Today’s The Day! ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Is Launched


Okay, I’m a newcomer to crime & mystery genre, unless you count The Girl On The Train.

Nobody counts The Girl on the Train. So you want to know what to read? Something less remedial, perhaps?

Yes, I’d like a good murder mystery with memorable characters.

You’ve come to the right place, squire. I’m your writer *taps chest*

Which one of your books should I start with then? The first?

Ah no, you see that’s what everyone does. But it’s wrong. The first one, Full Dark House, is the odd-novel-out, written when there was never a plan to write a series. But after that there are various books that provide entry points into the long-running story arc. The Memory of Blood is one. And, conveniently for this column, Hall of Mirrors is the other. And it’s out in hardback today in the UK.

What makes Hall of Mirrors different, then?

It’s a prequel. ‘The prequel to end all prequels’, according to one reviewer. In it, Bryant & May are young men, it’s the swinging sixties and we can see the early days of their friendship.

I hope there’s a murder.

There is, now that you mention it. Although it doesn’t happen for a very long time.

Why not?

Because before you kill someone off, it’s a good idea to allow your readers to first get to know the cast. It’s a primary mistake some authors make, but you’d be surprised how often we’re expected to care about a character we barely know. I blame television.

So what’s it about?

It’s about 350 pages long. Sorry, couldn’t resist. In 1969, ten guests stay in an isolated country house for the weekend, but one of them is harbouring thoughts of murder. Young detectives Bryant & May are tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistleblower turning Queen’s evidence against a corrupt architect. The pair are obliged to attend the house party disguised with false identities, and so the scene is set for a country house murder mystery – except that it proves to be nothing like the ones in Golden Age novels; these are the dying days of the grand weekend, and now that the good times are coming to an end, the guests are betraying their desperation…

And you think this Hall of Mirrors mystery will be enough to get me hooked?

I don’t know. That’s between you and your monthly book-purchasing budget. But I’m rather counting on it. Mouths to feed, holidays to fund etc. I could do with putting a few biscuits in the tin – we writers aren’t in a very highly paid profession, you know.

I can tell from that jacket. Fair enough. Sounds like I should take a punt on these detective fellows. What’s unusual about them?

They’re really old.

Oh, forget it then.

Cheerio! (under breath) Wanker.


27 comments on “Today’s The Day! ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Is Launched”

  1. Jo W says:

    I’m getting myself ready to visit FP for my copy. 🙂
    (Btw, Christopher, would prefer it if you had used ‘ Merchant ‘ ) 🙁

  2. Brooke says:

    What’s up with covering the cover with a match book and matches? Is Arthur about to set something afire?

  3. Vincent C says:


  4. davem says:

    Being delivered today … looking forward to it.

  5. admin says:

    Oh Brooke…
    Will somebody here please explain to Brooke the significance of the matches?

  6. Crprod says:

    Bryant & May are not old since they seem to be our contemporaries. I placed the order last night, but it’ll take a couple of weeks to get to North Carolina.

  7. Linda Ayres says:

    Hi Brooke ,
    Bryant and May matches are a very old established brand. It’s a play on words that Arthur comments on in ,I think The Victoria Vanishes, but no doubt someone will correct me.
    Google The Match Girls Strike for more info

  8. Jo W says:

    Book bought and got home safely.Didn’t get confused in London once, Mr.F. 🙂

  9. Brooke says:

    Greetings, Linda. Thanks for reminding me. I now recall researching the brand after reading Arthur’s comment.
    I think you deserve a free copy of HOM.

  10. Adam says:

    My copy arrived today; perfect reading for my upcoming holiday!

  11. Helen Martin says:

    Okay, once more into the depths of Amazon.UK Was mentioning the books this am to the remnants of my class and one of them said, “Yes, those books I’m now addicted to.” Not sure why I don’t pre-order. Perhaps there’s a chance there will be no book in the end. That has happened.
    In another class I called someone a “tosser” after someone else had used “wanker.” The original speaker said that a tosser was a polite wanker. Not sure if she meant it was a more polite word or that the person was more polite. I have had to learn more British usage because our quilting instructor is “real” Irish from Kerry.

  12. Mimi Paller says:

    Phooey! It isn’t even advertised yet on audible.

  13. John Griffin says:

    First chapter read last night (some guffaws to disturb Mrs G’s knitting), will re-read and ration out the rest. Having read several books recently with terrible anachronisms, it’s nice to read books that accord with my memories of the locations and the eras mentioned.

  14. Gary Webb says:

    Glad to see the London of my youth mentioned, Columbia Road. This is now added to the London of my working life, I worked as a biomedical scientist at the Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street not far from the stomping ground of Mr Bryant and Mr May, I was always fascinated whilst walking to work of the stories that might be held in the buildings in the area, you seem to have the knack to extract them. Looking forward to reading this latest adventure.

  15. Sue says:

    Can’t wait to read. I absolutely love this series and am so glad you are continuing with it!

  16. Mike Pitcher says:

    ordered my usual copy from Goldsboro books gagging to read it cant wait

  17. Mike says:

    I too ordered from Golsboro and managed to be out today when the postie tried to deliver it.
    Now having to wait until Monday to retrieve it. Damn!

  18. SteveB says:

    I have all the B&M hardbacks, but they stay pristine on the shelf now; I read the ebooks!

  19. Sarah says:

    Have bought copies for myself and my sister but is there an audio version coming out as desperately need it for my mother as she is partially sighted and can no longer read-hoping it is out soon on audible! Any news on that?

  20. Charmayne says:

    Also desperate for the audio book as I have a neurological problem and can only read for a few minutes a day. That’s not enough to get my Arthur and John fix! I like to binge in a couple of days once a new title is available. Plus, Tim Goodman narrates brilliantly. I still buy the books to read when I can.

  21. Jon Morgan says:

    Mr Fowler, your books are dangerous to read in a public place. My giggles and sniggers got me some odd looks today on train and tube – well, more odd looks than usual anyway. It was nice to see that the Tibetan skull was already there all those years ago.

    One issue, (sorry ex MET plod), the CPS did not exist in 1969. It did not come into being until the ‘Prosecution of Offences Act 1985’ ( which took over all prosecutions from the police who previously prosecuted their own cases – rather more successfully than the CPS did in the beginning or, to be honest, since then. Magistrates’ Courts were previously known as Police Courts although the relationship between police and beaks was rather too cosy !

    Excellent book and the early cases are a gold mine for future volumes . MORE please!

  22. admin says:

    Hi Jon –
    Thanks for pointing this out. I did know about the CPS formation but couldn’t get the lingo right, because I didn’t know how they described case referral then – so I hoped readers would put the anachronism down to the case being a revision of a revision (as it turns out),
    I think I will do another early case at some point. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting them back to Victorian London somehow…

  23. Jon Morgan says:

    No central prosecution authority prior to 1985, which was the point I think of creating the inefficient and craven, not to mention politically malleable CPS.(Clown Persecution Service). Minor cases were prosecuted locally by experienced police officers. More serious ones got prosecuting lawyers through (in the Met at least) the force solicitor’s branch. These lawyers then instructed barristers for Crown Court cases. Case files were rather strangely known as ‘Soup’ reports…..I never knew why. The most serious cases usually had to have the consent (by law) of the Attorney General or DPP.

    I proof read for several crime authors, free and gratis from a consistency / police procedure perspective so happy to help. Experience dates from early eighties onwards…..

  24. Lauren says:

    Taking them back to Victorian London? Oh please let it be a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, or something of that ilk.

  25. John Griffin says:

    Enjoyed it, more and more as I progressed through, although I think it is not as ‘immediate’ as earlier books, since we readers tend to drop back into ‘previous’ mode, and this required a reboot. I think this is a seam that could be mined for some time, frankly. There are plenty of creation myths to be explored. Congratulations!

  26. Mimi Paller says:

    Yippee! Hall of Mirrors is available in the US on audible for pre-order. It will be out April 19. Can’t wait.

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