My main characters develop, both personally and professionally, as the series progresses, as is the case in real life.
In Dark Crimes (Novel 1) Sophie Allen is a newly appointed detective chief inspector, brought in to head Dorset’s Violent Crime Unit. By Novel 11 she has gained several promotions and runs the Wessex Serious Crime Unit (WeSCU), spreading her influence across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. She is 42 years old as the series starts, and lives with her husband and younger daughter in Wareham.
Sophie’s main sidekick is Barry Marsh. He’s a thirty-year-old detective sergeant when they first meet. He’s quiet yet dedicated, the perfect foil for Sophie’s extrovert nature and hidden fragility.
He gains promotion to DI in the middle of the series, takes over many of the day-to-day operations, falls in love, and marries in novel 11 (Hidden Crimes).
Detective Constable Rae Gregson joins the unit in the third novel (Secret Crimes). Rae is very talented and extremely dedicated. Her transgender background causes some difficulties at first, but she quickly settles into the team and makes major contributions in all later investigations. She is promoted to detective sergeant in novel 9, Ruthless Crimes.
Sergeant Rose Simons is a uniformed officer based in the market town of Blandford Forum with her sidekick, the rookie Constable George Warrander. Rose has an offbeat sense of humour and shows a cynical attitude, but she is a first-rate cop. She mothers George a little too much. These two characters appear for the first time in novel 5 and play important roles in many of the later novels. George quickly becomes a popular and reliable police officer. George forms a significant romantic attachment at the end of novel 8, Silent Crimes.
Detective Constable Lydia Pillay is a talented young officer initially working for Sophie Allen at Dorset County police HQ. We learn near the start of Secret Crimes (novel 3) that she has left the unit, unable to overcome her suspicion that Sophie was the perpetrator of a serious assault in the previous novel. Lydia appears in some of the subsequent novels and resurfaces in a big way when she is promoted to Detective Sergeant. She takes a major role in novel 7. Her sidekick is usually Detective Constable Jimmy Melsom.