That was exactly the case with Orchestrated Death (1991), by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, which features the debut of Inspector Bill Slider and his sergeant, Jim Atherton.
Jim and Bill. The names don't promise much in the way of originality or wit, do they? Don't be fooled. This mystery crackles with snappy one-liners and wry observations about everything from marriage -- the reasons for 'which ranged from the insufficient to the ludicrous' -- to hair colour. Slider's son Matthew makes friends with 'a boy called Sibod, with such flamingly red hair that it looked like a deliberate insult.'
Her faithful readers must know by now that Miss Lemon has absolutely nothing against red hair. Nor shall her readers take amiss any of clever banter that's batted back and forth between Slider and Atherton, the pair of which bring to mind Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy in the British mysteries by Caroline Graham.
The premise of Orchestrated Death is smart and simple: the body of a young woman is found naked in a tenement in West London, and the only thing to identify her is the mark on her neck made by the chin-rest of her violin. And a rare and expensive violin it turns out to be.
Though largely without family or means, it seems the murdered woman, a second-chair player from the Birmingham Orchestra, owned a Stradivarius.