Bryant & May Return In A Month




ARTHUR BRYANT: ‘These hippies are selfish and irresponsible. I’ll tell you what made our nation the bastion of patrician morality it is today; the ability to be profoundly miserable. It’s one of our greatest strengths, to be ranked beside shutting the boozers at ten thirty and regarding the waterproof mackintosh as an acceptable item of clothing.’ – From ‘Hall Of Mirrors’

I told you they would be back. The 16th volume featuring my senior detectives, ‘Hall Of Mirrors’, is out in the UK on March 22, while the paperback version of ‘Wild Chamber’ is out on March 8. I’m always seeking to ring the changes in the formula – a little, not too much – and have listened to requests to write the occasional flashback to the past, so this one is, according to Bryant’s unreliable memoirs, set in swinging London. Or at least, part of it is, and part is set in a grand country house called Tavistock Hall.

interimHallofMirrorsThose readers waiting to discover what happened to the body found in the basement of the Peculiar Crimes Unit will have to wait a little longer, because that story will be told in ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’. I had, of course, thought this timeline through very carefully and knew where it needed to be placed.

HOMSketch copyThe interesting thing about writing flashback cases is not being able to use many of the present-day cast, although there are a couple of surprise appearances in this one. I’ve taken a lighter tone than usual, so that the story is closer to that of, say, ‘The Memory Of Blood’. I’ve done this because B&M are young, upbeat and energetic in the book, but also because I’m going to write a pair of novels which will take them to much darker places than usual a bit later on. (I’m writing the first one now).

HOM sketch copy 2Although ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ is more mischievous than usual, comedy still requires a moral viewpoint. Humor and tragedy go together very well in crime novels, although comedy will get you delisted from most award shortlists. However, I have to follow a set of rules, one of which is that the serious parts of my plot must be taken seriously, and the comedy needs to be born of character. When I’m being serious, I’m deadly serious.

It helps that my detectives are facing mortality, as it grants me license to use graveyard humor. I’m very careful to respect victims and honor them over villains.

Even when I’m being funny there is a serious intent underpinning the humor. The straight version of the plot is drafted first, and the humor grows later in the writing process. I never regard the mysteries as ‘cozies’ because they reflect the way we learn to deal with life, even in extreme situations, and you’ll always find a strong underpinning of reality in the books. The misconception I most have to debunk is the idea that I’m Ben Aaronovitch. Who, BTW, is a lovely chap.

So, enjoy ‘Hall of Mirrors’, because after that we’ll be taking a dive into some of London’s darkest histories…





9 comments on “Bryant & May Return In A Month”

  1. Matt says:

    Simply can not wait, had it on order for months.

  2. Mark Davies says:

    The art work does not seem to be as good as previous novels. What happened?

  3. Adam says:

    Great news! Release date timed to perfection with my next holiday….

  4. admin says:

    These are roughs. They’re the same artist. We lost my all-time favourite when the publishers opted for a cleaner typeface.

  5. Kevin says:

    I’m very much looking forward to reading ‘Wild Chamber’, but if that is the cover of the British paperback, I’m afraid I don’t like the change – I like the image, but how is that typeface meant to make it stand out from all the other books in the bookshop? I’ve always liked the (British) Bryant and May covers for standing out, being very representative of the content, and for being aesthetically pleasing in their own right. Something that seems to be less and less common with book covers nowadays. I still treasure my childhood copies of Susan Cooper’s ‘Dark is Rising’ books – five Puffin paperbacks, each one with an exquisite painting by Michael Heslop on the cover. The current editions have covers that look like they were put together from clipart in about 5 minutes. Is it the influence of eReaders? Or don’t people pay any attention to covers any more, so the publishers don’t see any point in spending any time or money on them? Or am I just turning into Arthur?

  6. Debra Matheney says:

    Yipee!!!!. I ordered from Amazon UK. Can’t wait for the American publishers to get it out. And look forward to darker history of London.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Yes, covers are important. They are what we really remember.(v. Kevin above). I have actually had a student come into the library and ask for “that book I was reading last week, you know, with the green cover.” It’s not just the colour, though. Howard Pyles’ “Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” leaps into my memory with full colour paintings inside and on the cover, a thing of beauty.

  8. Wayne Mook says:

    Covers can be fun, I was looking at the new Tripods (John Christopher) books, the covers are quite dull on first inspection, but the more you look the better they seem, not really the best way to grab attention, unlike a number of the old ones that have splendid pictures of the Tripods. Although his The Little People book cover from Avon in the 60’s with it’s Nazi leprechauns on the cover is certainly arresting but in many ways can be off putting.

    The new paperback cover does look a bit dull, and dare I say it, cosy. Sorry.


  9. Helen Martin says:

    (Now the photos are scrunched into narrow vertical strips – except the one at the top.)

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