Ben Aaronovitch

You put a spell on the dog,” I said as we left the house. “Just a small one,” said Nightingale. “So magic is real,” I said. “Which makes you a…what?” “A wizard.” “Like Harry Potter?” Nightingale sighed. “No,” he said. “Not like Harry Potter.” “In what way?” “I’m not a fictional character,” said Nightingale.

“You put a spell on the dog,” I said as we left the house. “Just a small one,” said Nightingale. “So magic is real,” I … Read More

Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the “London once-over” – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport – like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.

“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the “London once-over” – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or … Read More

Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale. ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.

“Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale. ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how … Read More

If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you’ve broken the news, so that you’re forced to be there when someone’s life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn’t bother them – such people are not to be trusted.

“If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this … Read More

If you just warn people, they often simply ignore you. But if you ask them a question, then they have to think about it. And once they start to think about the consequences, they almost always calm down. Unless they’re drunk, of course. Or stoned. Or aged between fourteen and twenty-one. Or Glaswegian.

“If you just warn people, they often simply ignore you. But if you ask them a question, then they have to think about it. And … Read More

Landscaping is the great cardinal sin of modern architecture. It’s not your garden, it’s not a park – it’s a formless patch of grass, shrubbery and the occasional tree that exists purely to stop the original developer’s plans from looking like a howling concrete wilderness.

“Landscaping is the great cardinal sin of modern architecture. It’s not your garden, it’s not a park – it’s a formless patch of grass, shrubbery … Read More

The Metropolitan Police Service is still, despite what people think, a working-class organisation and as such rejects totally the notion of an officer class. That is why every newly minted constable, regardless of their educational background, has to spend a two-year probationary period as an ordinary plod on the streets. This is because nothing builds character like being abused, spat at and vomited by members of the public.

“The Metropolitan Police Service is still, despite what people think, a working-class organisation and as such rejects totally the notion of an officer class. That … Read More

What frustrated me was the thought that with three thousand years of history someone in China, some monk in a monastery halfway up a mountain, must have developed a magic kata, a physical expression of formae. Or at least have got close enough to explain all those legendary swordsmen and their inexplicable desire to roost on the tops of bamboo trees.

“What frustrated me was the thought that with three thousand years of history someone in China, some monk in a monastery halfway up a mountain, … Read More