Bryant and May and the Invisible Code
Winner of CrimeFest 2013’s ‘eDunnit Award’ for ‘the best crime fiction ebook published in 2012 in both hardcopy and in electronic format’.
Two small children are playing a game called ‘Witch-Hunter’. They place a curse on a young woman taking lunch in a church courtyard and wait for her to die. An hour later the woman is indeed found dead inside St Bride’s Church – a building that no-one else has entered.
Unfortunately Bryant & May are refused the case. Instead, there are hired by their greatest enemy to find out why his wife has suddenly started behaving strangely. She’s become an embarrassment to him at government dinners, and he is convinced that someone is trying to drive her insane. She has even taken to covering the mirrors in her apartment, and believes herself to be the victim of witchcraft.
Housekeeping notes from Raymond Land to all staff:
As you know, we now have a fully activated secure swipecard entry system on the front door. It worked perfectly for two whole days, until Arthur Bryant accidentally inserted an old Senior Service ‘Battle Of Britain’ cigarette card into the slot instead of his electronic keycard, and somehow jammed it. The engineers hope to have the system working again by Thursday.
The new common room is to be used as a neutral zone for calm reflection and the sharing of information. It is not an after-hours bar, a videogame parlour or a place where you can stage chemical experiments, impromptu film shows or arm-wrestling matches for beers.
When the fire inspector came to test the smoke detector in the first floor corridor last week, he found a box of Bryant & May matches wedged in place of the alarm battery. Obviously only a disturbed, selfish and immature individual would risk burning his colleagues alive in order to smoke a pipe indoors. I’m not mentioning any names.
I want to put the rumours to rest about our new building for once and for all. While it appears to be true that a Mr Aleister Crowley once held meetings here (and decorated the wall of my office with inappropriate images of young ladies and aroused livestock), the building is most emphatically not ‘haunted’. It’s an old property with a colourful history, and has Victorian pipes and floorboards. The noises these make at night are quite normal and certainly don’t sound like the ‘death-rattles of trapped souls’, as I overheard Meera telling someone on the phone. May I remind you that you are British officers of the law, and are not required to have any imagination.
What the Critics Say
These crime novels have enjoyed a cult following, thanks to Fowler’s writing which has been compared to Agatha Christie and Ben Aaronovitch. A cracking summer read.
– Stylist Magazine –
Bryant and May series… is witty, charming, intelligent, wonderfully atmospheric and enthusiastically plotted.
– Marcel Berlins, The Times –
This quirky series, which describes the Peculiar Crimes Unit and its elderly stars, Bryant and May, does include macabre and horrifying passages, but they are rendered almost cheerful by the wit and humour of the writing… if you like oddities, this series is a very good example.
– The Literary Review –