Thursday, 17 March 2011


Genre:  Crime & Mystery
Published by:  Bantam  (Sept 2004)
Pages:  412  (Paperback)
My Rating:  9.5 / 10

Blurb from the back of the book:

Arthur Bryant and John May of the Met’s little-known Peculiar Crimes Unit are London’s longest-serving detectives.  When a bomb claims Bryant’s life, it ends a partnership that has lasted for over half a century.
Desperately searching for clues to the killer’s identity, May becomes convinced that the answer is to be found in their very first assignment together.  It was in London, during the Blitz, and it all began when a beautiful dancer was found without her feet …....

This is the 1st book in the Bryant & May detective series and it introduces us to the two men who first met over 60 years ago.  Arthur Bryant, the ‘bright-eyed and restless’ young man who was ‘filled to exhaustion with ideas’ , ‘distracted and a little awkward’ and who ‘said what he meant’ ….... and John May, the ‘reserved, serious one’ who ‘meant what he said’.

The story starts in the present on the night that a bomb has obliterated the PCU’s office where Bryant (who was an insomniac) was working.  May is devastated and vows to solve the murder but, on investigating, he realises that the answer lies in the past.

The plot weaves nicely between the present and the past as we are introduced to a whole host of quirky characters in the dark, secret world of Theatre life in 1940.  Bryant and May bicker and argue like an old married couple, trying to solve not one but several murders in the Theatre, and a strange phantom is sighted by several of the cast of the play.  Could this be the murderer or is he just a figment of their nervous imagination?

This is a very enjoyable and dark comedy of a story, the character’s backgrounds are described in detail, the original and intelligent plot is full of twists, and Christopher Fowler’s use of language is very clever.
Bryant and May are two very endearing grumpy old men who complemented each other very well and I did love their humorous conversations!

The narrative driven plot enhanced the story forwards very nicely to its unexpected and surprising conclusion.

There are another 7 books in this wonderfully quirky series and I look forward to reading them all! They are --

For more on Christopher Fowler please click here

Have you read any or all of these books?
Which one do you think is the best?
Leave a comment and I will put a link to your review

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