Synopses & Reviews
They are detection's oddest couple: two cranky detectives whose professional partnership dates back half a century. Now Arthur Bryant and John May return in a case of multiple murder that twists through a subterranean course of the secrets, lies, and extreme passions that drive even ordinary men and women to the most shocking crimes...
They are living legends with a reputation for solving even the trickiest cases using unorthodox, unconventional, and often completely unauthorized methods. But the Peculiar Crimes Unit headed by Detectives John May and Arthur Bryant is one mistake away from being shut down for good. And when the elderly sister of Bryant's friend is found dead in the basement of her decrepit house in Kentish Town, they find themselves on the verge of making exactly that mistake.
According to the coroner, Ruth Singh's heart simply stopped beating. But why was a woman who rarely left the house fully dressed for an outing? And why was there river water in her throat? Convinced that the old lady didn't die a natural death, the detectives delve into a murky case with no apparent motive, no forensics, and no clues. And they've barely launched their investigation when death claims another victim. Suddenly they discover some very unnatural behavior surrounding Ruth Singh's death by "natural" causes from shady real estate developers and racist threats to two troubled marriages, from a dodgy academician working London's notorious "grey economy" to a network of antiquities collectors obsessed with Egyptian mythology.
And running beneath it all are the sweeping tentacles of London's vast and forgotten underground river system. As the rains pour down and the water rises, Bryant and May must rely on instinct, experience, and their own very peculiar methods to stem a tide of evil that threatens to drown them all.
"Traditional mystery buffs with a taste for the offbeat will relish British author Fowler's wonderful second contemporary whodunit....Fowler should win a whole new set of readers with these fair-play puzzlers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The real thrill here is the delightful duo in the starring roles, two fresh and unusual characters who manage to breathe new life into an established genre in which it's getting harder and harder to find anything genuinely fresh." Booklist
"Fowler's tale humorous, engaging, at times incoherent inundates readers with historical details, myths, subplots, and maps and then tacks on a denouement that seems to belong to a separate novel." Kirkus Reviews
"The plot isn't designed to make sense but to draw us into an imaginative funhouse of a world where sage minds go to expand their vistas and sharpen their wits." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May mystery series is only two volumes deep...yet already it is finding itself on the A-List of many readers, including this one. There are a lot of adjectives one could apply to it: clever is one, charming is another, riveting a third." BookReporter.com
Cranky yet brilliant British detectives Arthur Bryant and John May must pool their resources to track down a murderer with an extraordinary motive and uncover the shocking secrets hidden in London's very deep underground.
About the Author
Christopher Fowler is the acclaimed author of twelve previous novels, including the first Bryant & May novel, Full Dark House. He lives in London, where he is at work on his third novel featuring Arthur Bryant and John May.