As a fan of Nikki-ann's blog, NOTES OF LIFE, I knew she loved these books and so I was delighted to find a copy of this, this seventh book in the series, for only 10p in a library book sale.
BRYANT & MAY ON THE LOOSE by CHRISTOPHER FOWLER.
SOURCE: Ex-library stock.
Londoners seem to be loosing their heads .....
Time has been called on the Peculiar Crimes Unit. But as its elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May contemplate retirement, a grisly discovery is made near Kings Cross: a decapitated body in a shop freezer. Then a second corpse is found. Again, minus its head.
And something decidedly strange is upsetting the area's property developers too. A figure straight out of England's mystic past - half-man, half-beast, covered in deer skin and sporting antlers made of knives - has been stalking the area's building sites at night.
Freed up from the system but with limited resources and even less time, it seems the PCU are back in business. The search for missing body parts leads Bryant and May to London's pagan origins and the answer to the question of who really owns the city. The truth is shocking and the detectives realize they have made a very dangerous enemy indeed.
..... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1 'A bit of bad luck'): The sleek metal cylinder was a little over a foot long, snub-nosed and topped with an inverted V of steel.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 61):"Shame on you, you wicked old man! Every time you blaspheme, an angel is stripped of its wings."
MY THOUGHTS: Given that this is the seventh book in the series it worked extremely well as a novel in its own right but then mysteries often do as they are generally self-contained stories. More than that though, just as the first six books in the series were written as a set so the next lot of novels (starting with this one) form a fresh set thus providing a good starting point for those who are new to the books but don't necessarily want to start reading the series from the beginning.
What I'd describe as a cosy mystery as despite its headless corpses it seemed too genteel to be anything other. Bryant & May on The Loose saw the return of the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit).
Original, quirky AND provides the three 'E's' - entertainment, escapism and (informal and fun) education - all of them necessary if a book is to be a good read. With a mythological figure, a mysterious stag-like creature, at its heart there was also a nod towards the supernatural.
Great story telling but more than an intelligent and humorous plot there is the wonderfully curmudgeonly Bryant who has to be one of my favourite characters of 2013.
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