8 top crime novels set in Wales

crime fiction set in wales

With its temperamental weather, dramatic landscapes and many an isolated community, the winding roads and crumbling cottages of Wales provide the perfect backdrop for dark deeds and mysterious goings on. Crime fiction set in Wales may not be as common as its counterparts from England, Ireland and Scotland – but it packs a punch nonetheless!

This summer we’re off on a Dead Good road trip, travelling across the British Isles from the comfort of our armchair – so if you’re looking for a good book to help immerse yourself in beautiful Wales then you need look no further. With these gripping crime and thriller reads you can pay a visit to the capital with Belinda Bauer, explore Aberystwyth with Malcolm Pryce and get lost in the Brecon Beacons with Claire Douglas.

Here’s our pick of the best crime fiction set in Wales.

crime fiction set in walesRubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

Life is strange for Patrick Fort – being a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t come without its challenges. And that’s before he is faced with solving a possible murder.

Because the body Patrick is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. And now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery – while he dissects his own evidence…

crime fiction set in walesDo Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.

But then their first guest arrives. Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see. It’s 17 years since she tore everything apart. Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life? Is Selena running from something too? Or is there an even darker reason for her visit? Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it.

crime novels set in walesThe Lie by C L Taylor

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

crime fiction set in walesI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.

crime fiction set in walesThe Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham

Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath Tom Thorne has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him. Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.

But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make.

crime fiction set in walesAberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce

Schoolboys are disappearing all over Aberystwyth and nobody knows why.

Louie Knight, the town’s private investigator, soon realises that it is going to take more than a double ripple from Sospan, the philosopher cum ice-cream seller, to help find out what is happening to these boys and whether or not Lovespoon, the Welsh teacher, Grand Wizard of the Druids and controller of the town, is more than just a sinister bully.

crime fiction set in walesTalking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

A woman and her six-year-old daughter are killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.

DC Griffiths of the South Wales Major Crimes Unit has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there’s another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry – and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.

Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found…

crime fiction set in walesThe Missing Hours by Emma Kennedy

When Dr Selena Cole vanishes without a trace from the playground leaving her daughters stranded, DC Leah Mackay takes the case. Twenty hours later, Selena is found alive but has no memory of where she was or how she got back home.

What took place in those missing hours? And could they be linked to the discovery of a body nearby?

Have you read any great crime fiction set in Wales? Have we missed any of your favourite Welsh crime writers? Let us know in the comments below!

Travel further afield with our recommended reads set in Scotland, Ireland and England.

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8 Comments

  1. Louise says

    What about Stephen Puleston’s Inspector Drake series? Set in North Wales – they are brilliant with a true sense of place. Hugely recommended xx

  2. Pam Griffin says

    The Inspector Drake series, by Stephen Puleston, set in Wales is excellent. The first book, Brass in Pocket, is particularly good.

  3. Sue says

    Set in North Wales, the Inspector Drake series by Stephen Puleston is excellent

  4. Merv says

    DS Kite novels by Jan Newton. Crime series set in mid-Wales. First one is Remember No More ….. newly promoted DS Kite is at a crossroads. Her husband’s desire for a different life takes her away from urban Manchester and it’s inner city problems to tranquil mid-Wales.

  5. Nigel McHugh says

    You can’t leave out Ewart Hutton and his character Glynn Capaldi!
    Phil Rickman’s “Merrily Watkins” aren’t exactly crime novels, but they are set on the Welsh border snd very, very good.