STARRED REVIEW
December 2014

A murder mystery with a walking corpse

By Christopher Fowler
In this, the 11th of Christopher Fowler’s superb Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries, it’s clearer than ever that the real hero of the series is London herself. If you’ve never visited the city, you could ask for no better education—or pressing invitation—than the one you’ll receive by reading the entire series. Fowler not only tells delightfully lurid tales of both famous and well-hidden landmarks, but also provides clear warnings about neighborhoods you should avoid (after all, these are murder mysteries).
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In this, the 11th of Christopher Fowler’s superb Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries, it’s clearer than ever that the real hero of the series is London herself. If you’ve never visited the city, you could ask for no better education—or pressing invitation—than the one you’ll receive by reading the entire series. Fowler not only tells delightfully lurid tales of both famous and well-hidden landmarks, but also provides clear warnings about neighborhoods you should avoid (after all, these are murder mysteries).

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart finds detectives Arthur Bryant and John May tackling the bizarre case of a reanimated corpse seen rising out of its grave in a forgotten corner of a Bloomsbury public garden. Both high-school punks and high financiers are implicated, along with morticians, necromancers and medical-school dropouts.

Apart from the elusive murderer(s?), the villain of the piece is the bureaucratic nightmare of the London Constabulary, personified by a barely-human being with the implausible name of Orion Banks, who . . . but no, I shall not give that away.

Bryant embodies all the peculiarity of Fowler’s narrative gifts. There is great goodness and camaraderie at the heart of the story. It’s so much bleeding fun.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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