Christopher Fowler

The Bleeding Heart

"Long may these old boys reign to solve more cases of the bizarre and downright bonkers!"


Late one evening a couple of teenagers, Romain and Shirone are on a ‘date’. They climb over the railings of St George’s Gardens to smoke a joint and watch the stars above London. During this nocturnal activity the two youngsters hear a cracking of wood and a man emerges, zombie-like from his own grave. Running from this scene that looks like something from a Hammer horror film, Romain goes back to have another look. It is this second viewing that seals his fate.

Bryant and May are called out as a tale of resurrection is something the PCU excels at investigating. Little do they realise that this case will involve fraud, suicide and the desecration of two more graves before they finally see the light. And that doesn’t include Bryant dealing with the disappearance of the ravens at the Tower of London. In locating the birds comes in to contact with the sinister Mr Merry, but the encounter disturbs him more than he realises and Bryant for the first time begins to contemplate his own mortality.

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Even though set in present London, there is always a wonderful, pungent aroma of the Golden classic age when reading a Bryant and May. Yes, the PCU does use modern technology to help with their current case and Bryant even has a mobile phone (if he remembers to switch it on or even charge it up!), but there is always a dash of nostalgia for policing of a bygone era. Fowler’s mysteries are always tinged with the macabre but always have their conclusions firmly planted in reality so that no solution is going to be explained by anything unworldly. The other marvellous part of Fowler’s books is his humour. Throughout his novel Fowler brings a little levity to lighten the dark proceedings. I loved the arrival of regular Maggie Armitage, a white witch of Bryant’s acquaintance who uses every ‘trick in the book’ to counteract his negativity and ‘she also tried regressive hypnosis to try and find out what he had done with her deep-fat fryer, which he had borrowed and never returned’. You have to laugh. ‘The Bleeding Heart’ is a great case for the two old gents and even if you haven’t yet been introduced to the suave May and cantankerous Bryant, then don’t despair as Fowler makes it easy for any newcomer to understand the dynamics within the group. Fowler has delivered another charming romp with our favourite elderly detectives and their bizarre collection of ‘merry men’ that will keep you enthralled till the solving of the case. Long may these old boys reign to solve more cases of the bizarre and downright bonkers!

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