At the end of his two years' probation as a beat constable, Peter Grant is judged too easily distracted to make a good copper, and faces the awful prospect of assignment to the Case Progression Unit—doing all the paperwork to free up better cops to do their work out on the streets. Then, while guarding a crime scene in the early hours of the morning until it gets light enough for forensics to do their work, Peter talks to an eyewitness who saw the whole murder. The fact that the witness was a ghost brings Peter to the attention of Detective Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last practicing wizard on the Metropolitan Police force.
I spotted one of the major plot twists about half the book in advance of the narrator, and I'm not even English, but I still knew within the first chapter that I would really enjoy this book, and I really did. I snapped up the sequel, Moon over Soho, the minute my library got a copy. The First Person Smartass narrative voice was great, and I kept having to read particularly funny lines out loud to whoever happened to be nearby. The main character is wonderfully appealing, the supporting characters are equally interesting, and a couple of them clearly have a lot of backstory to unpack in subsequent volumes. The author, Ben Aaronovitch, has a background in TV writing, and I read an interview with him where he said he had originally thought of his Magic Cops story as a TV project; you can tell it would work great on the screen.