'Bryant & May's Peculiar London' Is Officially Volume 21

Christopher Fowler
If you've been following this blog you'll know that 'Bryant & May's Peculiar London' is not a traditional murder mystery like the other volumes in the series but an investigation of an altogether different kind. The suspect is London itself, with the detectives, along with Janice, Meera, Colin, Dan, Sid, Maggie and various other characters expounding on (and arguing over) their specialist subjects. But mainly, it's a chance for Arthur to share with us what he knows about city life past and present. I've added in as many of the locations from the series as I can without making the book too unwieldy, and of course there's an introduction by the Peculiar Crimes Unit's acting chief, Raymond Land, who has this to say;

Mr Bryant says who better to know about the city’s dark side than a copper, but my rule of thumb is, if you know something disgusting about London keep it to yourself and certainly don’t mention it on speed dates.

I was off sick when we did history so I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know that Mr Bryant’s version is gibberish. He rewrites the past to incorporate his dreams or things he wishes had happened when they patently did not. And he dwells on what’s not there more than what’s left. I tell him, you can’t live in the past, not when the rest of us have to live in the present.

It would help if he put his thoughts in some kind of order instead of behaving like the bloke who sits in the corner of the Dog & Duck telling everyone why his wife paid to have him killed.

The trickiest part of the project was marshalling all of the material into a coherent narrative so that it didn't feel scattergun. I did this by trusting the characters to leap from one subject to the next as we would in everyday conversation. I considered taking the approach further and weaving the whole thing around one drunken night at the pub, but it would have lost the element of surprise and readers would really not have been able to tell what was real or false. Bryant's narration is unreliable, of course, but truthful and passionate, and the facts are as verified as any book featuring London can ever be. The end result has surprised even me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as the pleasure it gave me writing it.


Stu-I-Am (not verified) Thu, 28/04/2022 - 14:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I, for one, don't/didn't read B&M for historical certitude. But then, I doubt any history of London is 100% 'reliable.'

Paul C (not verified) Thu, 28/04/2022 - 15:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It sounds like a marvellous book already - especially as it was so pleasurable to write. I hope it's a great success. You certainly deserve it after the last couple of years.

Jo W (not verified) Thu, 28/04/2022 - 15:31

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Looking forward even more now to reading about ‘one drunken night at the pub’. Sounding good, as I and ‘im indoors have experienced more than a few of those in our time.
We still wonder about how we got home that evening after the Hallowe’en book signing at Forbidden Planet a few years ago…………

Richard Stone (not verified) Thu, 28/04/2022 - 18:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Can’t wait to red this. Many many thanks must go to you Christopher for working hard to get this written. You are a legend amongst us B&M fans.

Anna-Maria Covich (not verified) Fri, 29/04/2022 - 12:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I can't wait. So excited!

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 29/04/2022 - 12:45

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A few posts back you seemed to have some concerns about your writing. Your ending comments here cause me to think you are feeling a bit better about things. Am very much looking forward to "Bryant and May's Peculiar London".
It will be like having Christmas in July!

Gary Locke (not verified) Fri, 29/04/2022 - 13:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I know that it's a labor of love, which makes it all the more irresistible.

Debra (not verified) Fri, 29/04/2022 - 15:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

With such a long and rich history, London will have folklore passed on as its history, which is part of its charm. Can’t wait to hear Arthur and friends tales of my favorite city. How delightful it will be. Planning on gin and tonics to accompany my reading.

James Devlin (not verified) Fri, 29/04/2022 - 20:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So THE CASEBOOK is not an "official" title? Glad I have it, along with RUNE, DARKEST DAY, SOHO BLACK, etc...

Christopher Fowler Sat, 30/04/2022 - 10:14

In reply to by James Devlin (not verified)

No, CASEBOOK is a graphic novel, but also from a different independent publisher and in a different format, so it's not part of the canon.

Helen+Martin (not verified) Sat, 30/04/2022 - 21:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hmph. It is by The Author and is about The Characters so it's canon as far as I'm concerned; different format, different publisher don't make a difference. The Sherlock Holmes canon includes all the Strand stories as well as all the book format ones and that's a different publisher, too.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Sun, 01/05/2022 - 17:22

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

@Helen+Martin So Helen, you would call it a 'loose canon,' would you ? (Stop me before I hurt myself...)

Helen+Martin (not verified) Mon, 02/05/2022 - 18:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Stu, it's only Monday and already you're having a great week.

Paul C (not verified) Tue, 03/05/2022 - 10:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

That's brilliant, Stu. Smile of the week !

andrea yang (not verified) Thu, 05/05/2022 - 15:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I hope to pick up a copy when i visit London in July!