Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood
‘Madame Blavatsky?’ said May as they headed downstairs to the new tea shop that had just opened beneath the unit. ‘You’re the last of your species, you know that, don’t you? One day you’ll be in your own glass case in a museum. Label; the London Eccentric, Londinium Insolitum,shy, hardy, solitary worker, difficult to breed, uncomfortable out of its native habitat – an area extending no more than five miles either side of the Thames – liable to bite when provoked.’
‘You missed out my key attribute,’ said Bryant. ‘My eidetic memory. It’s unconventionally arranged, but more useful than any of your fancy computers. The world seems so intent on erasing its past that someone has to keep notes. That’s why I’m good at my job. I make connections with my surroundings. It’s like throwing jump leads into a junkyard and sparking off the things you find there. No-one else can do that. It’s why we’re still in business.’
The defenestration of a ruthless theatre impresario’s young son was definitely not the best way to end the play’s first night party. And the crime scene itself was most unusual: a locked bedroom, with no sign of forced entry, no prints or traces of blood, just a sinister, life-size puppet of Mr Punch lying on the floor…
Everyone at the party – from the dodgy producer and rakish male lead to the dour set designer and the assistant stage manager (the wild daughter of a prominent civil servant) – is a suspect.
It’s a perfect case for Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit but the Home Office, wary of the PCU’s eccentric methods and intensely aware of the potential political embarrassment, wants them off the investigation.
The elderly detectives are not so easily deterred, however. Delving into the history of London theatre and the gruesome origins of ‘Punch and Judy’, they uncover a maniacal killer is at work – one who must be caught before it’s curtains for everyone!
What the Critics Say
Excellent… plotted with wit and intelligence
– The Times –
A sense of the macabre combined with laugh-out-loud moments and eccentric characters are set against a lovingly realised London backdrop
– Daily Telegraph –
Charming and quirky… a pleasurably intelligent read
– Financial Times –