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Full Dark Houseby Christopher Fowler
Synopses & Reviews
"What an enticing and fun new series! Fowler's complex mystery is quirky and dark and immensely enjoyable. The eccentric and brilliant Arthur Bryant and his partner, the naive, young John May, make a wonderful Holmes and Watson detective duo. I, for one, cannot wait for the next installment." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com
Edgy, suspenseful, and darkly comic, here is the first novel in a riveting new mystery series starring two cranky but brilliant old detectives whose lifelong friendship was forged solving crimes for the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit. In Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler tells the story of both their first and last case — and how along the way the unlikely pair of crime fighters changed the face of detection.
A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of eighty-year-old detective Arthur Bryant. For his partner John May, it means the end of a partnership that lasted over half-a-century and an eerie echo back to the Blitz of World War II when they first met. Desperately searching for clues to the killer's identity, May finds his old friend's notes of their very first case and becomes convinced that the past has returned...with a killing vengeance.
It begins when a dancer in a risque new production of Orpheus in Hell is found without her feet. Suddenly, the young detectives are plunged in a bizarre gothic mystery that will push them to their limits — and beyond. For in a city shaken by war, a faceless killer is stalking London's theaters, creating his own kind of sinister drama. And it will take Arthur Bryant's unorthodox techniques and John May's dogged police work to catch a criminal whose ability to escape detection seems almost supernatural — a murderer who even decades later seems to have claimed the life of one of them...and is ready to claim the other.
Filled with startling twists, unforgettable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing, Full Dark House is a witty, heartbreaking, and all-too-human thriller about the hunt for an inhuman killer.
"It's no surprise to find plenty of gothic touches in British author Fowler's debut mystery, the first in a series, given the renown of his horror fiction (Rune, etc.). When 80-year-old police detective Arthur Bryant gets blown up in an explosion at the North London Peculiar Crimes Unit headquarters, his longtime partner, John May, investigates his death. After some long, lecturing dialogue and an early chapter told from the viewpoint of a character who turns out to be of no consequence, the author reaches the core of his story — a flashback to the duo's first case during the London Blitz. In late 1940, the Palace Theatre is staging a production of Orpheus in the Underworld when the body of a dancer is found, sans feet. From this point forward, the intrigues of the theater murders, which decimate the cast, create considerable drama. The potency of Greek myth, conjured up by the opera being staged, is skillfully played out in the detectives' theories about the killer. The dynamic between May and Bryant makes for compelling reading, while the hubris of a police underling, Sidney Biddle, provides additional tension. Both past and present plots reach satisfying resolutions. Now that Fowler has set the stage, no doubt his second Bryant and May mystery will get off to a better start. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (June 1)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A first class thriller, but don't expect any sleep." Sunday Telegraph (London)
"The writing is as ever fluid and pacey, the characterization deft and the plot fresh and ingenious." Independent on Sunday (U.K.)
"Atmospheric, hugely beguiling and as filled with tricks and sleights of hand as a magician's sleeve...it is English gothic at its eccentric best; a combination of Ealing comedy and grand opera: witty, charismatic, occasionally touching and with a genuine power to thrill." Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
"An absolutely riveting account of London during the Blitz." Booklist
"One never knows what to expect....Full Dark House is an ambitious and challenging beginning to what will hopefully be a long-running series." BookReporter.com
"[T]his darkly atmospheric first mystery introduces two most unusual detectives and nicely sets the...plot against the dramatic backdrop of a city devastated by war." Library Journal
"Bryant and May's enduring partnership combines newfangled forensic science with old-fashioned occultism, imagination with derring-do, and a sense of mission with the devastating effects of chaos." Kirkus Reviews
This first novel in a riveting new mystery series introduces two cranky but brilliant old detectives whose lifelong friendship was forged solving crimes for the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Arthur Bryant and John May are London's oldest detectives. When a bomb claims eighty-year-old 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 solution lies in revisiting their first case together. It was in London, during the Blitz, and it all began when a dancer in a steamy new production was found without her feet...
Dark drama and black comedy combine in this deliciously sinister crime novel featuring two cranky but brilliant sleuths that readers won't soon forget.
About the Author
Christopher Fowler is the acclaimed author of eleven novels. He lives in London, where he is at work on the next Bryant & May mystery, The Water Room, which Bantam will publish in 2005.
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