The odd couple of detection-the brilliant but cranky detectives of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit-return in a tense, atmospheric new thriller that keeps you guessing until the final page. This time Bryant and May are up against a series of bizarre murders that defy human understanding-and a killer no human hand may be able to stop. A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a painting in the National Gallery. Then a guest at the exclusive Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by what appears to be a marshland snake. An outbreak of increasingly bizarre crimes has hit London-and, fittingly, come to the attention of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Art vandalism, an exploding suspect, pornography, rat poison, Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, secret societies…and not a single suspect in sight. The killer they're chasing has a dark history, a habit of staying hidden, and time itself on his side.
Set in 1973, Fowler's bloody and compelling third mystery to feature eccentric London detectives Arthur Bryant and John May details how the pair first joined Scotland Yard's Peculiar Crimes Unit. The murders Bryant and May investigate more than fit the unit's mission to handle cases outside the norm-an elderly lawyer is found poisoned in a hotel lobby, apparently from a snake bite, while other victims are killed by toxic makeup and a starved tiger. The odd sleuthing couple find that these terrifying crimes are all connected with the strange Whitstable family, whose Victorian patriarch founded a bizarre group called the Alliance of Eternal Light. Fans of the previous books in the series, Full Dark House and The Water Room, will appreciate the portrait of a younger Bryant and May, but even they are likely to feel let down by the far-fetched solution. Still, that won't erase the pleasure of a twisty thriller, full of action and plot surprises. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 01, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler
She recognized the symptoms immediately.
The stipple of sweat in the small of her back. Ice-heat prickling her forehead. A sense of skittering panic in the pit of her stomach. As she walked faster, she thought: This is absurd, it can't harm me. But beneath her mind's voice ran another, dark and urgent. It's not the night, but what waits in it.
The sun had barely set, but the road ahead was indistinct in the fading light. She refused to consider what might be out there. The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman, hissed the voice, a phrase recalled from her schooldays. She had no intention of meeting the prince this evening, and quickened her pace, not daring to look back. The clouds of night opened like ink blossoming in water, threatening to overtake her. Blackbirds skirted the trees, taking measure of the rising wind.
For as long as she could remember, Jerry Gates had been terrified of the dark. The cause of this nyctophobia was beyond the reach of recollection: some early trauma at the top of the stairs, perhaps. Her mother accused her of having an overactive imagination; she made it sound like a harmful thing. Others would have seen misted fields on either side of the road, bare elm trees blurring in the dusk. Jerry could see demons swarming.
She tried to read her watch, but it was too dark. Screw Nicholas and his country weekend, she thought. If he'd shown some warning sign of his intentions, she would never have come in the first place. The man should have been wearing a red toggle, Pull To Inflate Ego, like a life jacket. His personality had changed the moment he'd realized that she wasn't going to bed with him.
Now it was almost dark, and she was stuck in the deserted Kent countryside on a Sunday night, without a car, in the freezing cold, with an irrational dread nipping at her, goading her into a trot. She was a town girl, used to city lights and cars and sirens and people. It's so quiet around here you could hear a cow break wind five miles away. Where the hell is everybody?
She thought back over the weekend, and the mistake she had made in accepting his invitation. On Saturday morning they had 'motored down to the lodge'--Nicholas's words, as if they were living in the roaring twenties-in the red MG that kept stalling, its roof folded back to admit the freezing country air.