Bryant and May Off The Rails
Bryant stared down into the sodden streets. It was hard to detect any sign of spring on such a shabby day. At least the doxies and dealers had been swept out of the area as the fashionable bars moved in. Eventually the raucous beckoning of hookers would only be recalled by the few remaining long-term residents. Such was life in London, where a year of fads and fancies could race past in a week. Who had time to remind themselves of the past anymore?
Maybe it’s just me,thought Bryant, but I can see everything, stretching back through time like stepping stones.
No-one now remembered Handel playing above the coal-shop in Clerkenwell’s Jerusalem Passage, or Captain Kidd being hanged from the gibbet in Wapping until the Thames had immersed him three times. Thousands of histories were scrubbed from the city’s face each year. Once you could feel entire buildings lurch when the printing presses of Fleet Street began to roll. Once the wet cobbles of Snow Hill impeded funeral corteges with such frequency that it became a London tradition for servicemen to haul hearses with ropes. For every riot there was a romance, for every slaying, a birth; the city had a way of smoothing out the rumples of the passing years.
The elderly detective tossed the remains of his tea over the filthy window and cleared a clean spot with his sleeve. He saw coffee shops and tofu bars where once prophets and anarchists had held court.
The recent change in King’s Cross had been startling, but even with buildings scrubbed and whores dispatched, it had retained enough of its ruffian character not to feel like everywhere else. Bryant belonged here. He basked in the neighbourhood’s sublime indifference to the passing of time and people.
They’ve been given just one week to find a killer they’d caught once before . . .
Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are on the trail of an enigma: a young man called Mr Fox. But his identity is false, his links to society are invisible and his home yields no clues. All they know is that somehow he escaped from a locked room and murdered one of their best and brightest.
Now the detectives are being lured down into the darkest recesses of the London Underground where their quarry, expertly disguised, has struck again. Their search takes them into the vast labyrinth of tunnels, a subterranean world full of legends and ghost stations, which tie the city together. Edging closer to what lies hidden beneath the city – and to the madness that is driving a man to murder – Bryant and May are about to uncover a mystery as bizarre as anything they have ever encountered . . .
What the Critics Say
Do yourself a favour and pick up a novel by Christopher Fowler. The author’s Bryant and May series is proving to be one of the quirkiest and most ingenious pleasures to be found in the genre: atmospheric, sardonically funny and craftily suspenseful
– Barry Forshaw, amazon.co.uk –
Outstanding… a golden age mystery… [Christopher] Fowler has few peers when it comes to constructing ingenious plots
– Publishers Weekly –
One of the most delightful series around
– Library Journal –
Sharp wit, elegant style, and wild imagination
– The Boston Globe –
– The Denver Post –
– The Plain Dealer –