Bryant is convinced that he saw them as they looked over a century before - is elderly detective losing his mind? Then it becomes clear that a number of women have met their ends in London pubs and the likeliest suspect seems to be a mental patient. But knowing who the killer is and catching him are two very different propositions.
As their new team at the Peculiar Crimes Unit goes in search of a madman, the octogenarian detectives ready themselves for the pub crawl of a lifetime, and come face to face with their own mortality...
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©2008 Christopher Fowler; (P)2008 W F Howes Ltd
This is another fantastic book about the fabulous older detectives Bryant and May.Rich characters with a plot that could rival any other.Definately among the best ever,try out the other books by Christopher Fowler.
I think a large problem I had with this was that I was coming in towards the end of a series with established characters. Indeed the first few chapters deal with the wake for a character from previous books. A lot is made of the fact that he died because of a mistake a sergeant made, but we are never told what it was; presumably it was in the previous story.
As a result I just couldn't warm to the characters. The author, through Bryant kept lecturing us, mainly about London pubs, but occasionally on other subjects. I might have found it amusing, but in fact it bored me. It wasn't helped by the fact that when an author lectures his readership he should make sure he gets other facts straight. This one twice made mistakes about the Land Registry, (where on earth did he get the impression that the Land Registry notarises documents when notaries in this country generally deal with matters for other jurisdictions?) and once about how leases operate. These wouldn't have jarred so much if he hadn't been holding himself out as so much of an expert.
The plot itself was quite peculiar, but I think meant to appeal to those who like puzzle mysteries. Others may well like this book; I just wasn't in the mood for it.
I teach computing at a college an hour from home. I get through a lot of audiobooks! I consider the audiobook an art form in its own right.
I liked the premise. A detective duo fighting crime for decades, usually successful but having to live with their occasional mistakes.
But I thought the PCU - the Peculiar Crimes Unit - would be dealing with much more interesting cases. Fowler has form as a fantasy writer - I thought the books would be about apparently supernatural crimes that turn out to be mundane. Or at the very least they'd be "impossible" crimes - you know, locked room murders and so on. Indeed the vanishing Victoria of the title clearly counts as an "impossible" element of the crime, but it's little more than a detail. It's as if a murder took place *next door* to a locked room.
The actual mystery is about a serial killer murdering women. Not my scene. Certainly not interesting enough to warrant the length.
I haven't, I'm not familiar with any of Fowler's other work. But the peculiar thing is (do you see what I did there?) the whole "they're going to close us down" storyline made me groan inwardly, thinking, "Not this again!" Presumably it was Fowler's intention to convey a sense of the Home Office constantly trying to close them down so that even new readers would get caught up in the tedium of it, but it didn't make it any more entertaining.
I got to the end. I think I would have given up quite early if I'd just read it. I've given him 5 stars because he differentiates the character voices well.
I'm not a filmgoer any more. We've got a decent TV and Bose sound system so we'd rather wait till films come out on Blu Ray - then we don't need to worry about idiots nattering behind us, and we can pause for breaks.
If the book were to be filmed, I'd probably get around to seeing it. Eventually.
There were some good bits that made me laugh. From memory:
"Bob Dylan performed there. So did Oasis."
"Is that some sort of pop group?"
"It's more a Beatles tribute band."
The narrator of these stories is first class. I particularly enjoy the way he changes voices for each character which for me enhances my enjoyment of the book.
I love the stories about Bryant & May. Yes they are unusual & perhaps not for everyone but I have yet to read one I haven't enjoyed.
The story's don't end when the murderer is unveiled. The tale is also as much about the various characters & their lives as about the crimes.
If you don't enjoy a crime story with a bit of a unusual slant then give this a miss but if you do give it a go.
Yes, in other Bryant and May books, and I think he's great. It is always clear who is talking, and listening to him gives the book an additional dimension
I would have given this book 5 stars solely for Arthur Bryant's funeral oration - I have listened to it 4 times, and it always cracks me up!
I think I have enjoyed this more than the others - but perhaps I am getting used to all the characters now, which helps.
It was a well written meaty story
Don't know, but a good mystery that kept you guessing
Bryat and May
No, not that kind of book
This was the first of the Bryant and May series we came across. Yes, it was out of sequence but we were hooked! Christopher Fowler weaves an intriguing tale, just how can a London pub be there one day and yet totally disappeared the following day?
The narrator, Tim Goodman, brings the characters to life, the somewhat irascible Arthur Bryant, the suave John May, both long past retirement age and at times employing methods that would never be countenanced in modern police forces!
The Bryant & May series are a must listen!
This story did not go in the direction I expected. There was nothing supernatural about it, it is not like the Tardis in Dr Who! One of the main characters I felt was read a little too old, but the story was easy to follow and well read otherwise. The characters had their humourous side at times and the story continued to unfold to the end.
Love these Books but only if Tim reads them, I will wait a year for the Audio Book
"Another great Bryant and May"
As always, the story kept me guessing to the end without witholding clues or information
Bryant - he's sherlock but older and grumpier
Bryant - Tim Goodman really makes the old man pop
Yes, I looked for opportunities to listen to just a few more minutes, just a few more!
"Enough of the Home Office"
I'm not sure if I'll read another book in the series. I've skipped around a bit. I'm tired of the same issues in each book with Cassabian (sp?). He's always sneaking around, using public funds for his dirty deeds. His character needs to be revealed for what he is and written out!
This was obviously an old story which had been 'updated' by the insertion of references to modern technology. The characters were straight out of the 1960s. I wish it had been a more honest book. The premise was interesting, but it was a character driven work and the characters only just limped over the believable line for me. An OK listen, but not one I'll go back to.
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