Blog / 2020

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
In the new baby name polls of 2020 for the UK, parents have gone traditional with Oliver, Harry, George, Edward, Noah and Arthur (hurrah!) back in vogue. Of course, the Victorians were prepared to experiment with names like Isambard and Brilliant, but in times of uncertainty we move back into our comfort zones. However, last week I had a bit of a shock. As you all know, I choose the names Bryant &…
50 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books & Bryant & May
Image
Could I actually get Bryant & May to be the longest running mystery novel series? No, sadly, though quantity should never beat out quality. I've been trying to draw up a list of detectives with longevity, but it's hard to figure out. I should comfortably pass R Austin Freeman at 21 Dr Thorndyke books and Holmes doesn't count as there were only four novels. But Gladys Mitchell managed 66 Mrs…
18 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
My piece on the confusing numbering system of the Bryant & May books threw up more questions than answers, so I thought I'd take time to address them properly here. There are four other books in which Bryant & May appear, 'Rune', 'Soho Black' (in which they solve a very PCU-like mystery) and two others which completely escape me for the moment. I'm not sure both were published. I'm a bit…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
Sadly the US publication of 'Oranges & Lemons' has had to be moved back slightly because the American printers were hit by COVID and everything is delayed. It'll be available at the start of January. The confusion concerning the order and numbering of the Bryant & May books has been going on for years now. I thought it was all very clear-cut, but it appeared to cause puzzlement with publishers and…
33 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
It began with my former creative partner, the other half of my brain; unreconstructed and shamelessly old-fashioned, usually right about everything, motto; 'The world would be a better place if everyone did what I told them.' And generally speaking it would have been. The physical embodiment of Arthur Bryant, whom no-one dares to call by his first name except John May and occasionally, Janice…
36 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
I only ever added an appendix to one Bryant & May novel - the very first one. I gave it up after that. I think I wanted to parody the entire practice but can't quite remember now why I did it. Maybe I wanted it to prove useful for anyone wishing to locate that section of the book dealing with Germans using ginger people during blackouts. Anyway, here it is, and good luck. Appendix NOTATIONS MADE…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
Janice Longbright is an amalgamation of all the tough women I had ever encountered working in London's Soho. I spent over a quarter of a century negotiating the madness of this tiny square of land, working and socialising there, but not being much of a late night person I was never one to drag a party on into the small hours. Neither was Soho for most of its life, really - only a very few venues…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
Many, many books are written by outsiders. Writing is a solitary, strange occupation, and writing well requires enormous willpower and single-mindedness. It occupies writers' minds and possesses them. There is a constant need to improve, yet I can open a cheap crime novel from the 1940s and find better writing than I am capable of producing, so there is always a goal above this one, and a goal…
9 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
The character of unit chief Raymond Land in the Bryant & May books has an unexpected genesis that began with 'One Thousand And One Nights'. The archetypes from those tales gathered from Persia and Arabia (names so much more evocative!) inhabited a fanciful world of jinns and sorcerers, but their bawdiness, realism and the tales' variety of subject matter also anchored them to everyday life. For…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
Image
A friend of mine who was a theatrical agent hired a Leicester Square cinema (back in the days when you could do such things) for his own birthday and had a screening of 'Gone with the Wind'. I saw it for the first time then, and remember thinking, 'Bless Butterfly McQueen, but this hasn't aged well.' I remember the Tom & Jerry cartoons as a kid, and thinking 'Who is this big screaming lady?' It…
25 comments

Years