloan about the death of her grandmother at the hospital. Despite knowing her grandmother could have died any time due to her bad heart, Susan believes her death was intentional due to negligence.

This story can be read in the Kindle preview of Chapter and Hearse: Collected Mysteries(27% in)