This is the memoir Chris always wanted to write about what it really means to be a writer. But this hugely entertaining, politely opinionated and inspiring reflection on a literary life took a darker turn after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And yet there is nothing of the misery memoir about this book. Deeply moving, insightful and surprisingly funny, this is a life-affirming account of coming to terms with one’s own mortality.

Running to nineteen novels and two short story collections, Chris’ gloriously entertaining stories recounting the seemingly nostalgic exploits of a pair of octogenarian detectives and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are a tribute to and a subversion of ‘Golden Age’ crime fiction. Bursting with disquieting details and dark humour, the novels boast some of the most accomplished and intricate set-pieces in the whole of the mystery genre.


As Joanne Harris observed in her introduction to the uniform digital editions of Chris’s standalone novels, these books are not easy to categorise, and that’s perhaps what makes them so addictively readable. They possess a mercurial quality that defies mainstream categorisation – when pushed, he once described them as ‘fictions of urban unease’, and they still make the reader shiver with . . . is that anticipation? Or is it fear?


The short story was a literary form Chris relished. And his many, many stories – so often tales of the unexpected in which reality and fantasy are dangerously close – reveal his enduring love of literature and cinema, a keen sense of humour, an eye for period detail and a boundless enthusiasm for anecdotes, eclectic facts, strange occurrences, unsolved mysteries, bizarre customs and macabre crimes! 


From his account of a post-war childhood in a home without books to a career in Britain’s film industry just as it began to go down the pan, and on to looking back on a literary life while contemplating what he knew would be the final chapter in his story, Chris’s three trenchant funny, perceptive and deeply moving memoirs should, as the Daily Mail commented on Paperboy, ‘be prescribed as a pick me up on the NHS.’

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London & The Arts
In 1999 there were 550 cinemas in England. In 1944 there were 4,036, and they could seat a tenth of the population in one sitting. Manchester alone had 122 cinemas. In the 1970s, in a widespread attack of what can only be described as criminal damage, a great many of these elegant art deco buildings were destroyed and replaced with cheapjack office blocks. Now English Heritage is trying to list…
Christopher Fowler sitting at home on a turquoise sofa

The multiple award-winning author of almost fifty novels and short-story collections, Christopher Fowler remains perhaps best known for the celebrated Bryant and May series of detective mysteries. His other novels include Roofworld, Spanky, Hot Water and the upcoming historical novel The Foot on the Crown.

He has also written three acclaimed memoirs, Paperboy (winner of the Green Carnation Prize), Film Freak and Word Monkey, his posthumously published memoir about being a writer and the telling the closing chapter in your own story, plus The Book of Forgotten Authors and Peculiar London, Bryant and May's singular and eccentric guide to the city.

He won The Last Laugh Award and the British Fantasy Award multiple times, as well as the Edge Hill Prize and the inaugural Green Carnation Award. In 2015, he was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association's coveted 'Dagger in the Library' for his body of work.

He lived in London and Barcelona. Diagnosed with cancer just as the UK went into lockdown in 2020, Chris died on 2 March 2023.

Read an interview with Christopher