Two Cheers For Publication Day!
‘The Lonely Hour’, Bryant & May’s latest murder mystery, is out in paperback from today. I won’t be celebrating as I’m fasting prior to a hospital exploration – bad timing perhaps but life is full of bad timing, n’est pas? If you’re planning to buy a copy, you can help your local bookshop by ordering through them and taking pressure off Amazon while they deal with essential supplies.
Quite a few of our shops are still open, now with enhanced hygiene in place, and I’ll get around to signing some copies shortly. This is my favourite cover. Ideally I’d love to retrofit all of the early covers so that they’re by Max Schindler and make a set, but that’s just my OCD side kicking in.
Before I start the final version of each book I always write myself some fake jacket copy, just to give me and the publisher an idea of what the book is about. Here’s the one I wrote for ‘The Lonely Hour’.
17. THE LONELY HOUR
In Which Mr May Makes A Mistake
And Mr Bryant Goes Into The Dark
On a rainy winter night in the wrong part of London, outside a run-down nightclub, four strangers meet for the first time.
A few weeks later the body of an Indian textile worker is found hanging upside down inside a willow tree on Hampstead Heath. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate, and as the victim was found surrounded by the paraphernalia of black magic, Arthur Bryant and John May set off to question experts in the field.
But the case is not what it appears, for when another victim seemingly commits suicide somewhere in the London night is a man who knows what people fear most, and he always strikes at 4:00am.
In order to catch him the unit must switch to night shifts, but they draw a blank. While John May takes a technological approach, Arthur Bryant quizzes academics and misfits, but the case that reveals impossibilities at every turn. The victims have no idea what they’ve done wrong, and the murderer doesn’t exist. Luckily, impossibility is what the Peculiar Crimes Unit does best, and the trail takes them from the poorest part of the East End to the wealthiest homes in North London.
As they explore a night city where all the normal rules are upended, they’re drawn deeper into a case that involves murder, arson, kidnap, blackmail, bats and the psychological effects of loneliness on Londoners. But this time it’s an investigation that can only end in tragedy. They must find method in the madness of a killer who strikes at the darkest time of the night…