Oranges & Lemons - Date And Cover

Christopher Fowler
I now have a publication date for 'Oranges & Lemons', the next Bryant & May mystery. It'll be out on July 23rd in time for your summer holiday reading. That's a tad later than usual because last year there were two new B&Ms, so the paperback versions of both 'The Lonely Hour' and 'England's Finest' precede it. Most writers are wary of producing too frequently in case reader fatigue sets in. I know you are made of stronger stuff. The hardbacks and the paperback editions are marketed a little differently. The former sell more to collectors and the passionate readers (that's you lot), and are branded with Bryant & May's logo in the traditional style, while the paperbacks are flogged as Peculiar Crimes Unit Mysteries and promote the story title more. It's important to get the covers reflecting the timing of the stories, which can be dated from Raymond Land's memos - so the next book takes place in the spring.
The first thing was for cover artist Max Schindler to sketch the one scene I had given him - the Speaker of the House being inundated with fruit. It wasn't much for him to go on, but of course he ran with it. When it came to the coloured version, Max decided to escape from the usual blues and blacks of most murder mysteries and go for mad pink.
It's unusual to use pink flowers to promote a pretty dark story, and I was worried that readers might think I'd written a 'cosy' (not on my watch) but I like the result. I've always liked the typefaces, which are clean and modern but nod to the 1830s as well. In the paperback versions, they get even more stripped back and elegant. We no longer use the old PCU logos, 1, because I'm sure that designer Martin Butterworth's symbol meant that the very litigious Transport for London would have sued us and b, it belonged to the earlier days of the unit. We went through a Custard Creams stage in the logo development when art director Simon Moore was in charge - I always loved this one, which ran as a header on the short-lived American PCU site for a while - I think we took the site down because it confused everyone and besides, the unit soon moved out of the Mornington Crescent building it featured. Next year will see the arrival of the 20th Bryant & May volume, so we'll be doing something special for that. Meanwhile the TV series is still 'in development', which is television-speak for 'waiting for the author to die'. All comments adverse and positive to the usual letterbox below.  


John Howard (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 13:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Two things: I love the new cover and I loved the PCU custard cream. OK, three things, love the pink as well.
Was that too many loves or is the enthusiasm coming through yet....?

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 14:14

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I like the cover.

The current fashion for books on sale to be arranged by colour ( seemingly dark for men and light for women in many cases) annoys me. I might be attracted to pick up a book by an attractive cover, but I'm not going to read it unless the contents look interesting.
I can't say that I'd noticed the difference between the hardbacks and paperbacks ( although I can see it now that you point it out.) I prefer the little B+M figures at the top of the hardback spines now that I've actually noticed them.

Nick (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 15:08

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm afraid I always wait for the paperbacks - I just wish publishers would settle on ONE STYLE and stick with it. My OCD likes a neat shelf.

Daren V (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 15:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Brilliant, A Bryant and May published on my birthday.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 15:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Custard Creams are my eight years favourite biscuit, she likes them even more than chocolate biscuits, she's at times an odd child I don't know where she gets it from. It's a shame her dad keeps eating the custard creams so quickly.

Crikey 20 already, so will you be dropping any more hints and clues and assorted nuggets of infomation, or Easter eggs as the youngsters call them nowadays?


Jo W (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 16:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hem hem, Christopher, I hope you meant that the typeface is a nod to the 1930s, very reminiscent of some of the British Library Crime Classics.
I have noted the publication date in my diary, kitchen calendar and workroom calendar, just in case I forget.!?!

Debra Matheney (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 19:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Preordered on Amazon UK. Postage to USA worth it as I enjoy the novels do much. Like the new cover and the tag line at the bottom. Hoping for TV series before I die.

Adam (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 20:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Excellent news - released the day I sail off to New York, so perfect timing. Love the cover, but I'll need to boot something off the bookshelf to make space. I'm looking at you, Carter Beats the Devil....

Stephen Morris (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 22:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Chris, another striking cover,is there going to be another collection of short stories sometime as well?

Brian Evans (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 22:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The covers on all the B and M books are very pleasing to the eye. They stand out more than so many of the genre and the pink framing on the top draws the attention into the picture.

Helen Martin (not verified) Mon, 17/02/2020 - 23:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Agree with all above. The cover is very attractive and if the colour register is correct that slightly magenta hue could easily be seen as an ominous spring. I liked that custard cream head, too, although I'm more of a bourbon biscuit myself. Bryant looks on that cover as if he refers back to the 1830s but I, too, assume you meant 1930s regarding type faces.
Looking forward to next summer when I can have a new B&M as an anniversary present.

Bronwen Rowlands (not verified) Tue, 18/02/2020 - 11:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's..."

I've very happy to see the publication date for the next B&M. Whenever I see the title, I hear Pete Seeger singing his version of the old nursery rhyme. (This is a very good thing, for I love Pete Seeger.) There's also a lovely flowering plant of the Gaillardia family called Oranges and Lemons.

Phil Babbs (not verified) Tue, 18/02/2020 - 14:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Very much looking forward to the next B & M, currently re-reading the short stories. Have also just finished Roofworld so have now caught up with all the PCU titles. By the way Christopher my copy of Roofworld was an original 1988 hard cover, your photo on the sleeve has you looking as though you're auditioning for the role of Oscar Kasavian in a movie treatment! (No offence)

Christopher Fowler Tue, 18/02/2020 - 23:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh there were some dodgy photoshoots from that era, Phil. I look about twelve in half of them, not good for an author.

John Griffin (not verified) Thu, 20/02/2020 - 23:07

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Ordered. And off to a week's break in a quiet corner on Gower on the 26th, so..........

Linwood Hines (not verified) Tue, 25/02/2020 - 03:57

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

After I've doggedly pursued every volume on eBay and Mysterious Bookshop (some unfortunately PB's - but I'll correct that as time and money allows), and as of tonight finished the canon (Wild Chambers (really enjoyed - hell, it had me crazy to figure out - didn't, btw)). I'm joyous! that my Summer will be worthwhile with the new one! You have no idea how, as I read, of the dread of not having another of your London connurdrumous journeys....

Ian Luck (not verified) Tue, 25/02/2020 - 18:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Quite happy to wait for the paperback - I do like uniformity on my shelves. I'm content to wait, as I know that it will be good. My apparent lack of urgency in ordering things, or watching movies or hyped-up TV shows (some of which I have absolutely no intention of ever watching, due to people bloody well keeping on about them, and how I SIMPLY MUST SEE IT, as everybody else is), infuriates a lot of my friends. Patience. Not a lot of people seem to have it, these days, which I find a bit sad, to be honest.