Christopher Fowler

Bryant and May: England’s Finest

"This luxury selection box of Bryant and May intrigue will make your Christmas sparkle! "


The second compendium of the cases of Bryant & May collects cases undertaken by Arthur Bryant and John May from the years since the Peculiar Crime Unit's inception, under a Wartime directive from Winston Churchill, in 1939. With a detailed introduction that outlines the history of the clandestine department and some of the staff who have graced its ranks during that time, as well as a memo from long-suffering chief of department Raymond Land and a note from Bryant's biographer, the scene is set for a series of compelling curios, twisted mysteries and insights into the methodology employed by London's most eccentric detectives. Dating back to the immediate post-War period, when the duo need to find a murderer amid the teeming sun-worshippers on the crowded Tower Beach, and offering a further hilarious vintage snapshot of Swinging London, these are 12 cases in short story form of investigations running concurrent to the main B&M series. All but one take place in, above or underneath the endlessly fascinating London streets that constitute their patch. When they do roam further afield, regular readers will be gratified to learn, it is to Count Dracula's Castle in Transylvania they are summoned…

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Each of these stories is a perfectly crafted intrigue that hones in on a different angle of the PCU's investigative expertise. As well as demonstrating the contrasting yet complimentary skills of Bryant and May themselves, it also allows other members of the department to take the spotlight and solve the case – particularly effectively when Operations Director Janice Longbright calls on all her insights to prove the seemingly impossible in 'The Best of Friends'. The Two Daves come into their own in the book's centerpiece, the dazzling double-bluff of 'The Consul's Son', which works in the geography of London's underground rivers into a dazzling portrait of contemporary, hipster Shoreditch and its devious denizens. It's Fowler's endless fascination with the folks and folklore of the Capital, and its many representations on the silver screen – especially in the fertile post-War, pre-Swinging era – that infuses each mystery, as he goes on to explain in his fascinating, contextualising end-notes. A real-life tragedy from cinematic history informs the opening 'The Seventh Reindeer'; and the most hilarious turn comes in the star-studded 'Up The Tower', which resembles a scene from the classic Sixties satire 'Smashing Time' and contains a truly Clifftastic joke. This luxury selection box of Bryant and May intrigue will make your Christmas sparkle

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