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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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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
“The most delightfully, wickedly entertaining duo in crime fiction.”—The Plain Dealer
Arthur Bryant remembers these lost cases as if they were yesterday. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember yesterday, so newly revealed facts come as something of a surprise—to everyone, really, not least an increasingly exasperated John May.
Here you will discover the truth about the diva and the seventh reindeer, learn how a consul’s son came to be buried in the Unit’s basement, and understand why a corpse might end up in a swamp of Chinese dinners. There’s an ordinary London street corner that’s prone to strange accidents, and the Post Office Tower plays host to some ghoulish Halloween goings-on—but how a forgotten London legend could be responsible for an apparently impossible death is anybody’s guess. Each of the PCU’s oddest characters has a part to play—and the long-suffering Detective Sergeant Janice Longbright reveals a mystery of her very own.
Twelve crimes in all, solved without resorting to modern technology (possibly because nobody knows how to use it). Expect misunderstood clues, mislaid evidence, arguments about Dickens, various churches and pubs, and, of course, the usual disorderly conduct from the investigative officers laughingly called England’s Finest!
'JOYOUS . . . READERS WILL LOVE THIS FASCINATING BOOK' CATHY RENTZENBRINK
'A GODSEND WITH THE PRESENT SEASON APPROACHING' IRISH INDEPENDENT
'THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A BOOK-OBSESSED FRIEND' STYLIST, 50 UNMISSABLE BOOKS FOR AUTUMN 2017
'EXCELLENT . . . SHOULD BE READ BY ANYONE WHO LOVES BOOKS' EVENING STANDARD
Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead.
So begins Christopher Fowler's foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.
Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner - no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.
These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.
This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.
'A BIBLIOPHILE'S DREAM' FINANCIAL TIMES
'WILL HAVE READERS SCURRYING INTO SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS' GUARDIAN
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 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.
As implausible as the boy’s story sounds, Bryant and May take it seriously when “The Highwayman” is spotted again, striking a dramatic pose at the scene of his next outlandish murder. Whatever the killer’s real identity, he seems intent on killing off a string of minor celebrities while becoming one himself.
As the tabloids look to make a quick bundle on “Highwayman Fever,” Bryant and May, along with the newest member of the Unit, May’s agoraphobic granddaughter, April, find themselves sorting out a case involving an unlikely combination of artistic rivalries, sleazy sex affairs, the Knights Templars, and street gang feuds. To do it, they’re going to have to use every orthodox–and unorthodox–means at their disposal, including myth, witchcraft, and the psychogeographic history of the city’s “monsters,” past and present.
And if one unsolvable crime weren’t enough, this case has disturbing links to a decades-old killing spree that nearly destroyed the partnership of Bryant and May once before…and may again. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is one murder away from being closed down for good–and that murder could be their own.
That’s easier said than done. A lost funeral urn, the eighteenth-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, the Knights Templars, the secret history of pubs, and the discovery of an astounding religious relic may be enough to convince one of the pair to take back his resignation letter. But with Bryant consulting a memory specialist and May encountering a brush with mortality, do the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s two living legends have enough life left to stop a murderous conspiracy…and a deadly cupid targeting one of their own.
For the crew of the New Strand Theatre, the play The Two Murderers seems less performance than prophecy when a cast party ends in the shocking death of the theater owner’s son. The crime scene is most unusual, even for Bryant and May. In a locked bedroom without any trace of fingerprints or blood, the only sign of disturbance is a gruesome life-size puppet of Mr. Punch laying on the floor. Everyone at the party is a suspect, including the corrupt producer, the rakish male lead, the dour set designer, and the assistant stage manager, who is the wild daughter of a prominent government official.
It’s this last fact that threatens the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s investigation, as the government’s Home Office, wary of the team’s eccentric methods, seeks to throw them off the case. But the nimble minds of Bryant and May are not so easily deterred. Delving into the history of the London theater and the disturbing origins of Punch and Judy, the detectives race to find the maniacal killer before he reaches his even deadlier final act.
Whip-smart and endlessly entertaining, The Memory of Blood is an ingeniously intricate mystery from the deliciously inventive Christopher Fowler.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Christopher Fowler's The Invisible Code.
Praise for The Memory of Blood
“[The Memory of Blood] breathes new life into the locked-room mystery. . . . Spiced with a little screwball-comedy dialogue and a touch of the occult.”—The Washington Post
“Great fun.”—The Seattle Times
The brilliant Arthur Bryant and John May take the late, late shift in a cat-and-mouse hunt with a killer who preys on his victims at the same time every night—the lonely hour of 4 A.M.
When a man is found hanging upside down inside a willow tree on Hampstead Heath, surrounded by a baffling assortment of occult objects, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Was this a botched satanic ritual pulled off by bored teenagers, a gang initiation, or the work of a mastermind with grander intentions? Bryant and May set off in search of answers and are soon reminded that London is a city steeped in blood and magic.
When another body is pulled from the river at dawn, it becomes clear that a killer lurks in the night. To catch him, the PCU switches to graveyard shifts, but the team still comes up short. As they explore a night city where the normal rules do not apply, they’re drawn deeper into a case that involves murder, arson, kidnapping, blackmail, loneliness, and bats.
May takes a technological approach, while Bryant goes in search of his usual academics and misfits for help, for this investigation reveals impossibilities at every turn. How do you stop a killer who appears not to exist? Luckily, impossibilities are what the Peculiar Crimes Unit does best.
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.