When a bomb devastates the office of London's most unusual police unit and claims the life of its oldest detective, Arthur Bryant, his surviving partner John May searches for clues to the bomber's identity. His search takes him back to the day the detectives first met as young men in 1940.In Blitz-ravaged London, a beautiful dancer rehearsing for a sexy, sinister production of 'Orpheus In The Underworld' is found without her feet. Bryant & May's investigation plunges them into a bizarre gothic mystery, where a faceless man stalks terrified actors and death strikes in darkness. Tracking their quarry through the blackout, searching for a murderer who'll stop at nothing to be free of a nightmare, the duo unwittingly follow the same path Orpheus took when leading Euridyce from the shadows of Hell.Back in the present day, John May starts to wonder if their oldest adversary might be the killer who took his partner's life. He must work alone to solve a puzzle that began over half a century earlier...
Christopher Fowler has created a fantastic detective team that immediately click and have such great on screen presence that I was surprised to find myself reading at times and not watching a Sunday evening detective series. The banter between Bryant and May is a joy to read and I loved the way it’s obvious that their relationship to each other is the central one in their lives.
Both present day London and Blitz London are beautifully portrayed and I could tell Fowler has real affection for the city. Wartime London especially came to life as people just got on with it despite being surrounded by destruction and uncertainty – makes the impact the snow had on London last year seem ridiculous! There is a hint of supernatural about the case at the Palace theatre with Greek gods and ghostly phantoms looming over the investigation as the death toll mounts and this adds a little touch of spice to proceedings.
Part of the joy of reading mysteries is trying to figure out for yourself who did it and how and I continued guessing with the war time London – although happy to see I had managed to guess the present day solution correctly. I’m curious about the other cases they’ve worked on together and have already picked up The Water House, the second Bryant & May story.
An affable mystery that pulls you in from the start.