TITLE: The Bryant & May Series
AUTHOR: Christopher Fowler
BLURB: Arthur Bryant and John May are Golden Age Detectives in a modern world. They head the Peculiar Crimes Unit, London’s most venerable specialist police team, a division founded during the Second World War to investigate cases that could cause national scandal or public unrest. Originally based above a London tube station, the technophobic, irascible Bryant and smooth-talking modernist John May head a team of equally unusual misfits who are just as likely to commit crimes as solve them.
SERIES RATING: 8 out of 10
As with all book series some novels are better than others, but without a doubt, the Bryant & May series of detective novels deserve their place amongst the best of the genre. If you like well written British crime novels with a cast of quirky characters and tonnes of twists and turns then this series is most definitely for you.
The two main characters are as charismatic as Poirot or Marple and could quite easily take on Morse and Lewis any day. The relationship between them is evident on the page as is the close ties they have with their team. The added insight we get into the world through the eyes of two police officers well past retirement age but still working at a demanding job gives the stories an added sense of reality.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit may always be under threat of extinction but they always (well almost always) get their man or woman.
I’d recommend this series for a whole variety of reasons, not least of them the excellent writing, but one of the most important reasons is the fascinating detail of life in London in both the past and the present that’s packed into each novel. The plot is wound around the streets and traditions of the real London in such a way that you never feel you’re being lectured but you end up knowing more about the city and its past than your own hometown.
If you’ve read any of the Bryant & May novels which was you favourite and why?