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Bryant & May – The Water Room

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Originally built to house the workers of Victorian London, Balaklava Street is now an oasis in the heart of Kentish Town and ripe for gentrification. But then the body of an elderly woman is found at Number 5. Her death would appear to have been peaceful but for the fact that her throat is full of river water. It falls to the Met's Peculiar Crimes Unit, led by London's longest-serving detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, to search for something resembling a logical solution. 

Their initial investigations draw a blank and Bryant's attention is diverted into strange and arcane new territory, while May finds himself in hot water when he attempts to save the reputation of an academic whose knowledge of the city's forgotten underground rivers looks set to ruin his career. In the meantime, the new owner of Number 5 is increasingly unsettled by the damp in the basement of her home, the particularly resilient spiders and the ghostly sound of rushing water... 

Pooling their information to investigate hitherto undiscovered secrets of the city, Bryant and May make some sinister connections and realize that, in a London filled with the rich, the poor and the dispossessed, there's still something a desperate individual is willing to kill for - and kill again to protect. With the PCU facing an uncertain future, the death toll mounts and two of British fiction's most enigmatic detectives must face madness, greed and revenge, armed only with their wits, their own idiosyncratic practices and a plentiful supply of boiled sweets, in a wickedly sinuous mystery that goes to the heart of every London home.

What the critics say

Atmospheric, hugely beguiling and as filled with tricks and sleights of hand as a magician’s sleeve…this is English gothic at its eccentric best; a combination of Ealing comedy and grand opera: witty, charismatic, occasionally touching and with a genuine power to thrill

Author
Joanne Harris

An evocatively reverential tribute to the genre…the clash of temperaments between Bryant and May makes them great detectives

Author
Time Out

The striking gothic setting of London under fire proves fruitful ground for a bizarre dark comedy of an investigation…bawdy, unpredictable and at times hilarious, with a cast of wonderful grotesques.

Author
Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian

A writer of extraordinary imagination

Author
Sunday Express

Very cleverly plotted…simultaneously scary and alluring

Author
Daily Telegraph Books of the Year

Wartime London is conjured up with unique skill…Fowler’s powers of description are enviable.

Author
Independent on Sunday

Very fine writing, a lot of atmosphere, and a great deal of irresistible London arcana.

Author
Morning Star

The second in his new series of long-awaited Bryant and May mysteries. From the time I first encountered these two characters in a short story in City Jitters, I’ve wanted Fowler to do precisely what he’s doing now. That would be long, complex and very funny detective novels about the exploits of London’s PCU – the Peculiar Crimes Unit

Author
The Agony Column

Bryant and May are engaging characters and I look forward to their next outing

Author
Sherlock