Bryant & May: London’s Glory by Christopher Fowler
If you’ve never read a Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes story then this is the perfect place to begin. In this volume of 11 short stories, Fowler presents some of the most puzzling and delicious crimes that this unit has yet to solve.
His introduction includes a brief examination of why crime/mystery stories have such a fascination for readers; what Bryant and May have gotten up to in past books; and a run-down of the members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. This information is very helpful in giving the new (and “old”) reader background to the work of the unit and the personalities of those who work there.
Each story is prefaced by Fowler’s words explaining what inspired him to write it. Often his inspiration came from personal events and experiences and it’s so interesting to see how he was able to take these events and create such wonderfully clever crimes.
Fowler gives us two final chapters in this volume: one briefly discusses each of Bryant and May’s cases to date; the other is a list of the odd, quirky, and unusual books that make up Arthur Bryant’s library and upon which he relies to solve his cases. This library includes such titles as: Colonic Exercises for Asthmatics, Codebreaking in Braille, and The Pictorial Guide to Chairman Mao Alarm Clocks! And he tells us that not all of these titles are imaginary!
Brilliantly written, clever plots, and the oddest of characters! Fowler’s Bryant & May series is at the top of my list of favorite mysteries.