Bryant & May – London’s Glory
Bryant & May In The Field
‘Remember the parachutist who was alive when he jumped out of his place but was found to have been strangled when he landed in the field? Well, you’re going to love this one, trust me.’ John May took the car keys away from his partner and threw him an overcoat. ‘Come on, I’ll drive. You’ll need that, and your filthy old scarf. It’s cold where we’re going.’
‘I’m not stepping outside of Zone One,’ Arthur Bryant warned tetchily. ‘I remember the last time we left London. There were trees everywhere. It was awful.’
‘It’ll do you good to get some fresh air. You shouldn’t spend all your time cooped up in here.’
The offices of the Peculiar Crime Unit occupied a particularly unappealing corner of North London’s Caledonian Road. Most of the building’s doors stuck and hardly any of its windows opened. Renovations had been halted pending a budget review, which had left several of the unheated rooms with asbestos tiles, fizzing electrics, missing floorboards and what could only be described as ‘a funny smell’. Bryant felt thoroughly at home in this musty deathtrap, and had to be prised out with offers of murder investigations. It was particularly hard to prise him out today as his cardigan had got stuck to the wet varnish on his office door lintel. ‘All right,’ he said grudgingly, ‘if I have to go. But this had better be good.’
As the elderly detectives made their way down to the car park, May handed his partner a photograph. ‘She looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but don’t be deceived. The Met has had its collective eye on her for a couple of years now. Marsha Kastopolis. Her husband owns a lot of flats and shops along the Caledonian Road. He’s been putting her name on property documents as some kind of tax dodge. The council reckon it’s been trying to pin health and safety violations on them, but no action has ever succeeded against her or her husband. I think it’s likely they bought someone on the committee.’
‘Yes, yes, I take it she’s dead,’ said Bryant impatiently.
‘That doesn’t explain why we have to drive somewhere godforsaken.’
‘It’s not godforsaken, just a bit windswept. The body’s been left in situ.’
‘There’s something very unusual about the circumstance. Yes, look at the smile on your podgy little face now, you’re suddenly interested, aren’t you?’
‘We’ll see, won’t we?’ Bryant knotted his scarf more tightly than ever and climbed into the passenger seat of Victor, his rusting yellow Mini.
‘Have you got around to insuring this thing yet?’ asked May, crunching the gears.
‘It’s on my bucket list, along with climbing Machu Picchu, visiting the Hungarian Museum of Telephones and learning the ocarina. Where are we going?’
‘We need to climb Primrose Hill.’
Bryant perked up. ‘Greenberrry Hill.’
‘That’s what it was once called. After the executions of Messrs Green, Berry and Hill, who were wanted for murder of one Edmund Godfrey in 1679. Although nobody really knows for sure if the legend is true.’
‘Incredible,’ May muttered, swinging out into Euston Road. ‘All this from a man who can’t remember how to open his email.’