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Full Dark House Audiobook

Full Dark House

In Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler tells the story of both the first and last case of an unlikely pair of crime fighters - and how along the way they changed the face of detection. A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of 80-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, May finds his friend's notes of their first case....
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Publisher's Summary

In Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler tells the story of both the first and last case of an unlikely pair of crime fighters - and how along the way they changed the face of detection.

A present-day bombing rips through London and claims the life of 80-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 risqué 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.

©2003 Christopher Fowler (P)2003 W.F.Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (148 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
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3 star
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4.4 (118 )
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3 star
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Story
4.4 (123 )
5 star
 (72)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Russ Scarborough, United Kingdom 09/07/2012
    Russ Scarborough, United Kingdom 09/07/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    170
    9
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    "Where it all begins?"

    How many crime novels start with a death? Almost all of them and this one is no exception except that it isn't what you'd expect..... and I'll say no more, because I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise!

    This is the first book that Christopher Fowler wrote featuring his elderly detective duo, Bryant and May, in their own right. The story centres around a series of murders that happened during the Blitz at the Empire Theatre, and a single murder in the late 90's/early 2000's. The plots skip along at a fair rate, are complex, and will keep you guessing to the end in both cases. The book is chock full of the usual Fowler London trivia and of course Arthur is fabulously rude to almost everyone in the process. There are also a couple hilariously foul practical jokes played on the pathologist, Oswald Finch.

    The narration is up to Tim Goodman's usual high standard although it is sometimes apparent that this was the first novel he read in the series as some of the character voices are still bedding in. Arthur is pretty consistent throughout but sometimes the young John May sounds a lot like Raymond Land does in later books but you soon get used to it.

    So the big question, bearing in mind that there are 9 in the series with a tenth one due in August 2012; if you are new to B & M and fancy dipping your toe in these wonderful renditions of the capital and its quirks, should you start with this one (as logic would suggest)?

    My advice would be no, start with the Water Room (book 2) which is a more conventional crime novel and come back to this one after you've read the first couple as it clears up a few points in the back story of the pair. The reason for waiting is that the jumping back and forth in time between the two main plots of the Full Dark House can get a bit confusing first time around. In fact, the author himself has also suggested not reading this one first; rather a new reader should start with one of the later, more conventional novels.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. S. A. Longley Bromsgrove UK 07/04/2013
    Mr. S. A. Longley Bromsgrove UK 07/04/2013 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Where it all began"

    Having come across Bryant and May in one of Christopher Fowler's earlier horror novels I was interested to catch up on them. The novel mainly takes place in the war with some links to the modern day. I love the main characters and the narrator has created a brilliant voice for each. I love the way the story unfolds, allowing the detectives to ponder various explanations to the events unfolding. The heavy feeling of the supernatural veiling the real events at first leads me to think that it is again a horror novel, but settles into a more pleasing crime novel with a peculiar aspect, which I suppose is the whole point of their unit.



    I am now hooked on the series and will be downloading more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pixie 02/08/2014
    pixie 02/08/2014 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Really enjoyable"
    What made the experience of listening to Full Dark House the most enjoyable?

    The writing


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Full Dark House?

    The dialogue


    What about Tim Goodman’s performance did you like?

    All of it. He has the perfect delivery for this style of book


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    London at it's darkest


    Any additional comments?

    I so enjoyed this book, the characters are well drawn and believable. There is plenty of non contrived humour in it and London really comes alive in the narrative.Tim Goodman is fab, giving each "Player" a real life.I am totlly hooked and cannot believe I have only just stumbled across this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Peterborough, United Kingdom 01/12/2013
    J Peterborough, United Kingdom 01/12/2013 Member Since 2012

    Retired therapist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    92
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Start to a Great Series"

    I found this book quite by chance looking through the crime section on audible and have not read any of Christopher Fowler books before. Bryant & May are very police officers whose story is placed in two time frames and where the story starts with a bang quite literally. A very different approach is taken by Fowler then the run of the mill crime novel ands it is read by Tim Goodman who is ideal for this series given great feeling to each of the many characters. Highly Recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Bridges 25/11/2015
    K. Bridges 25/11/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    14
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Slow to start but great when moving"

    I very much enjoyed "A Full Dark House". It did start off quite slow moving but that was necessary to introduce the characters of Bryant and May. Once it got going, it was a fun story with a lot going on. The characters were well voiced and added to my enjoyment of the whole package. I will be listening to the rest of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dolly 23/11/2015
    Dolly 23/11/2015 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Full dark house - amazing"

    This is the first Bryant and May book I've listened to, it was very enjoyable

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 10/11/2015
    Susan 10/11/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable"

    Excellent value. Well constructed, lots of detail, worth repeating. Well read and characterised. A good book at bedtime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Surinder 20/10/2015
    Surinder 20/10/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Story, performance lets it down."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the performer had been more skillful at bringing out the characterisation. It really doesn't help when the carribbean characters sounds Welsh, and it sounds like one of the main protagonists is raising his voice over a non-existent background noise all the time with little or no intonation. Shame as I think that some of book is quite witty, but you'd never know it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Clever Idea.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Tim Goodman’s performances?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gumblina 07/10/2015
    Gumblina 07/10/2015 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Great Story"

    loved it especially the two main characters. Could not stop listening and am sad it's finished. Will definitely be getting the next audio book in the series. A great story for those who enjoy a good murder mystery. Great reading from the narrator. You will not be disappointed if you decide to purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Sapsford 07/08/2015
    Matt Sapsford 07/08/2015

    I love the entertainment and thrill of a great book which when mixed with passionate narration results in an experience like a 3-d fun fair

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    68
    13
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "As expected, utterly sublime"

    I have been a fan of Christopher Fowler for 20 years and work my way through almost everything but the latter B&M books. When I read this book the characters and their universe sucked me in, hearing the excellent narration has taken the characters to another level. Who would have thought that Bryant actually sounded like Edward Fox.

    I'd love to see more of Fowler's work on here, especially the Roofworld novels and the brilliant Spanky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sara
    07/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not What I Had Hoped"

    I agree with other reviewers that the narration was a distraction. The voices were complicated to follow and tell apart which made the story confusing. The unusual mispronunciations peppering the reading became irritating. I disliked the narration so much that I gave up on the book. I think this is one series I will need to read in print to enjoy. Do listen to the sample first to be sure that it won't bother you. It ruined the book for me.

    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • KP
    United States
    25/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More Than Just a Mystery"

    I stumbled upon this book while searching Audible for another mystery series. Right off the bat, this met several of my criteria:
    a) significant number of books in the series and on Audible (8);
    b) takes place somewhere interesting that I don't know much about (London)
    c) has the added bonus of a fun accent (British)

    And then, once I read the book, I could add well-developed, interesting characters to the list, as well as two cases for the price of one. The case in the present has to do with Arthur Bryant, the eccentric half of Bryant & May (John May is the straight arrow), who is trapped in a building when it inexplicably explodes; and the case taking place in WWII London delves into theater life, the prevailing culture, and Greek mythology to solve a host of murders. This book does a nice job of setting the scene of the WWII times without getting overly emotional about it: Yes, it was unfathomably awful; but Londoners were doing their best to keep calm and carry on. The story follows the detectives as they stumble their way through the 1940's case (their first one) and in turn updates the reader on progress on the modern-day case, all the while being easy to follow.

    The narrator does a very good job with the several voices and accents.

    Note: I use the Goodreads rating system (three stars = liked it, four stars = really liked it).

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas C. Hessenauer
    Baltimore, MD USA
    24/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator issues"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the setting of wartime London for a murder mystery, and the descriptions of the Palace Theater.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I was somewhat put off by the performer mispronouncing fairly common words like "cadaver" and "grimace" repeatedly ( both, according to the reader, with a long A sound), as well as the voice he chose to use as Young Bryant sounding more like a man far older than his early 20's, as he is supposed to be.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Librarian
    OK, USA
    12/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "2 English Detective mysteries for the price of 1!!"
    Would you listen to Full Dark House again? Why?

    Yes, it is a good story well told with many details; history, character & plot development, & contemporary politics. With all that said, even to write this review I wanted to re-listen to the book to be sure of what wrote.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Not on the edge of my seat however; it is a detective mystery after all not a thriller. The story did motivate me to extend my listening.


    What about Tim Goodman’s performance did you like?

    The narration was a little distracting for me. Tim goodman did a good job with all the voices except for the young Arthur Bryant, who sounded the same as the young & aged Bryant. Thus, I downgraded the performance.


    Any additional comments?

    This is still a superb detective mystery. A real PG, no graphic sex, violence, & language. Albeit, an adult "who done it" in twists & turns. I will be adding more Bryant & May mysteries to my library.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Practical Gourmet
    mid-coast Maine
    03/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loathed the narration"
    Would you try another book from Christopher Fowler and/or Tim Goodman?

    I love British mysteries, and this sounded promising, but try as I might I could not get past the narration. What a waste of a credit!


    Would you be willing to try another book from Christopher Fowler? Why or why not?

    Not unless it is by a different narrator


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    Oregon
    04/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable! Great narration."

    A partnership with echoes of Homes and Watson; Phantom of the Opera, Greek mythology, Orpheus in the Underworld, WWII history on a personal scale, expertly segued time shifts, and grisly murders. Excellent narration.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • PickyPicky
    MA United States
    15/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I envy you, reader who hasn't met Bryant & May yet"

    I've just finished the latest (10th) book in the series, and I am a fan!!!

    I recommend this series to anyone who loves great, quirky British crime novels, and who would enjoy getting to know two octogenarian detectives solving crimes in the London Peculiar Crimes Unit. A special unit under the Home Office, they are themselves a Peculiar bunch, Bryant and May and their team.

    Bryant (described as looking like a great tortoise with a long scarf around its neck while fishing lint-covered "boiled sweets" from his pockets now and then and popping them into his ill-fitting dentures) befriends the London occult subculture and scholarly outsiders, looking to London history and intuition. There is lots of really cool and unusual London history in this series! His dapper friend and partner May does the detective scutwork, collecting evidence and using forensics and police resources. Together they solve more crimes than any other unit--while dealing with bureaucratic red tape and political harassment with the London Metro Police hierarchy constantly threatening to shut down the unit.

    Bryant & May, eccentric, annoying and endearing in turn, have intrigued me into advancing through the series, eagerly awaiting the next book with their next adventures. All the while I'm holding my breath hoping these fragile old guys won't croak before we get to read a bunch more of their stories!!

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Sandy
    BUCKETTY, Australia
    23/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable listen"


    A few minor quirks with the narration and generally well read by Tim Goodman
    The story does move between past and present and a couple of times where there was no break it became a 'huh?' moment. Nothing that really mattered too much as the gist quickly became obvious.

    A light enjoyable story. Well yes there are murders or odd accidents. Some good quips from Arthur and enjoyable repartee. It was fun to revist "Orpheus in the Underworld" by Offenbach, which was being rehearsed while peculiar sudden deaths occurred. I actually downloaded a medley from the Operetta to remind me of some of the cheeky tunes..Christopher Fowler's writing was evocative as well as giving the atmosphere of London's streets noirish shadows and fog.

    The solution to the deaths/murders was a little contrived and "no" it did not really spoil the listen overall.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Regina
    Seattle
    29/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lovable old detectives run out of gas"

    While I've enjoyed previous Bryant & May adventures - the plot intricacies, the robust character development - this time, tedium ensued. The past rises up to bite the present in the butt. That's no stretch, but this particular past lacks sufficient teeth for engagement. The entire enterprise felt forced and overly plotted. The writing was, as usual, just fine, and the narrator did his excellent best with dubious material.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Alexandra
    Chicago, IL, United States
    16/11/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Charming"

    I liked the characters and the setting very much. If you love classic British detective novels, this will probably make you feel nice and cozy. Also the theater atmosphere reminded me of Ngaio Marsh. I think I will probably listen to more in this series. The plot is a little improbable, but fun. This isn't realism, but who needs that all the time, anyways?

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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