We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Broken Afternoon

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529415742

Price: £10.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘Move over Morse. Simon Mason Oxford crime novel breathes fresh life into the police procedural’ Val McDermid
‘There is no one else like him’ Mark Sanderson The Times/Sunday Times Crime Club



A four-year-old girl goes missing in plain sight outside her nursery in Oxford, a middle-class, affluent area,
her mother only a stones-throw away.


Ryan Wilkins, one of the youngest ever Detective Inspectors in the Thames Valley force, dishonourably discharged three months ago, watches his former partner DI Ray Wilkins deliver a press conference, confirming a lead.


Ray begins to delve deeper, unearthing an underground network of criminal forces in the local area. But while Ray’s investigation stalls Ryan brings his unique talents to unofficial and quite illegal inquiries which will bring him into a confrontation with the very officials who have thrown him out of the force.

Praise for the DI Ryan Wilkins Mysteries

‘Mason has reformulated Inspector Morse for the 2020s’ The Times
‘Start now and avoid the rush’ Guardian


Oxford-based author Simon Mason has made a mark with his almost identically named sleuths Ray Wilkins and Ryan Wilkins, the former precise and formal, the latter dishevelled (and now discharged from his job). In The Broken Afternoon, a child goes missing from an Oxford nursery, and the duo must work together again to tackle a clandestine criminal network. Such issues as the vulnerability of children and current diversity drives are grist to Mason's mill in this beguiling offspring of Colin Dexter's Morse series.
Financial Times
Move over Morse. Simon Mason's Oxford crime novel confounds all our expectations.
Val McDermid
His work has qualities in common with that of fellow Oxford novelist Mick Herron: alert, amusingly cynical, relishing absurdities
The detectives Ryan Wilkins and Ray Wilkins - no relation - are back . . . Having established their relationship so vividly last year in A Killing in November, Simon Mason spreads his wings to show just how good a writer he is. The horror of paedophilia is never downplayed and throws into relief Ryan's unconditional love for his young son: "Be good, Daddy." Oxford and its environs - described so well you can smell the heat-crazed pavements and the rank luxuriance of the water-meadows - is a character in itself . . . The result . . . is a funny, thrilling and life-affirming story.
The Times
A welcome return from an unforgettable, nuanced character.
Daily Mail
There is no one else like him!
Mark Sanderson The Times/Sunday Times Crime Club
Humane, tense, funny and fabulous
Amanda Craig
The writing is fast and colourful, the men's love-hate relationship is entertaining, and their own troubles add depth to this excellent police procedural.
Literary Review
This pacy tale, with twists and raw emotion, is gripping
There is a long history of crime fiction set in Oxford, stretching back to Dorothy L Sayers. Contemporary writers offer a very different view of the city . . . Simon Mason's superb second Oxford-set novel, The Broken Afternoon, opens in a poky office of a van hire company . . . Child abduction is a difficult subject for genre fiction, but Mason handles it sensitively, and every sentence is beautifully written.
Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month
A bright new series that makes Colin Dexter's Oxford feel distinctly passé
Times (Audiobook of the Week)
Simon Mason is a bright new talent who sets his second book of this series in a thoroughly modern Oxford that makes Morse seem distinctly passé.
Times (Audio Book of the Week)
Mason's superb crime novels are set in a version of Oxford where areas of deprivation co-exist with posh family homes. His detective, working as a night security guard, stumbles on information about the disappearance of a child. Mason handles a difficult subject well and every sentence is beautifully written.
Joan Smith, Sunday Times

DI Wilkins Mysteries