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Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes. His latest books are the sinister comedy-thriller ‘Plastic’, the memoir ‘Film Freak’ and the haunted-house novel ‘Nyctophobia’. Other work includes the ‘War of the Worlds’ videogame, a graphic novel and a Hammer horror radio play. He has a weekly column in The Independent On Sunday. He spends his time between London and Barcelona..
Christopher Fowler was the winner of the CWA Dagger in the Library 2015.
One year later, in an exclusive London crescent, a woman walks her dog - but she's being watched. When she's found dead, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Why? Because the method of death is odd, the gardens are locked, the killer had no way in - or out - and the dog has disappeared. So a typical case for Bryant & May. But the hows and whys of the murder are not the only mysteries surrounding the dead woman - there's a missing husband and a lost nanny to puzzle over too. And it seems very like that the killer is preparing to strike again. As Arthur Bryant delves in to the history of London's 'wild chambers' - its extraordinary parks and gardens, John May and the rest of the team seem to have caused a national scandal. If no-one is safe then all of London's open spaces must be closed...With the PCU placed under house arrest, only Arthur Bryant remains at liberty - but can a hallucinating old codger catch the criminal and save the unit before it's too late?
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Fowler is one of the hidden treasures of popular fiction, equally at ease writing horror, idiosyncratic cop investigations with his increasingly popular Bryant and May series , SF or even affectionate memoirs about the bookish life that brought him to writing. His new novel is a sheer delight, a sly nod to J.G. Ballard's magical Vermilion Sands series, a surrealistic resort where everything and anything could happen. Fowler's equally exotic locale is actually Dubai, but not as we know it, as a set of children begin to disappear from a luxury hotel, against a background of migrant worker abuse. With subtle elements of horror borrowed from THE STEPFORD WIVES , THE WIZARD OF OZ and ROSEMARY'S BABY , his left of field thriller flatters to deceive in the way Fowler succeeds in dragging a harsh reality into a tale of artifices in an artificial land. Rewarding. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
It's a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls...Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it's even discovered hidden in the PCU's offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial. Rich in strange characters and steeped in London's true history, this is Bryant & May's most peculiar and disturbing case of all.
It's a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls. Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it's even discovered hidden in the PCU's offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial. Rich in strange characters and steeped in London's true history, this is Bryant & May's most peculiar and disturbing case of all.
It's the late 1970s and 20-something. Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. He longs to be a famous screenwriter and put his dreams on the big screen. And so he heads for Wardour Street, Britain's equivalent of Hollywood. But he's made a spectacular mistake, arriving just as the nation's filmmakers are falling to their knees, brought low by the arrival of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces. The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs and instead of being asked to write another 'Bullitt', he's churning out short films advertising boilers and nylon sheets. Somehow, against the odds, he finds success - although in a very different guise to the one he expected. From the sticky Axminster of the local cinema to the red carpet at Cannes, Film Freak is a grimly hilarious and acutely observed trawl through the arse-end of the British film industry that turns into an ultimately affecting search for friendship and happiness.
When Robert Kramer's new young wife goes to check on their baby boy, she finds the nursery door locked from the inside. Breaking in, the Kramers are faced with an open window, an empty cot, and a grotesque antique puppet of Mr Punch lying on the floor. It seems that young Noah Kramer was thrown from the building, but the child was strangled, and the marks of the puppet's hands are clearly on his throat ...what's more, there was a witness. It's a perfect case for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. As John May and his team interrogate the guests, Arthur Bryant heads into the secret world of automata and stagecraft, illusions and effects. His suspicions fall on the staff of Kramer's company, who have been employed to stage a gruesome new thriller in the West End. As a second impossible death occurs, the detectives uncover forgotten museums and London eccentrics, and take a trip to a seaside Punch & Judy show. Then Bryant's biographer suddenly dies. Was it a tragic accident, or could the circumstances of her death be related to the case? There's just one hour left to solve the crime, but Bryant has buried himself away with his esoteric books. The stage is set for a race against time with a surprising twist...
July 2011 Book of the Month. Once again Christopher Fowler has dished up a terrifically riveting story that fans of Bryant and May can't fail to love both for the well wrought characters but also the clever plot line. For those considering dipping into this series then to appreciate the brilliance of this author you should go back to one of the earlier titles. Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit have been given just one week to find a killer they'd caught once before. he's a young man called Mr Fox and somewhat of an enigma. British fiction's most enigmatic detectives since Holmes & Watson return in their eighth wickedly entertaining and intriguing investigation...
The seventh novel to feature the eccentric London detectives Bryant and May, and this is just as strange and compelling as the others. These books are a joy to read, clever, humorous, sensitive, informative and exciting. They also make you look at England’s capital city in a whole new way …. This plot contains the twists and red herrings we’ve come to expect and the characters we’ve come to love. The writing is a wonderful mix of pace and intelligence which appeals on many levels. I can’t recommend it enough. Comparison: Tim Davys (Amberville), Jasper Fforde (Nursery Crimes series), Malcolm Pryce (Aberystwyth series).
A charming memoir of this wonderful writer’s childhood. It has much in common with Bill Bryson’s Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Fowler is English, Bryson American, but both seem to have evolved from similar roots, discovering the fantastic escapism of comic books and eventually graduating to writing for themselves. This is a beautiful, nostalgic look at what makes a writer and an easy, enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
Bryant and May, like Holmes and Watson, Morse and Lewis or Poirot and Hastings are a detailed and engaging pair. This time they investigate a murder in connection with a pub that does not exist. Part fascinating London history, part social commentary, wholly enjoyable, this, like all Fowler’s mysteries, keeps you guessing and leaves you longing for the next one. If you don’t know this cantankerous pair it is time you were introduced. Comparison: Reginald Hill, Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently series), Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes).
Bryant and May, like Holmes and Watson or Poirot and Hastings, are both compelling characters in their own right, but together they form one of fiction’s most pleasing duos. All Fowler’s books are intelligent and well-written but in Bryant and May he gives us more than that. I look forward to each one eagerly and greet it as an old friend. This is the fifth in the series, each of which can be read alone or out of order, but which are most satisfying when followed chronologically. Spiritualism and police work collide in this enthralling and entertaining tale from one of our best writers. A real gem. Comparison: Malcolm Pryce, Jeff Lindsay, Christopher Brookmyre
If you want something a little different, beautifully written and full of surprises, then this new crime series (this is the second) is for you. Starring a couple of wonderfully cantankerous old school detectives, Bryant and May, stumbling around in a fast-moving, modern world, they are the Met’s Peculiar Crime Unit which really says it all. I think he is great.Comparison: Colin Dexter, Robert Goddard, John Harvey.Similar this month: None but try Kate Ellis.
If you want something a little different, beautifully written and full of surprises, then this crime series is for you. We featured the paperback of The Water Room earlier this month. They feature a couple of wonderfully cantankerous old school detectives, Bryant and May, stumbling around in a fast-moving, modern world, they are the Metâ€™s Peculiar Crime Unit which really says it all. I think he is great.Comparison: Colin Dexter, Robert Goddard, John Harvey
It was the kind of story that barely made the news in London. When 91 year-old Alice Hoffman dies of neglect in her top floor flat on a busy London road, the story is upheld as 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, even 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 alone. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And 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 oldest bridge in search of a desperate killer. Just when the case appears to be solved and exasperated unit chief Raymond Land can retire and rest easy, the detectives discover that Mrs Hoffman was smarter than anyone imagined. There's a bigger game afoot that has more terrible consequences... It's time to celebrate Bryant and May's twentieth anniversary as their most lunatic case brings death and rebirth to London's most peculiar crimes unit.
'The most consistently brilliant, entertaining and educational voice in contemporary British crime fiction, the utterly fabulous Christopher Fowler.' Cathi Unsworth, CRIMESQUAD It's a Sunday morning, and the outspoken Speaker of the House of Commons has just been crushed under a mountain of citrus fruit . . . Bizarre accident or something more sinister? The government needs to know because here's a man who knows a thing or two that could compromise its future. Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit should be on the case, however it seems the PCU is no more with one detective is in hospital, the other gone AWOL with the rest of the team having been dismissed. But events escalate, and soon a series of brutal yet undeniably clever killings linked to an old English nursery rhyme threaten society's very foundations and out-of-the-blue the PCU is (temporarily) back in business. And if the two detectives - 'old men in a woke world' - can set aside their differences and discover why some of London's most influential figures are being threatened, they might not only save the unit but also prevent the city from descending into chaos . . .
'Winningly eccentric . . . London, in all its non-homogenous, sprawling splendour, is as much a character as Fowler's sleuthing duo' Barry Forshaw, Financial Times The Peculiar Crimes Unit has solved many extraordinary cases over the years, but some were hushed up and hidden away. Until now. Arthur Bryant remembers these lost cases as if they were yesterday. Unfortunately, he doesn't remember yesterday, so the newly revealed facts could come as a surprise to everyone, including his exasperated partner John May. Here, then, is the truth about the Covent Garden opera diva and the seventh reindeer, the body that falls from the Tate Gallery, the ordinary London street corner where strange accidents keep occurring, the consul's son discovered buried in the unit's basement, the corpse pulled from a swamp of Chinese dinners, a Hallowe'en crime in the Post Office Tower, and the impossible death that's the fault of a forgotten London legend. All of the unit's oddest characters are here, plus the detectives' long-suffering sergeant Janice Longbright gets to reveal her own forgotten mystery. These twelve crimes must be solved without the help of modern technology, mainly because nobody knows how to use it. Expect misunderstood clues, lost evidence, arguments about Dickens, churches, pubs and disorderly conduct from the investigative officers they laughingly call 'England's Finest'! _______________________ What readers are saying: ***** 'Another gem from Christopher Fowler' ***** 'I've loved Bryant & May since I first discovered them' ***** 'A perfect collection of implausibly, improbably impossible mysteries for readers of Bryant and May both old and new'
'The most consistently brilliant, entertaining and educational voice in contemporary British crime fiction, the utterly fabulous Christopher Fowler.' Cathi Unsworth, CRIMESQUAD One Sunday morning, the outspoken Speaker of the House of Commons steps out of his front door only to be crushed under a mountain of citrus fruit. Bizarre accident or something more sinister? The government needs to know because here's a man whose knowledge of parliament's biggest secret could put the future of the government at stake. It should be the perfect case for Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit, but unfortunately one detective is in hospital, the other is missing and the staff have all been dismissed. It seems the PCU is no more. But events escalate: a series of brutal crimes seemingly linked to an old English folk-song threatens the very foundation of London society and suddenly the PCU is offered a reprieve and are back in (temporary) business! And if the two elderly detectives, 'old men in a woke world', do manage to set aside their differences and discover why some of London's most influential figures are under life-threatening attack, they might not just save the unit but also prevent the entire city from descending into chaos . . .
In Which Mr May Makes A Mistake And Mr Bryant Goes Into The Dark Three deaths, seemingly unconnected but for one thing: each happened at precisely four a.m. - the lonely hour . . . At four in the morning outside a run-down nightclub in the wrong part of London, four strangers meet for the first time. A few weeks later a body is found on Hampstead Heath, hanging upside down and surrounded by the paraphernalia of black magic. Then a young man is killed on a London bridge and a woman is attacked in her modern (and secure) luxury apartment. To catch this killer, Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit switch to working nights. While John May takes a technological approach, Arthur Bryant calls upon sundry eccentrics and misfits for help solving what seems an impossible case. But impossible is what the PCU does best. As they draw back the curtain on a city at night, Bryant and May follow a trail of murder, arson, blackmail, kidnap, loneliness and . . . bats. 'The most consistently brilliant, entertaining and educational voice in contemporary British crime fiction' CATHI UNSWORTH 'One of our most unorthodox and entertaining writers' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'I love the wit and playfulness of the Bryant & May books' ANNE CLEEVES
The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder. . . The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May - undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen's evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they've got a decent chap on the inside who can help them - the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel 'Fruity' Metcalf. The house's owner - a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat - is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can't solve the case. It's when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems... So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!
'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
There's a hidden battleground in the skyso says this classic novel from the award-winning author of the Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries featuring Bryant & May. You'll never look at a roof the same way again. . . . Welcome to Roofworld. High above London's teeming streets exists a timeless universe with laws and codes known only to itself, suspended by a complex system of cables and wires. Two rival factions wrestle for control of this elevated realmand eventually the city below. When a beautiful, feisty amateur photographer named Rose and a shy, cynical screenwriter named Robert witness a kidnapping on a London roof, they figure it's an isolated incident. But after strange rooftop murders are reported almost daily, they have to know more. In their clumsy efforts to understand, they're caught up in an intense power struggle between the forces of good and a power-mad tyrant manipulating society's most hopeless citizens. Rose and Robert have a part to play in a war that's nearly invisible from the groundand nothing less than world domination is at stake. Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY
In this stylish Faustian horror novel from the prize-winning author of the Peculiar Crimes Unit series featuring Bryant & May, a young man learns firsthand the perils of dealing with the devil. With a dead-end job, a miserable family, and no romantic prospects, twenty-three-year-old Martyn Ross has a rotten lifeuntil he meets his own personal demon. A Spancialosaphus Lacrimosae, or ';Spanky' for short, he's Martyn's diabolically handsome alter ego, a tuxedoed charmer who's willing to share his wild world of wine, women, and wealth . . . for a price. Under Spanky's tutelage, Martyn gains confidence, career success, even a girlfriend. He's living the good life. But like all demons, Spanky expects something in return. And it has nothing to do with Martyn surrendering his soul. In fact, quite the reverse . . . Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY
A race against time turns into a rollicking scavenger hunt through London lore in this classic thriller from the award-winning author of the Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries starring Bryant & May. When the city hits midnight, everyone becomes equal, and anything can happen. It's 2 a.m. and Vincent Reynolds is running for his life through the storm-swept streets of London. The working-class reporter has discovered an explosive secret, and he's determined to tell the worldas long as he stays alive until sunrise. His adversary: an English gentleman obsessed with puzzles, playing his deadliest game. His allies: a motley crew of insomniacs, misfits, and street people. His only hope: to solve a series of ten lethal challenges that will lead him from dusk to daybreak, through the night life of a secret city hidden even to its own inhabitants. Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY
A suburban horror classic from the prize-winning author of the Peculiar Crimes Unit novels starring Bryant & May, Psychoville reveals the truth about housewives, bloodstains, and the damage one can inflict with a steam iron. England, 1985. When the cruel and heartless hand of urban planning forces fourteen-year-old Billy March and his family to abandon their home in London and relocate to quiet, residential Invicta Cross, Billy holds out hope for a fresh start. Instead, his entire family is methodically and tragically abused by their petty, hostile neighbors. Though Billy eventually befriends a young girl as damaged as himself, he never forgets those humiliationsnor can he forgive them. 1995. Invicta Cross has just been voted ';Britain's Favorite New Town' . . . and a stylish young married couple has just moved in. Glamorous, charismatic, and wealthy, they're instantly popular with the locals. Then a strange series of coincidences begins. As one neighbor after another goes missing, no one suspects that the perfect couple in Balmoral Close might know more than they let onuntil a suspicious reporter sets out to discover the truth. Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY
A twisted take on Narnia, this warmhearted, dryly comic novel from the award-winning author of the Peculiar Crimes Unit series starring Bryant & May transports readers to the last poignant moment of freedom before growing up. Kay Goodwin is a sixteen-year-old boy with a smart mouth and too much imagination, trapped in the most dismal place in England at the worst possible time: the early seventies. Marooned in the rundown seaside resort of Cole Bay, with its crumbling pier and grumbling pensioners, Kay experiences each day as a horrible comedy of errorsuntil he discovers a faraway land with characters who are impossibly exotic yet strangely familiar. In the kingdom of Calabash, he can have everything he's ever wanted from life. There's only one small problem: Calabash doesn't technically exist. In a country that's still hungover from the sixties, Kay finds it all too easy to retreat from reality. But he's prepared to risk everything to find out what makes him different, what his life really holds, and what happens to those who believe in the impossible. Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY
Two chilling volumes are better than one! This collection of twenty-five mystery, horror, and fantasy short stories by award-winning author Christopher Fowler includes a pair featuring Bryant & May, the disreputable detectives from his beloved Peculiar Crimes Unit series. Red Gloves: Volume One escorts readers to the high streets and back alleys of London, where deceptively ordinary events such as an evening out at a local pub can lead to ghastly consequences. Spirits, monstrosities, death, revenge, redemption—it's all in a night's work for the shadowy hands reaching out to seize the unwary. Red Gloves: Volume Two offers a macabre tour around the world. Despite the exotic locations, the fates here are no less terrifying. As innocent travelers wander far from home for a vacation in the Far East or a trip to the French Riviera, they find themselves confronting their deepest, darkest fears—as well as profound epiphanies. Look for Christopher Fowler's fantasy and horror classics, now available as ebooks: CALABASH | DISTURBIA | PSYCHOVILLE | RED GLOVES | ROOFWORLD | SPANKY