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About Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler was born in Greenwich, London. He is the multi award-winning author of 45 novels and short story collections, and the author of the Bryant & May mysteries. His novels include ‘Roofworld’, 'Spanky', 'Psychoville', 'Calabash' and two volumes of memoirs, the award-winning 'Paperboy' and 'Film Freak'. In 2015 he won the CWA Dagger In The Library. His latest books are 'England's Finest' and 'Oranges & Lemons'. Among his recent collections are 'Red Gloves', 25 stories of unease, marked his first 25 years of writing, and the e-book 'Frightening', a new set of short stories. Other later novels include the comedy-thriller 'Plastic', the Hammer-style monster adventure 'Hell Train', the haunted house chiller 'Nyctophobia' and the JG Ballard-esque 'The Sand Men'. Coming up in 2021 is the 20th Bryant & May book, 'London Bridge Is Falling Down'.
He has written comedy and drama for BBC radio, script, features and columns for national press, graphic novels, the play ‘Celebrity’ and the ‘War Of The Worlds’ videogame for Paramount, starring Sir Patrick Stewart. His short story 'The Master Builder' became a feature film entitled 'Through The Eyes Of A Killer', starring Tippi Hedren. Among his awards are the Edge Hill prize 2008 for 'Old Devil Moon', the Last Laugh prize 2009 for 'The Victoria Vanishes' and again in 2015 for 'The Burning Man'.
Christopher has achieved several ridiculous schoolboy fantasies, releasing a terrible Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, writing a stage show, posing as the villain in a Batman graphic novel, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror and standing in for James Bond. After living in the USA and France he is now married and lives in London's King's Cross and Barcelona.
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Titles By Christopher Fowler
“The best fun is running all over the city with these amiable partners.”—The New York Times Book Review, on Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour
It’s getting late. I want to share my knowledge of London with you, if I can remember any of it.
So says Arthur Bryant. He and John May are the nation’s oldest serving detectives. Who better to reveal its secrets? Why does this rainy, cold, gray city capture so many imaginations? Could its very unreliability hold the key to its longevity?
The detectives are joined by their boss, Raymond Land, and some of their most disreputable friends, each an argumentative and unreliable expert in their own dodgy field.
Each character gives us a short tour of odd buildings, odder characters, lost venues, forgotten disasters, confusing routes, dubious gossip, illicit pleasures, and hidden pubs. They make all sorts of connections—and show us why it’s almost impossible to separate fact from fiction in London.
The brilliant duo of Arthur Bryant and John May uncovers a nefarious plot behind the seemingly innocuous death of an old lady—and when the case leads them to London Bridge, it all comes down on the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
When ninety-one-year-old Amelia Hoffman dies in her top-floor flat on a busy London road, it’s considered an example of what has gone wrong with modern society: she slipped through the cracks in a failing system.
But detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit have their doubts. Mrs. Hoffman was once a government security expert, though no one can quite remember her. When a link emerges between the old lady and a diplomat trying to flee the country, it seems that an impossible murder has been committed.
Mrs. Hoffman wasn’t the only one at risk. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And, curiously, they all own models of London Bridge.
With the help of some of their more certifiable informants, the detectives follow the strangest of clues in an investigation that will lead them through forgotten alleyways to the city’s fabled bridge in search of a desperate killer.
But just when the case appears to be solved, they discover that Mrs. Hoffman was smarter than anyone imagined. There’s a bigger game afoot that could have terrible consequences.
A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of eighty-year-old detective Arthur Bryant. For his partner John May, it means the end of a partnership that lasted over half-a-century and an eerie echo back to the Blitz of World War II when they first met. Desperately searching for clues to the killer’s identity, May finds his old friend’s notes of their very first case and becomes convinced that the past has returned . . . with a killing vengeance.
It begins when a dancer in a risque new production of Orpheus in Hell is found without her feet. Suddenly, the young detectives are plunged in a bizarre gothic mystery that will push them to their limits—and beyond. For in a city shaken by war, a faceless killer is stalking London's theaters, creating his own kind of sinister drama. And it will take Arthur Bryant’s unorthodox techniques and John May’s dogged police work to catch a criminal whose ability to escape detection seems almost supernatural—a murderer who even decades later seems to have claimed the life of one of them . . . and is ready to claim the other.
Filled with startling twists, unforgettable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing, Full Dark House is a witty, heartbreaking, and all-too-human thriller about the hunt for an inhuman killer.
How can an elderly recluse drown in a chair in her otherwise dry basement? That’s what John May and Arthur Bryant of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit set out to discover in a city rife with shady real estate developers, racist threats, dodgy academicians, and someone dangerously obsessed with Egyptian mythology. Linking them all is an evil lurking in London’s vast and forgotten underground river system—a killer with the eerie ability to strike anywhere, anytime, without leaving a clue. It’s a subterranean case of secrets, lies, and multiple murder that defies not only the law, but reason itself. Can Bryant and May bring a killer to the surface and stop the dark tide of murder before it pulls them under, too?
“A clever twist on the traditional police procedural . . . The real thrill here is the delightful duo in the starring roles, two fresh and unusual characters who manage to breathe new life into an established genre in which it’s getting harder and harder to find anything genuinely fresh.”—Booklist
“Humorous, engaging.”—Kirkus Reviews
A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a painting in the National Gallery. Then a guest at the exclusive Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by what appears to be a marshland snake. An outbreak of increasingly bizarre crimes has hit London—and, fittingly, come to the attention of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Art vandalism, an exploding suspect, pornography, rat poison, Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, secret societies…and not a single suspect in sight. The killer they’re chasing has a dark history, a habit of staying hidden, and time itself on his side. Detectives John May and Arthur Bryant may have finally met their match, and this time they’re really working against the clock….
When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes this case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an eccentric team tasked with solving London’s most puzzling murders. Yet the city police take over the investigation, and the PCU is given an even more baffling and bewitching assignment.
Called into headquarters by Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security, Bryant and May are shocked to hear that their longtime adversary now desperately needs their help. Oskar’s wife, Sabira, has been acting strangely for weeks—succumbing to violent mood swings, claiming an evil presence is bringing her harm—and Oskar wants the PCU to find out why. And if there’s any duo that can deduce the method behind her madness, it’s the indomitable Bryant and May.
When a second bizarre death reveals a surprising link between the two women’s cases, Bryant and May set off on a trail of clues from the notorious Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park. And as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, concealed rooms and high-society clubs, they must work quickly to catch a killer who lurks even closer than they think.
Witty, suspenseful, and ingeniously plotted, The Invisible Code is Christopher Fowler at the very top of his form.
Praise for The Invisible Code
“Delightful . . . priceless dialogue . . . Fowler’s small but ardent American following deserves to get much larger. . . . The Invisible Code has immense charm. . . . Fowler creates a fine blend of vivid descriptions, . . . quick thinking and artful understatement. . . . Best of all are the two main characters, particularly Bryant, whose fine British stodginess is matched perfectly by the agility of his crime-solving mind.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Excellent . . . In the light of the challenges that Fowler has given his heroes in prior books, it’s particularly impressive that he manages to surpass himself once again.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for the ingenious novels featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit
“Witty, charming, intelligent, wonderfully atmospheric and enthusiastically plotted.”—The Times (UK)
“A series of narratives that exert an Ancient Mariner–like grip on the reader . . . Christopher Fowler is something of a British national treasure.”—Crime Time
“Quirky, ingenious and quite brilliant . . . If you haven’t indulged you are really missing out. . . . Wonderful, gently humorous stuff, so clever.”—The Bookseller
“A brilliant series of impossible crime novels.”—The Denver Post
“Grumpy Old Men does CSI with a twist of Dickens! Bryant and May are hilarious. I love this series.
It’s an “impossible” crime—a member of the Peculiar Crimes Unit killed inside a locked autopsy room populated only by the dead and to which only four PCU members had a key. And to make matters worse, the Unit has been shut down for a forced “vacation” and Bryant and May are stuck in a van miles away in the Dartmoor countryside during a freak snowstorm on their way to a convention of psychics.
Now, with Sergeant Janice Longbright in charge at headquarters, Bryant and May must crack the case by cell phone while trying to stop a second murder without freezing to death. For among the line of snowed-in vehicles, a killer is on the prowl, a beautiful woman is on the run from a man who seeks either redemption or another victim, and an innocent child is caught in the middle.
Weaving together two electrifying cases, White Corridor is an unforgettable triumph—by turns hilarious and harrowing—as two of detective fiction’s most marvelous characters confront one of human nature’s darkest mysteries: the ability to deceive, deny, and destroy.
The young man they seek is an enigma. His identity is false. His links to society are invisible. A search of his home yields no clues. The Peculiar Crimes Unit knows only this: Somehow Mr. Fox got out of a locked room and killed one of their best and brightest. Facing a shutdown, Bryant and May learn that their man, expertly disguised, has struck again in the world’s oldest subway system. But as their search takes them into the vast labyrinth of tunnels that tie the city together, they discover a fresh mystery as bizarre as anything they have ever faced. . . .
As the city blithely goes about its way, as tales of ghost stations and Underground legends emerge, Bryant and May, men of opposite methods, are each getting closer to what lies hidden at the heart of London’s celebrated Tube—and to the madness that is driving their man to murder.
Sophisticated, fast-paced, and confounding until its final twist, Bryant & May off the Rails is Christopher Fowler dead on track and at the height of his power to beguile, bewitch, and entertain.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Christopher Fowler's The Memory of Blood.
Praise for Bryant & May off the Rails
“Life always seems livelier whenever Arthur Bryant and John May are on a case.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Fowler, like his crime-solvers, is deadpan, sly, and always unexpectedly inventive.”—Entertainment Weekly
Helen Forester’s day starts like any other: Around seven in the morning, she takes her West Highland terrier for a walk in her street’s private garden. But by 7:20 she is dead, strangled yet peacefully laid out on the path, her dog nowhere to be found. The only other person in the locked space is the gardener, who finds the body and calls the police. He expects proper cops to arrive, but what he gets are Bryant, May, and the wily members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Before the detectives can make any headway on the case, a second woman is discovered in a public park, murdered in nearly identical fashion. Bryant, recovering from a health scare, delves into the arcane history of London’s cherished green spaces, rife with class drama, violence, and illicit passions. But as a devious killer continues to strike, Bryant and May struggle to connect the clues, not quite seeing the forest for the trees. Now they have to think and act fast to save innocent lives, the fate of the city’s parks, and the very existence of the PCU.
An irresistibly witty, inventive blend of history and suspense, Bryant & May: Wild Chamber is Christopher Fowler in classic form.
Praise for Bryant & May: Wild Chamber
“Ingenious . . . Fowler brilliantly mixes humor into a fair-play whodunit with an unexpected solution.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For fans of offbeat mysteries, Fowler’s long-running series continues to offer some of the best reading; the latest entry features an array of eccentric characters, a killer conclusion in a library setting, quirky humor, witty writing, interesting side trips and expositions, and a well-ordered, intricate plot.”—Library Journal (starred review)
Hard to believe, but even positively ancient sleuths like Bryant and May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit were young once . . . or at least younger. Flashback to London 1969: mods and dolly birds, sunburst minidresses—but how long would the party last?
After accidentally sinking a barge painted like the Yellow Submarine, Bryant and May are relegated to babysitting one Monty Hatton-Jones, the star prosecution witness in the trial of a disreputable developer whose prefabs are prone to collapse. The job for the demoted detectives? Keep the whistle-blower safe for one weekend.
The task proves unexpectedly challenging when their unruly charge insists on attending a party at the vast estate Tavistock Hall. With falling stone gryphons, secret passageways, rumors of a mythical beast, and an all-too-real dismembered corpse, the bedeviled policemen soon find themselves with “a proper country house murder” on their hands.
Trapped for the weekend, Bryant and May must sort the victims from the suspects, including a hippie heir, a blond nightclub singer, and Monty himself—and nobody is quite who he or she seems to be.
Praise for Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors
“Arthur Bryant has written his memoirs—and a jolly good yarn they make, too. . . . As always in this series, this one’s a lark.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Hall of Mirrors is] a largely comic escapade whose tone evokes both the biting wit of Evelyn Waugh and the slapsticker shenanigans of P.G. Woodhouse.”—The Wall Street Journal
“More fully fleshed-out suspects, clues, red herrings, twists, and honest mystery and detection than in the last three whodunits you read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The narrative [veers] between laugh-out-loud funny to macabre. . . . Eccentric and consistently entertaining.”—Booklist
“Fowler evokes the period as neatly as he crafts the plot.”—Publishers Weekly
“So Agatha Christie (intentionally). And as in a Christie, nothing is quite what it seems as one murder follows another. Love the butler.”—Poisoned Pen Newsletter
The Peculiar Crimes Unit faces its most baffling case yet—and if Bryant and May can’t rise to the challenge, the entire unit may go under. Near the Tower of London, along the River Thames, the body of a woman has been discovered chained to a stone post and left to drown. Curiously, only one set of footprints leads to the tragic spot. “The Bride in the Tide,” as the London press gleefully dubs her, has the PCU stumped. Why wouldn’t the killer simply dump her body in the river—as so many do?
Arthur Bryant wonders if the answer lies in the mythology of the Thames itself. Unfortunately, the normally wobbly funhouse corridors of Bryant’s mind have become, of late, even more labyrinthine. The venerable detective seems to be losing his grip on reality. May fears the worst, as Bryant rapidly descends from merely muddled to one stop short of Barking, hallucinating that he’s traveled back in time to solve the case. There had better be a method to Bryant’s madness—because, as more bodies are pulled from the river’s depths, his partner and the rest of the PCU find themselves in over their heads.
Fiendishly fun and rich in London lore, Bryant and May: Strange Tide is Christopher Fowler at his best, delivering more twists and turns than the Thames itself.
Praise for Christopher Fowler’s ingenious novels featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit
“Fowler, like his crime-solvers, is deadpan, sly, and always unexpectedly inventive.”—Entertainment Weekly
“An imaginative funhouse of a world where sage minds go to expand their vistas and sharpen their wits.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“[Fowler] takes delight in stuffing his books with esoteric facts; together with a cast of splendidly eccentric characters [and] corkscrew plots, wit, verve and some apposite social commentary, they make for unbeatable fun.”—The Guardian
“Mr. Fowler’s small but ardent American following deserves to get much larger.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“The most delightfully, wickedly entertaining duo in crime fiction.”—The Plain Dealer
“Captivating.”—The Seattle Times
“Dazzling.”—The Denver Post
When a prominent politician is crushed by a fruit van making a delivery, the singular team of Arthur Bryant and John May overcome insurmountable odds to reunite the PCU and solve the case in this brainy new mystery from acclaimed author Christopher Fowler.
On a spring morning in London’s Strand, the Speaker of the House of Commons is nearly killed by a van unloading oranges and lemons for the annual St. Clement Danes celebration. It’s an absurd near-death experience, but the government is more interested in investigating the Speaker’s state of mind just prior to his accident.
The task is given to the Peculiar Crimes Unit—the only problem being that the unit no longer exists. Its chief, Raymond Land, is tending his daffodils on the Isle of Wight and senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are out of commission—May has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound and Bryant has been missing for a month. What's more, their old office in King’s Cross is being turned into a vegetarian tapas bar.
Against impossible odds, the team is reassembled and once again what should be a simple case becomes a lunatic farrago involving arson, suicide, magicians, academics and a race to catch a killer with a master plan involving London churches. Joining their team this time is Sidney, a young woman with no previous experience, plenty of attitude—and a surprising secret.