Have Your Say On Bryant & May No.19

Bryant and May

Much to my surprise, the Bryant & May books are only up to their sixteenth volume. The hardback graphic novel isn’t part of the canon, and at any given time I’m two years ahead of you lot, so I sometimes lose my place.

With the seventeenth volume currently going through the editing process and a cover already designed (very evocative and atmospheric) it will feature my decrepit detectives back in the present day not long after the events of ‘Wild Chamber’. It’s a standalone, but there’s a question perhaps a few of you want answered, which is – what the hell happened to the body in the PCU basement?

To find out about that you’re going to have to wait for ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’, the second volume of missing cases, thirteen in all, one of which solves that particular mystery.

The nineteenth novel will also be present-day, and although I have a few ideas for that I haven’t settled on anything final. If there’s any London theme, character or location you feel I’ve missed so far or haven’t full explored, let me know and I’ll consider it for the nineteenth book.

I plan to take the series to twenty, but what that anniversary volume will feature is anyone’s guess.

BTW, the artwork at the top was done by a reader, who worked out that all of the chapter headings of ‘Hall of Mirrors’ were song titles – except one. I can’t find your name, but thank you for this!

35 comments on “Have Your Say On Bryant & May No.19”

  1. Davem says:

    Would be great if you could involve both maritime and historical Greenwich … an area you know well.

    We have seen Charlton Park in B&M, but there is so much more in the borough.

  2. Wild Edric says:

    It maybe my way of shoehorning in a Roofworld sequel as such but a mystery set on the rooftops of London. That novel has always encouraged me to look up when visiting a new town or city as although the identikit shopfronts may look the same, the upper floors and rooftops tell a story of the history of the building and often previous uses.

    I can well believe a whole community could function up there unnoticed by the crowds below fixed to smartphones or shuffling along looking at their feet.

  3. Jan says:

    That Wild Eric is a mastermind – see it’s not just me who appreciates your finest novel.

    Eric’s a BIG THINKER of some repute I reckon

    Having right trouble with these photos will try again tomorrow. An hour and I’m home.

    Will try and forward u some stuff. Night

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Had to go back to the 31st July to find the details but from Historical, Geographical, and Death points of view the Mulberry Tree would make a good hook. It has nursery rhymes and cookery in there as well.

    As I passed through the posts I saw that there was a fair amount of excitement about the Green Man (or whatever name he went by in various different counties)

    Canals would work, too, since the Regent’s Canal is so close.

    There are all sorts of ideas you’ve not yet used. I’m waiting with bated breath and hanging on tenter hooks.

  5. Jan says:

    There’s a good bit on fuss on about saving the Old Mulberry tree in Bethnal Green @,present.
    Internet petitions and the like.

    You know the pink food colouring in Tottenham cake? That food colouring came from a Tottenham Mulberry tree. Lovely stuff Tottenham cake.

    Canals have been touched on but would stand another volume. Water sources – go with water sources and the genus loci that protect them Mr F

  6. Jan says:

    How come that Wildman spells Eric with a “d”?

  7. admin says:

    Trust Jan to come up with something truly off the wall! Helen, Jan’s trying to send you some photos (what am I, a message service?)
    Greenwich is a good idea. I’m not sure I could get them up on the rooftops! ‘Roofworld’ was an action romp.

  8. davem says:

    If you decide to go with Greenwich, I have numerous books on historical background of the area, including buildings and maps.

  9. Susanna Carroll says:

    You’d be moving a bit South of the river, but how about Crystal Palace and it’s environs. There’s the heritage of the park and the Crystal Palace itself, the Crystal Palace subway, the lost atmospheric railway, it might be possible to work in the dinosaurs.

    There was a scheme to rebuild the Crystal Palace as a hotel and entertainment venue a few years ago, perhaps a story based about another attempt at this with the surrounding shenanigans, political and financial, and the opposition to such a scheme resulting in some unexplained deaths.

    And you’re a stone’s throw away from the location of The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.

    The Greenwich setting sound like it’s got a lot of potential too.

    Could you do Bryant and May and the Green Man as a missing case?

  10. Peter says:

    “were song titles – except one” – go on, do tell. Which one? I ‘sadly’ went through them all.Only oddness I recall were a couple being 10 years different from the rest, and one being from Mary Poppins. Am sure it was Mary Popping but don’t have my notebook to check!

  11. Jan says:

    I tell you what I always thought was very interesting subject – the Old British Empire Exhibition @ Wembley Park. So many of those buildings survived into the 1990s it was incredible. The construction must have been fantastic. Nearly all gone now but those places must have taken some blowing up. I met an old boy in Kingsbury back in the 1980s who had lots of pamphlets and guides to the Old exhibition. He reckoned he knew the kid who caused all the damage to the railway there!! I am not quite sure Bryant + May r this week but even a their oldest the Empire Exhibition was a bit before their time. He would have been late 70s then so possibly not just spinning me a line

  12. Brooke says:

    Jan’s suggestion brought to mind Kew Gardens as a possible site, certainly historical in design and construction. It represents the worst (habitat destruction) and best (preserve species and do good science) of the British quest for empire. Some of the plants are older than the Green Man myth and would be venerated if they were in their native land.

    Arthur claims he caught the Kew Garden Strangler but I cannot find the case book. Am I missing something? Have you done this all before?
    Certainly anything that went wrong in the Garden, a world heritage site, would fit the PCU remit. Also keeps B&M in London with ~300 acres in which to wreck havoc. Think of all that glass and Arthur’s propensity to explode things.

    Greenwich is another favorite– I like being in the place where time begins, ends and restarts every 24 segments and wondering when it will end.

  13. SteveB says:

    I still have the memory of those frozen films in – Spitzbergen was it? And there must be a tie-in to London after Midnight. Weren’t a few new frames found recently?

    Has Admin ever read Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber? One of my favourite books. A similar plot in London would be great, and perfect material for Arthut!

  14. Martin Tolley says:

    I’m good with Greenwich, I’m sure something wonderful could happen to/inside Cutty Sark, and that wonderful foot tunnel might make an interesting venue for a chase of one kind or another. And I think Brooke’s ideas about Kew and Mr B are worth consideration. The capital being held to ransom by the threatened release of some triffidy thing by some evil orchid keeper perhaps?
    The Millennium Dome doesn’t seem much use for anything, so it might conceivably be a good site for something peculiar to happen.
    I know you’ve already dealt with burials and things, but the famous seven cemeteries could figure in some bizarre tale perhaps.
    And there are lots of football and other sporting venues in the capital that must surely have a history of skulduggery and daftness that could be exploited in some way. How about the bizarre murder of a multi-million pound footy player in full view of a 60,000 crowd at the Emirates stadium. (Taking the witness statements – wow!). Exploding cricket balls at a Lords Test match?
    And there are heaps of lovely street markets in London- all with history – and scope for disreputable characters galore. And Smithfield and Billingsgate – good places to dispose of bodies?
    Going to lie down now, the tablets seem to be taking effect.

  15. Helen Martin says:

    Greenwich would be good and so would Roofworld, but I’m holding out for mulberry trees, especially after what Jan said. Thank you, Chris for doing the enabling. You are what we need you to be, I think. Give Jan my e-mail and then it can go straight between her and me.

  16. Wayne Mook says:

    You could put in a Stannah (other makes are available.) Stairlift to the stars for them, there are so many cranes about they could be used for allsorts of skulduggery.

    Mulberry Bush of the rhyme and film would be interesting, used for an attempt to help silk production some centuries back in the UK, but Mulberries don’t like cold and frost, plus they grow on trees as Helen and Jan noted.

    Greenwich Mean Time, a rather selfish time if you ask me, sorry I’ll get my coat. Still it has a lot of interest the place. At least I avoiding making jokes about a Green Man helping me cross the road, there is a long winded joke about a green man flashing.


  17. Helen Martin says:

    (The D in his name probably indicates he’s an Edric, not Eric.)

    There’s the whole Prime Meridian thing, too, and how far do you move from it before the sun tells you the time is different? Our zones are so arbitrary. We (tourists and geographers) are prepared to stand in line (ha!) to stand on the meridian line and take our pictures, except for the two who stood either side and kissed over it. In spite of being totally arbitrary (Paris wanted to have the line through their observatory) there’s something special about the spot. As Brooke says, it’s where time begins and ends. Just think where Arthur could go with that.

  18. davem says:

    Greenwich it is then 😉

  19. Brooke says:

    where time begins and ends… think what Maggie could do with that!

  20. Kimberlynsf says:

    Hallo! San Francisco weighing in, a vote for Greenwich for sure–have always thought the Royal Naval College buildings to be beautiful and symmetrical and somehow (in my mind, anyway) perfect representations of an era.

  21. Jan says:

    The naval college (now Greenwich university) was due for closure until apparently some bright spark on its staff pointed out to the naval top brass that there was a detailed mock up of a naval submarine bridge there which was used extensively in training submariners. Apparently this mock up cost a small fortune to create and would have been a nightmare to disassemble and reassemble elsewhere.

    A stay of execution was granted until it became a uni.

  22. Ian Luck says:

    Jan – there was somewhat more than a submarine bridge there. There was also a very small nuclear reactor, to train maintainence crew in it’s use, and, presumably, what to do in worst case scenarios. If I may, might I steer you to the youtube channel ‘Things You Might Not Know’, hosted by a bloke called Tom Scott. He made a short video about the reactor.

  23. Jan says:

    I decided not to mention that bit Ian but think it’s all long gone now !

  24. Helen Martin says:

    More things that “it’s better people don’t know about.” We all know where that thinking leads.

  25. Ian Luck says:

    You lived in Greenwich, didn’t you, Chris? Did you know about the atomic pile on your doorstep? It sounds just like the sort of thing Arthur would know of, and casually drop into a conversation…

  26. Ian Luck says:

    The most terrifying thing a submariner has to face, is being stuck underwater, and, if possible, escaping. All Royal Navy submariners would have paid a visit to the Naval Shore Establishment, H.M.S. Dolphin, near Portsmouth. The site is recognizable by a huge tower, visible for miles around. This is where submarine escape training took place, every bit as frightening as the real thing. A submarine mock up is at the base of the tower. And? The tower is a vertical water tank, over 100 feet high. As a consequence of this, the water pressure increases towards the bottom of the tower, and getting an escape wrong, could result in an attack of ‘the bends'(Nitrogen narcosis). In addition to submarine escapes, the tower was also used to test diving gear, and helicopter escape scenarios. But nothing, I expect, equals the fear felt by trainees as the ‘submarine’ at the bottom floods to the top, and they have to escape through a hatch, and float to the surface, exhaling all the way, so that their lungs don’t rupture. Terrifying.

  27. Helen Martin says:

    There is nothing about submarines that is nor terrifying. I went on one (USSR) in New Westminster once and I couldn’t get out fast enough. When you add what you would face if you had to get out it is a wonder anyone volunteers for that service. They must have something strange in their brains.

  28. Jan says:

    There used to be a Russian submarine moored up on the Thames not far from the Thames barrier.
    I went on that once mainly cos the bloke I was with wanted to explore it. Turned out he wasn’t too fond of the enclosed space and it didn’t worry me me that much. Weird though being deep beneath the sea in such an enclosed vessel.

    A friend’s brother served in R.N. and was selected for submarine service. He spent ages in the submarine service only a small selection of navy personnel actually were selected to do the work mind you only a small selection probably wanted to do the work!

    It’s not a great thought that there’s stuff that it’s best we don’t know much about.
    I can see the different arguments for and against Helen to be sure I can.

    But sometimes it’s probably true there’s stuff its best that we don’t know much about,

    I’m not saying that’s it’s right but it’s probably true.

  29. Helen Martin says:

    I can see your point, Jan, but it all depends on who is deciding what to keep hidden, doesn’t it?

  30. Shirley says:

    I would love a side novel with all of Raymond Land’s memos ,daily thoughts , basically his diary/work agenda. I love his memos and his thought process.

  31. Jan says:

    Absolutely Helen. I can see exactly where you are coming from

    Please consider this though sometimes a bit of censorship (occasionally self censorship) – even though it might be somewhat over zealous – just might be in order. I would sooner folk be free to ponder what they might well believe to be the injustice of information kept out of the public domain than the possible ramifications of over sharing. I.E. that they are no longer about to consider anything at all.

    This applies not only at a personal individual level but also to much information to which the the public only get only limited access. I appreciate the dilemmas honestly I do. The pitfalls are many and various. Personally I choose to come down on the side of safety and caution. If that’s morally repugnant to you then I’m sorry.

    Situations arise where it’s no longer possible to second guess and/or safely start over.
    We don’t live our lives within a controlled laboratory or classroom environment where different options can be fully and safely explored . This is a difficult occasionally dangerous volatile reality. Second chances aren’t always available.

    Now I’ve had quite enough of being serious.
    Q/ What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?
    A/ Cliff!

  32. Helen Martin says:

    Not morally repugnant, no. You are, of course, quite right when it’s things that would *needlessly* upset or frighten people, the rationale behind the Peculiar Crimes Unit, in fact. Absolutely. It’s just that slimy crime can sneak in through that. Nope – let’s just say that we agree with each other depending on the item being considered.

  33. Jan says:

    That’s a great idea Shirley’s come up with a Raymondo’s To Do List volume.

    Would it actually work to try and write a short story or novel from the p.of v. Of Raymond or another officer for a few chapters then swop over to another character Meera or Colin to cover the conclusion? Think this idea has cropped up b4. Talked about this b4.

    It always tickled me when you sat down to write an account of a particular event how everyone’s p of v varied not just because of where they were in relation to unfolding events but WHO they were what their basic personality traits were. Trust me it does make a difference. It can be very comical.

    But think Shirley”s Raymonds day idea could be great “The Chronicles Of Raymond”.

  34. linda ayres says:

    This summer at Greenwich they have been carrying out work on the painted ceiling, I went on the tour and one of the most interesting aspects were the little touches added here and there that can only be seen up close . The artists/previous restorers have put their own stamp on the magnificent whole. My personal favourite was a rat just visible in a porthole. I am sure Mr Bryant would know all its secrets.

  35. Helen Martin says:

    Thank you for that, Linda. I love hearing about these funny little corners of important places, an opportunity for the working people to add a cheeky touch of their own.

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