It’s Publication Day! (Again)
ARTHUR BRYANT: ‘I once considered having a tattoo on my right bicep but I couldn’t make up my mind between Sir Robert Peel or Diana Dors.’
There are two required traits for any career writer, originality and consistency (and patience. THREE things, originality, consistency, patience and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope – FOUR things!) Which brings me here to the 18th volume of Bryant & May nonsense with ‘England’s Finest’, a collection of twelve new missing cases taking their titles from various mentions in the novels – this is a traditional authorial habit initiated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which continues to this day.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit has solved many extraordinary cases over the years, but some were hushed up and hidden away until now. Arthur Bryant remembers these lost cases as if they were yesterday. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember yesterday, so the newly revealed facts could come as a surprise to everyone, including his exasperated partner John May. Here, then, is the truth about the Covent Garden opera diva and the seventh reindeer, the body that falls from the Tate Gallery, the ordinary London street corner where strange accidents keep occurring, the consul’s son discovered buried in the unit’s basement, the corpse pulled from a swamp of Chinese dinners, a Hallowe’en crime in the Post Office Tower, and the impossible death that’s the fault of a forgotten London legend. There’s an introduction by Raymond Land, and the detectives’ long-suffering sergeant Janice Longbright gets to reveal her own forgotten mystery.
These twelve crimes must be solved without the help of modern technology, mainly because nobody knows how to use it. Expect misunderstood clues, lost evidence, arguments about Dickens, churches, pubs and disorderly conduct from the investigative officers they laughingly call ‘England’s Finest’.]
So there you go, something for everyone. And for the 450,000th time Bryant & May are being discussed as a TV series, so who knows, one day long after I’m dead someone will get the repeat fees. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy, although I’m sure you have far more important things to do. Vivat vetus hominibus!