Christopher Fowler (http://www.christopherfowler.co.uk/blog/) has been chronicling the adventures of Bryant & May for some time now and I have to admit that it was David here at the Corvus Rookery who introduced me to the delights of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit. I have so enjoyed following their endeavours to rid the city of such criminals as the Leicester Square Vampire while having to contend with increasingly hostile management from the Home Office, that I want to let you into the secret.
Initially set up during the Second World War to deal with cases that could adversely affect the nation’s morale, the Peculiar Crimes Unit handles bizarre cases and find connections that anyone else would have missed. As with any series there is continuing delight from the characters that people the PCU, especially the two elderly detectives who refuse to be either promoted or pensioned off. They each personify a different approach to detective work, one modern, tech savvy, suave and a ladies’ man; the other intuitive, sensitive to the psychogeography of the city, it’s history and liable to involve mystics, witches and all manner of unorthodox methods.
Fowler is a class act. His love of the city shines through each paragraph, London is the third character in this series, as we read, we learn of the history of this city, the layer upon layer of half remembered events and people that still influence the present. I have savoured every one of the series, and I wait impatiently for the new volume The Invisible Foe to be released on 2nd of August.
Fowler writes beautiful prose and weaves complex plots that yield their secrets slowly. His characters are believable, their motivations like our own. Each novel wears its’ research easily, it aids the telling of the tale, it is not flash, or merely an information dump that you come across in inferior authors work. You have a week to catch up on the first nine books, so you’d better get on with it, hadn’t you.