The Confusion Of Numbers
Sadly the US publication of ‘Oranges & Lemons’ has had to be moved back slightly because the American printers were hit by COVID and everything is delayed. It’ll be available at the start of January.
The confusion concerning the order and numbering of the Bryant & May books has been going on for years now. I thought it was all very clear-cut, but it appeared to cause puzzlement with publishers and readers alike. Stateside there were only Kindle versions of ‘London’s Glory’ and ‘England’s Finest’, so they didn’t go into the numbering system. Either Americans don’t care for printed volumes of short stories all by the same author or I don’t command the kind of weight needed to sell them.
I count every book that first came out in hardback, and both of the Bryant & May missing case collections did, in stunning editions, which makes ‘Oranges & Lemons’ number 19, with ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ the 20th volume and the end of another arc (these arcs probably only exist in my devious mind, but help me to shape an overall narrative to the adventures of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Although the books roughly divide into story arcs involving long-running battles with the government, they all stand alone with the possible exception of ‘On The Loose’ and ‘Off The Rails’, which benefit a little from being read together.
Each novel is a different kind of mystery, although there are several whodunnits and locked room puzzles. Some are what used to be called capers, the kind of books the wonderful Donald E Westlake often wrote. There are several categories I haven’t covered yet and a couple of them are coming up next.Â Outside of all these was the graphic novel beautifully drawn by Mr Keith Page, and there will probably be a Bryant & May guide to London at some point in the future.
So if that’s the numbering now sorted out once and for all, are we all on the same page?