The Fate Of Bryant & May

Bryant and May, Reading & Writing

It’s crunch time. The Bryant & May series has been hanging in the balance for some months now. The problem is simple; although the books do nicely they’re not blockbusters, and in credit-crunch times everyone is looking for Big Books. Bryant & May are ‘genre’, because mystery is genre, while crime is mainstream. I don’t write police procedurals. Bryant & May are are intended to represent something unique – Golden Age detectives in the 21st century. But in the next few days I’ll know whether the series is going to continue. Bear in mind that continuing Bryant & May wouldn’t affect my current project, which is a big thriller.

I hope I’ll be able to post the decision on this site early next week. You’ll know then whether it’s time to welcome the old gits in a new adventure, or if it’s time to wave them farewell.

45 comments on “The Fate Of Bryant & May”

  1. Cid says:

    I would love them to continue, but I suppose nothing can last forever, so go with your gut (unless it’s a case of “they’ll continue if that massive deal comes through for them” obviously).

    Please don’t stop setting whatever you do in London though. Almost as much as B&M I love your writing about our city, the history you unearth and the fact that I can hop on the tube and go to many of the places you describe so well in the books.

    I suppose you could say that old geezers come and go, but the city carries on regardless. Do still want more B&M though!

  2. I for one would really miss the old codgers. They are something rather different than what I normally read and as such are always a different breath of fresh air.

  3. Dylan Lancaster says:

    I hope they have one more adventure in them, if only so you can write them a good send-off. I hope events turn out well for you.

  4. Vickie Farrar says:

    Too bad. And how many “Big Books” can there really be? It seems like publishers are searching for that one gold nugget in the river…and missing all the rest of the beauty/joy/fun that is flowing by. Fingers crossed that you will be able to keep ALL your projects flowing…including Arthur, John and the rest of the Peculiars.

  5. Steve says:

    *Fingers crossed*

  6. chasing bawa says:

    I love Bryant & May! I really hope you get to continue their adventures which are unique and unlike many of the mainstream novels which are just copies of each other. Plus I get to learn a lot about London.

  7. M@ says:

    I’d echo Cid’s comments above. One of the (many) special things about B&M is the sense of location. Going past Mornington Crescent on the bus has never been the same since I read B&M. And the little details (like having a witch living on the site of Mother Red Cap’s, or the cameo from a young Stanley Green in, I think, the first book) are moments of magic for those who love London’s history.

  8. Andy says:

    I would like them to continue, let them at least come to a natural conclusion.

  9. keith Page says:

    Here’s hoping. I was really sorry to read the final page of ‘Off the Rails’

  10. Diogenes says:

    I really hope B & M continue. To have a reliably excellent and interesting book to look forward to is one of the greatest pleasures in life.

  11. Stephen Groves says:


    Rap in the style of Eminem

    WORD UP!


  12. It’s something that annoys me immensely: publishers who stop publishing something, not because it doesn’t sell (that would be logical and normal), but because it doesn’t make enough money (because, of course, they know they’ll replace it with something that will make more! Sure they do…)

  13. Vickie Farrar says:

    And it seems some publishers cannot tell the difference between someone who tells a story and a STORYTELLER… Christopher Fowler most definitely being the latter.

  14. Paul Hasbrouck says:

    I do hope that B&M continue their adventures in a your wonderful city of London. Also that you for adding John Dickson Carr to your list of Forgotten Authors. A true master of detection.

  15. Helen Martin says:

    They can’t be left unfinished. Even if it means writing a short one to include in a collection of other things. We can hope strongly for an intelligent publisher (see above).

  16. Alan Morgan says:

    Clearly we all hope for the best, but let’s not lose heart. It cannot be all now or nothing. If the worst happens then surely that does not mean on the basis of A. Publisher the PCU are put to sleep? The odd short story, a later collection, a different publisher a year or three down the line. Crivens, you’re not so old for us to fear a likely near demise. Are B&M not a pair to come back to in the years to come? Or is that as an admirable vehicle for London-fact without them doing the same elsewhere will only bear unfair comparison?

    Like Tony, take heart! There’s still Earl Grey and Jaffa Cakes. Admittedly that would be a less likely pair.

  17. old West Londoner says:

    I live in hope. I always thought they would make a good TV show but “New Tricks” is a little close in some ways. There must be plenty of scope to do earlier tales in flashback as in the first novel. It would be fun to see them in the 50s, 60s, & 70s. Then they could go on forever. Just a bit of wishful thinking.
    Thank you for the pleasure anyway Mr Fowler.

    P.S. The restaurant you namechecked in The Water Room is one of my customers & they remember you fondly.

  18. Sam Tomaino says:

    Well, I also hope Bryant & May continue! They have launched them in trade paperbacks here in the US. I hope that helps sales!

  19. athena says:

    I hope they continue, too! I am actually heading over to a Borders in NYC right now to buy The Victoria Vanishes. I’ve gotten both my bosses and my sister hooked on them, too.

  20. Martin Kelly says:

    Like every other commenter here, I’m hoping your publisher sees sense and continues to commission the old codgers. I’ve had a glorious Summer of entertainment reading the first seven B&M novels. And I’m bracing myself for “Off the Rails”. They exactly fit the sort of thing I like – good old fashioned “Golden Age” puzzlers combined with wit and characterization plus a spicy undertone of the weird. Coming from a background of John Dickson Carr locked room mysteries, H. P. Lovecraft and the Call of Cthulhu RPG, the B&M stories score a bullseye with me and my circle of friends.

    Even if your publishers don’t commission more, I urge you to keep them alive – perhaps with serialized chapters now and again here on the blog.

  21. Sophie Cooper says:

    I stumbled on your Bryant & May series several months ago at my local library and fell in love with the two senior detectives. Their dry sense of humor made me laugh out loud which I’ve not done before. I do hope you continue the Bryant & May series. You are a remarkably clever author. Best wishes.

  22. Christine says:

    I would really miss B&M, but whatever you write, I want to read. I love the way you utilize London in your stories and that could certainly work in a different style. I love your website as well. Really fabulous!

  23. Helen Martin says:

    John Dickson Carr wrote one called The Devil in Black Velvet which I seem to have lost. It was a time travel and really good. I never felt the same about cracked eggs afterward.

  24. Susan Tate says:

    I live in a small town between San Antonio and Austin in Texas, USA. I have no idea where the streets are,etc that you describe in your books, but I do know how much joy and pleasure they give me. I have enjoyed all of the B&M books, but it would be nice to know about some of their earlier exploits when they were younger. I think the potential for these 2 characters is unlimited. Why hasn’t the BBC made a series out of them?

    Thank you for your excellent writing.

  25. Judy Q says:

    One day a few years ago I just happened upon one of the Peculair Crimes Unit stories.I have been reading them and looking foreward to them since that day. I love the characters and I love the history that embraces them as they slueth though the mundane to find the exciting. It really would be a shame to see their travels through lore and noncomliance with bureaucracy come to an end.
    I’m a Canadian and I love these books! 🙂

  26. Fiona says:

    I’d love to see more of the old gits and can’t help thinking they have unfinished business; don’t they have an unsolved crime from years ago? What really happened to Bryant’s wife, and May’s wife for that matter? Yes to me it’s like the golden age of crime writing, old fashioned morals and pathos mixed in with modern and old London, mythology etc. Its in a genre of its own.

  27. Kate B says:

    What can I say about the old gits…thoroughly enjoy reading about them and would love it if they continued…They are also the only series of books that I buy immediately they appear in hard back.

  28. Fiona says:

    Same here Katie B.

  29. Tony B says:

    I’ve only just started reading the books (Full Dark House and now on The Water Room) and will be distraught if they don’t continue, even though I’ve got the existing ones to look forward to. I can’t understand why Bryant & May haven’t transferred to the TV yet, but live in hope. Perhaps they’re just too good…Good luck regardless

  30. Susan says:

    I will be quite sad if Bryant and May are no more. I generally read British crime authors for the superior vocabulary, sharp wit and intellectual stimulation that are often lacking over here in the American publishing scene. Novels in the US are sinking into what I call the ‘LCD’ format – where writing is meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator audience. I am sick to death of stud-muffin heros battling their drug habits/identity crises/ex-wives/you-name-it to pull off yet another bit of rather banal sleuthing. Bryant and May are a delightful mixture of old and new, traditional and off-the-wall, structure and havoc. They are written for the thinking person, which may be somewhat of a handicap there days. In any case, I’ve become rather fond of the old dears (sorry, Arthur) and would hate to see them go without at least a proper send off. PS – I’ve recommend the series to a number of people and quite a few have become fans as well. Keeping fingers crossed.

  31. Kimberli says:

    As a bookseller/shop owner I stock interesting, unique mysteries that most customers never see in big box stores. B&M are right there on the shelf along with my other favorite gems. I’m doing my best in our little shop to hand-sell Bryant and May, introducing the series to new readers whenever possible. But big stores…they don’t hand-sell much anymore, so books like yours fall by the wayside. Never underestimate the power of the hand-sell in retail. It’s a powerful thing to help customers find a gem of a book to read. While I’ll be sorry to see them “retire” from active duty…I’ll always stock Bryant and May as long as they’re printed.

  32. Elinor Vickers says:

    PLEASE keep writing Bryant and May! I absolutely love them and read them over and over. Bryant is one of my favourite literary characters of all time.

  33. Susie says:

    Just finished my first Bryant and May (The victoria Vanishes) at 3am this morning and am now online to buy the rest – I am hooked!

    I especially loved the Bloomsbury setting as I lived on Grays Inn Road for many years, and it brought back many memories – in fact, makes me want to move straight back there! (when I win the lottery).

    Christopher – you are a brilliant author, using suspense and history in an addictive blend and I really hope you can persuade the publishers to allow a few more Bryant and Mays – lots of life left in them yet!

  34. JJ says:

    Having found Bryant and May just a couple of weeks ago, and now stringing out finishing Off the Rails because I don’t want it to end as it is the last for me to read, I really, really, really, really hope there are more! The whole team are fab and I would really like to get to know them better. I also love the way London is an ever-present character in the books. More please!

  35. Jonathan Blaylock says:

    I just finished off the rails today and i would love to see the series continue, although, i, as everyone else, knows that series can’t always continue. But even if it does end with Off the rails, it has been, by far, the most enjoyable series of books i have ever read. i cant wait for the time when i can cross the ocean to visit london and see all the things ive read about over the past few years

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Just finished Bryant and May Off the Rails. Hope that it is not the last one as I am rather fond of the old codgers. Great Writing and arcane facts about the London Underground.
    Too bad that “big books” are the sellers. Bryant and May are the true big books.
    Thank you for so much entertainment.

  37. Kay & Bill says:

    We’ve only recently discovered Bryant & May and very, very much hope that the series will be continued as they are so much fun and hugely entertaining. We haven’t enjoyed anything so much since Ian Rankin’s DI Rebus retired. Please, please keep the old fellows going, there must be plenty of life left in the old dogs yet!

  38. shan says:

    I absolutely adore Bryant & May and have read them from the beginning. I will be very sad if you are not able to continue the series. I just finished Off the Rails and it’s the best yet. Please do not retire them so soon. If you must, I hope they go out with a bang in a great final story.

  39. Sheryl Massaro says:

    No, I cannot fathom no more Bryant & May. I feel them continuing, and dying, and the “family” members of the PCU continuing. Janice is just really coming into her own. Rosa (I know, not a member)has yet to be surprised into smiling. Meera has yet to take Colin barn dancing. Will April return to us? Did Land survive the fall? We’re all family now.

  40. Stacey says:

    The characters are so alive that we readers forget they’re imaginary. It cracks me up when people say they’re “afraid that Bryant and/or May is going to die because they’re so old and fragile”. Are people surprised to find that the the Peculiar Crimes Unit doesn’t exist? Or is it just difficult to find their most recent address because they keep blowing up their headquarters building? Viva la PCU and best of luck to you Mr. Fowler!

  41. admin says:

    What do you mean, they’re imaginary? Arthur Bryant will be furious when I break the news to him!

  42. I.A.M. says:

    I echo Admin’s feeling! Maggie Armitage exists, and so do Arthur and Mr. May!

    …Holmes existed to, but that’s matter for another web-site, probably.

  43. Nicola says:

    I love these books, found them by accident on – if you enjoy writing about the old codgers then keep on doing it, they’re bringing pleasure to your readers

  44. Richaard Turk says:

    Each year as it comes out I buy the latest B&M and then read it over the Christmas holiday.(By the way really glad you have finished the next and goood luck with the TV ,though all fans will have a view what it should be like) .bUT whilst reading “Bryant and May Off the Rails”I came across what is I am afaid is an error, the reference to the Lutine Bell on page 232says it is in Lloyds Bank in the City.Whereas it is in The Lloyds of London Building .the insurance trading exchange.I’m not one of these nerds who likes to catch people out but I was just astonished with your amazing London Knowledge that you would have said this. Just a mistake of tiedness and your publishers did not pick it up.

  45. admin says:

    Sorry about that Richard, someone should have picked it up. I got the Lloyds part right, though.

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