Where Are Arthur And John?

Bryant and May

Keeping track of various members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit has always been a bit of a puzzler for readers, but I hope this forms a definitive appearance list.

Janice Longbright, Colin Bimsley and Ian Hargreave, the policeman Janice used to date, all appear in my very first novel ‘Roofworld’.

Bryant and May make their first appearance solving a very peculiar series of supernatural crimes in ‘Rune’.

Raymond Land was still a police doctor when he turned up in ‘Red Bride’. Hargreave is also in there, too. (It’s interesting to note that short stories were so popular during the late 1980s that the back of this book says ‘From the author of ‘City Jitters’ – a slender volume of tales which was still selling.)

Most of the early team are assembled by the time we get to ‘Darkest Day’, the supernatural-driven forerunner of ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’.

All of the next three novels were stand-alone without PCU players until we come to ‘Soho Black’, in which a sub-plot features Bryant and May. By now the novels have lost their supernatural tinge and are being played straight.

Arthur Bryant’s final pre-canon appearance comes in ‘Plastic’, which to this day remains without a publisher. Later this year I plan to publish it online if I can figure out the best way to do it.

There are two Bryant & May short stories in ‘Red Gloves’, with more to come in future collections.

‘The Soho Devil’ – the first Bryant & May graphic novel, is finished, and is without a publisher at the moment. Perhaps if I put them in tights and made them fly, I’d get them into comic shops.

I’m just putting the finishing touches to the tenth and possibly final Bryant & May novel at the moment – I say this because in these uncertain times, who knows what will happen to long-running series?

14 comments on “Where Are Arthur And John?”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Thank you, Chris.
    I’ve read a few of these older novels/stories, but I have to find or buy them from Amazon/USA or from online used-book sites that charge US postage rates.(Paying international postage is a budget stresser. An Acceptable copy at $3.00, which costs an additional triple fee in postage takes the fun out buying a book.)I notice some of your earlier B & M books are becoming available here, and in the UK, as ebooks; perhaps, you might get your on-hold-in-the-out-box pieces into that medium, if you’d make money doing so.) I think B & M would make a great TV series, with the right actors, but I suggest you avoid the temptation of changing them into dark-nightSwedes just to sell.(That wave,hopefully, has creasted and is passing by. Although the Martin Beck series was great reading.)Finally, may I add: I have just bought a non-fiction book titled The Gothic Imagination, Conversations on Fantasy, HORROR (my caps) and Science Fiction in the Media. (It fits in well with your recent posts on Horror)I’ve read into chapter one, which kicks off with H.P.Lovecraft,and the book looks to be a terrific read. Here’s what’s on the back cover: “…interviews and conversations with promunent novelists, filmmakers, artists, and film and television directors and actors as they trace the Gothic mode across three centuries.” It is being offered on Amazon/UK, so is available to you, without the international postage. No more talk, please, about the “last B & M novel” can’t you do what Dickens did: sell their next adventures by subscription. I drive down to the port of Alexandria, VA to buy a copy off the boat.

  2. J. Folgard says:

    Nice post -reading about ‘Roofworld’ and ‘Rune’ evokes such wonderful memories! Those two, along with ‘Spanky’, were my first exposure to your work. Also, this Keith Page piece is lovely, and being a comic-book nerd I’m still crossing fingers for ‘the Soho Devil’ to find a home, with their favorite clothes, and soon! Cheers-

  3. Lostintown says:

    Didn’t Arthur Bryant turn up in Disturbia as part of the Insomniacs Club?

    Just a thought.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Lostintown, it would make sense if he did since the Insomniacs’ Club comes up in On the Loose and again in Memory of Blood.

  5. John says:

    I don’t know . . . a graphic novel? I’ve built up a very nice picture of Bryant & May (along with all the others) in my own mind based on what I’ve read in the books. I’d hate to have that shattered by someone’s telling me “sorry, buddy, this is what they look like.” Whether or not I agreed (and if the picture above is anything to go by, I wouldn’t), I’d never be able to get the comic book picture out of my mind. The same reason I rarely enjoy movies or TV series made from my favorite books. I guess I’d give Soho Devil a pass and stick to the books and stories without pix.

  6. matt says:

    Hi Chris, Many thanks for the info. Now I just had a quick look on Amazon and found a Kindle book, part of the shortcuts series. B&M mystery tour. Is this a short story found in any of your collections or a new story?

    I do not own a Kindle and my computer is too old to add the ‘App’ to download it. So is it available as a proper book I would love to be able to buy it.

    Good luck with ‘Plastic’ sounds interesting. I would buy a copy. Slightly off subject, Hell Train is already on amazon used for a couple of quid so I am going to give it a go.

    Long Live B&M, I liked the supernatural edge to the early stories by the way.

  7. Adam says:

    Good news that plastic will see the light of day this year!

  8. Alison says:

    I confess that it’s a long long time since I read ‘Roofworld’ and ‘Rune’, but I distinctly recall Bryant & May in ‘Darkest Day’. That lovely conversation about the Ford Zephyr (I think) at the end of the novel set the pattern for the future, had I but known.

  9. Peter Lee says:

    Matt – “Bryant & May’s Mystery Tour” is in “Red Gloves”. When I read it in there I remembered Chris had previously posted it on here too.

  10. Steve says:


    Not if WE have anything to say about it!

    Um…..bloggers, DO we have anything to say about it?

  11. Helen Martin says:

    Steve, I thought we could let that mention go by on the grounds that Chris knows we won’t let it happen. See, we do have something to say about it.
    Mind you, seating Chris in that white and chrome space with a computer in front of him and holding a gun to his head would not guarantee a brilliant Bryant and May.

  12. Ian Payn says:

    With regards to long-running series being in peril these days, I note that both Bill James and Simon Brett have moved their Harpur and Iles and Fethering Mysteries respectively to Severn House, a step down for both (although the latest of each series are actually nicer books physically). I imagine falling sales are to blame (although I can’t imagine James ever sold particularly well as his books were difficult to get hold of). Brett has started another series with a more mainstream publisher, but it’s pretty poor, in my opinion, similar to when he dropped Charles Paris (wonderful) for the dire Mrs. Pargeter. Tim Heald has revived his Bognor series at Severn House, as well, although whether this was worth the effort I don’t know. I always found there was something desultory about that series, a reflection, perhaps, of the attitude of the leading character.

  13. Kieran Cowan says:

    One question I can ask, if it’s not personal, is how should we best vote for Bryant and May with our dollars, pounds, dinars, etc.? Is it better to buy via Amazon or a bookshop, physical or kindle, hardcover or soft, and as an American-based Canadian, is it better, from a keeping the series ticking along for as long as you still want it to, to buy from the UK, the US or Canada? Does pre-ordering help with books in the same way we’re told it does with comics? This is genuine curiousity on my part. We’re all looking forward I’m sure to the next in the series, but are we supporting the series in the optimal way? (Short of filling a room with copies that is.)

  14. Oldlought says:

    “Possibly Final B & M”???

    Nay, Nay and thrice NAY!! This would rank equal to the collapse of the Euro and the next book shop closure as the most preventable disasters of 2012!

    Questions should be raised in the House unless an immediate retraction is issued by CF!!

    LONG LIVE B & M!!

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