The Next Bryant & May Novel Is Finished

Christopher Fowler
The sun was starting to set here in Barcelona - it will set almost an hour earlier by the end of this month, but for now it's still 27C outside, even though some Spaniards have decided it's autumn and are wearing black, maroon and grey puffa-jackets. I put the wine in the fridge (Spanish wines are the world's best kept secret. I love Jean Leon). I cooked myself a dinner of salmon and salad laced with fresh Sicilian lemons, the kind you can make a salad out of (use only the thick pith, shave it like ceviche, add olive oil and garlic). And then I went out onto the balcony to put one final sentence on the end of the book. Bryant and May will return. I can't tell you how satisfying that is. But how many more times will I do it? I admire Ian Rankin, Ann Cleves and Lee Child; they know they've created memorable characters readers will be drawn back to again and again. Reacher, Stanhope and Rebus are adaptable, filmic creations. Bryant & May, not so much. Plus, my sales are a thousand leagues behind those dudes. We all know and like each other; it's just that I crick my neck looking up to them. Yet I plod on. Because. The simple joy of writing these adventures (and that's what they are in the most old-fashioned sense) keeps me going. In 'Oranges & Lemons' they're dealing with two new temporary members of staff, a clever murderer, assorted academics and idiots, a new cat, impossible deaths - oh, and May is undergoing a life-threatening operation to remove the bullet in his chest. So there's been a lot for me to keep track of. This is the 19th Bryant & May book, and will arrive next June, after the 2019 double whammy of 'The Lonely Hour' and 'England's Finest', the latter out next month. At some point I do ask myself how long I can keep all these skittles in the air, mixing nostalgia and the arcane with modern ideas - 'Oranges & Lemons' is about the confusion caused by fake news. The answer is; as long as I and readers enjoy the experience. Ideally I'll stop before I pass Mr Bryant's age!


Debra Matheney (not verified) Fri, 13/09/2019 - 23:00

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Cause for celebration. Yipee! I love the characters, the atmosphere and the cheeky dialog. It's nearly 5 here in California and I feel a gin and tonic in my near future. Thanks for keeping the books coming.

Just finished Ann Cleeves' latest with her new detective and locale. He is gay, married and grew up in a fundamentalist church. Good start to a new series.

Also, we have friends who drink nothing but Spanish wines.

Helen Martin (not verified) Sat, 14/09/2019 - 04:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Cheers! We may not know exactly how you feel but whatever we feel on finishing a complex job we can share and congratulate you. Hooray!
And there'll be a new cat!
And John will survive the operation because otherwise that's the end of the series... You wouldn't do that to us! Never!
Enjoy the decreasing light for the next month. We're talking about staying on daylight time permanently, but it partly depends on what our neighbours decide. What do you hear in California, Debra?

Jo W (not verified) Sat, 14/09/2019 - 07:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Next June? That's like waiting for a birth,Chris.
Oh well, I can either start knitting or clearing the shelves. Well done Mr.Fowler,sir!

Barbara Allan (not verified) Sat, 14/09/2019 - 07:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Great news. Looking forward to reading it

John Howard (not verified) Sat, 14/09/2019 - 08:43

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thats just fantastic.. As for how long can you keep going?
Well just let me say, and this is not to put any pressure on anyone in particular, I would have a Bryant and May hole in my life which i'm not sure I could fill with anything else.

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Sat, 14/09/2019 - 10:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm making an effort to clear some space on my bookshelves by getting rid of books I'm unlikely to read again.
That doesn't include the Bryant and Mays, but does make room for more of them. Please keep them coming!

Ian Luck (not verified) Mon, 16/09/2019 - 03:33

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Having a concerted clear out at home prior to some work being done. Must have got rid of at least a hundredweight of books for the charity shop. No B&M included.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Mon, 16/09/2019 - 17:39

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Splendid news, take a well earned rest and enjoy the Autumn sunshine.


Bonnie Ferguson (not verified) Mon, 16/09/2019 - 18:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So much to look forward to. I've fallen behind but mean to use the autumn weather as an excuse to catch up.

Juan F Fariñas (not verified) Tue, 17/09/2019 - 14:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So you finished the book in my city, on my birthday, that's something to celebrate! Congratulations on a new book which I'm sure will be as much a pleasure to read as it probably was to write. Looking forward to it.

Christopher Fowler Tue, 17/09/2019 - 16:20

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Feliz cumpleaños Juan - diviértete en La Merce!

Juan F Fariñas (not verified) Wed, 18/09/2019 - 05:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks! I most certainly will, plus this year looks like we are having a really great theatre season in Barcelona (5 horas con Mario, Little shop of horrors, Death on the Nile...) and also James Elroy is giving a speech next week (it would be great to also have some presentation of your work around here, since you spend so much time in Barcelona, and we also have our share of occult facts, like the Vampire of Raval, or House Burés, which Mr Bryant would love).

Helen Martin (not verified) Wed, 18/09/2019 - 17:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Could Bryant and May be seconded to the Barcelona police, Chris? Just think of all the opportunities for a totally new set of experiences. Aren't you there long enough to develop a familiarity with the place? I know, they are of London, but a little sidebar sort of bit, perhaps?

Ian Luck (not verified) Thu, 19/09/2019 - 22:35

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

That would be great - think of all the fun you could have with Arthur complaining about the heat, and complaining about the food, eg.:
"Squid isn't food - it's bait for more edible fish!" etc., and his annoyance that John loves the climate, and is dressed appropriately, in a light coloured linen suit and Panama hat, loving every new thing he encounters, buildings, people, food, good coffee, wines, etc. Maybe as a short story?

Helen Martin (not verified) Thu, 19/09/2019 - 23:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A short story would be good. Arthur remembering "that time in Barcelona when ..." It would be why he doesn't leave London except under compulsion.