Bryant & May On Haitus

Bryant and May

There may be a disruption in your normal service; I’ve suddenly developed severe PVD which has effectively blinded me in one eye. I’m hoping the effects are temporary because it’s a total drag on my writing speed.

It seems that whatever else I wrote, I would always come back to my elderly detectives Bryant & May. They were never away for long, cropping up in ‘Rune’ and in ‘Soho Black’ and elsewhere (I can’t honestly remember which books they’re in). I now realise that I was subconsciously test-driving them for something bigger, which turned out to be a series that now looks like running to twenty volumes. In that time we’ve burned through four or five cover artists, many type styles and formats, and there was Keith Page’s delightful graphic novel, ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’…46

I kept things fresh by throwing all sorts of changes at them and will continue to do so, but every couple of novels I have to take on a completely different project or I’d get locked-in syndrome. All the chopping and changing makes me a hard author to pin down. Publishers never know what to expect next. Working on ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors taught me that the writers who outlast the pack are the ones who stick to one label, so that readers can figure out who they are.

Fame is fleeting. I was at the BBC yesterday morning doing a radio show, and on the way in there was an Indian demonstration against misrepresentation on the BBC, all banners and megaphones and chants, and a huge crowd of young fans screaming for the arrival of a boy band. When I emerged from the studio an hour later both groups had gone, the street was empty and it was as if they were never there.

After a while you know it will happen to your books. And that’s okay; they’re not literary works for the ages, but passing entertainments from the mind of one person living in a city on the banks of the Thames.

Sadly, gaining longevity today takes a leap into another media, but television production moves with agonising decrepitude. So many spec B&M scripts have passed under the bridge, most of them poor or simply timid, that my film agent has suggested I write a pilot. I’m already overworked and as my eyes are suffering at the moment (I have to take an enforced break in a couple of weeks) I can’t do any more than I’m already doing. To lift Bryant & May into another media would require a script that reflects the freewheeling lunacy of the characters.

But to me the printed word comes first and most importantly in the storytelling ranks. I’ve always had eye problems, and had just started writing 2018’s ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’ when they recurred. I was raring to go, my head fairly bursting with ideas. Now, frustratingly, I’ll have to wait for at least a while. But I’m ahead of the game; next year’s novels are delivered and I’ve started a new collection of Bryant & May missing cases called; ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’. Sometimes a break is what’s needed to keep things fresh.

B&M Silhouette



20 comments on “Bryant & May On Haitus”

  1. Jo W says:

    Oh dear,Chris,please look after yourself. I’m sure that your loyal readers will be able to wait awhile for your superlative creations. Take it easy and enjoy your break later this month. Come back to us refreshed. 🙂

  2. Allan Lloyd says:


    I’m sure that you are aware of this, but PVD can cause the retina to tear, as I know from personal experience. Be aware of dots of light in your eye or of any black marks affecting your vision and if you see any get to a specialist immediately. I didn’t get mine treated soon enough and had to have five operations attempting to reattach the retina. I now have permanent damage in one eye.

    Not meaning to be alarmist, PVD is a perfectly natural occurrence and happens to most of us with age, mostly with no side effects, but I don’t think there is much public awareness of retinal damage and I just want to increase people’s knowledge of it. The sooner it is treated the better the results.

    I hope you soon feel better and get back to writing.


  3. Peter Tromans says:


    I’d like to add my support to Allam Lloyd’s comments. Vitreous detachment from the retina is a common occurrence, especially for those of us with significant myopia. Fortunately, it usually passes without consequence, but while it’s taking place there is a risk of retinal detachment, worst of all a hole in the macula, the sensitive bit at the centre of the retina vital for anything like reading. I have the most over-qualified, well-equipped optician in Europe (located in NW11). And he takes great interest in all the peculiarities of my eyes. Last visit he noticed my PVD. His scans showed that at one point in the middle of the macula, the vitreous was still attached and pulling on the retina. He referred me to a vitreo-retinal surgeon. By the time of my appointment, the vitreous had separated without significant damage to the macula. On the surgeon’s scans, a slight bump remained. In the meantime, I’d had a few c-shaped visual flashes, additional floaters and a small number of tiny dots. Apart from the odd extra floater, everything is now fine.

    If you aren’t already in contact with a VR surgeon, get a referral. The things to look out for are floaters that look like a storm of black snow, that means something is happening and you should act quickly. The appearance of a dark curtain means the retina is detaching and you need immediate medical intervention. The first link below is a simulation of these effects.

    Please forgive me for such a long comment.

  4. Davem says:

    All the best Chris. Make sure you take the break that you need.

    Out of interest, any chance that Keith Page may do another graphic novel? It’s a format that I really enjoy and your style seems to fit it very well.

  5. Stephen Morris says:

    Hi Chris,hope you’re better soon.

  6. admin says:

    A big shout-out today for Moorfields, the eye hospital where I went as a boy, still going strong and give magnificent care. So, PVD damage yes, retinal tear we’ll see over the next month, which could be a problem as I’ll be in Cuba!

    I’d love to work with Keith again but the last one didn’t sell – different markets.

  7. Martin Tolley says:

    Just echoing previous sentiments – look after yourself Mr F.

  8. Brooke says:

    Brave you! Take good care.

    The bottom illustration is very good–little details like Arthur’s shabby coat.

  9. SimonB says:

    Loss of vision scares me more than any other potential health issue, so glad this is being looked after. Moorfields did a great job for my grandmother so also glad they are still going strong.

  10. Brooke says:

    Reading “Plastic.” Sitting in Starbucks and attracting attention by laughing and whooping aloud.

  11. Ian Luck says:

    I hope that you manage to get your PVD under control. Moorfields is a great hospital, and they helped my brother a great deal with his vision loss. I wish you all the best. Get well soon.

  12. Steveb says:

    Hi Chris
    Just delurking to add to the good wishes and say please do take care.

  13. jeanette says:

    Hi Chris

    Sending best wishes to you. Sounds like it will be talking books for you for the next few weeks. Don’t worry we will be here waiting for your next releases, and news of new books. I am a bit behind with Bryant and May, as I have held off buying the last one as I have requested it for a Christmas present as I did last year.. It is tough requesting a Bryant and May book for Christmas day when all you want to do is dive straight into it, but have to get the Christmas dinner on instead.

  14. Roger says:

    I’m sorry about your eye problems – even if you can’t read that I’m sorry!

    What’s a haitu – a poem with no syllables?

  15. Rachel Green says:

    Get well soon, sir.

  16. Matt says:

    I hope you get well soon.

    On a purely selfish note, Cant you get one of those dictaphone things and have an audio typist do the heavy lifting for you. I can’t be doing without my B&M fix.

    I am looking forward to the forthcoming books and hope you manage to make as good a recovery as is possible.

  17. Linda ayres says:

    Sorry to hear news. Hope you heal soon.eyes are precious take good care of yourself. B &M are worth waiting for

  18. Helen Martin says:

    Agree with all the preceding. I had a detached retina in 2004: a black half circle appeared one afternoon but the doctors were able to get me in to a surgeon the next morning. I was able to play silly bubble games with the gas bubble for quite some time before it finally disappeared. There was a tiny misalignment which has complicated my glasses, but otherwise nothing. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  19. Helen Martin says:

    I think the word at the top is “hiatus” and the auto correct didn’t like the I coming before the A – like the Hiaason man who writes those weird books.

  20. Ed says:

    Please get well and come back both renewed and reenergized

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