Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons
by Christopher Fowler

Fowler’s Bryant & May series is a trivia lovers’ dream.  Filled with arcane and esoteric facts they’re a treasure-trove of the weird and wonderful, the fantastic and fabulous.  

When the Speaker of the House of Commons is nearly killed in an absurd “accident” involving a van unloading oranges and lemons, the investigation is turned over to the Peculiar Crimes Unit.  However, they’d been disbanded and had all gone their own way.  Scrabbling to get them back together and finding a new center of operations is no mean feat!  They are joined by a new recruit – Sydney – a young woman who seems to “ring a bell” with some of the team.

Meanwhile the perpetrator of the incident involving the Speaker has upped his game and now has a murder to answer for.  But he is not finished yet as he continues his barrage on churches following the lines of the old nursery rhyme: “Oranges and Lemons”, and adding to his list of the murdered and injured. Bryant pulls out all the stops as he consults the magicians, white witches and sundry others of his followers to complete the picture of the murderer and bring him to justice.

Clever twists and turns and surprises around every corner make this episode in the annals of the PCU as entertaining as those that have gone before.  The quirkiness and eccentricity of the characters provides a laugh on every page.

It’s a great read from the very first page.

Joanne gives this book 5 stars out of 5!
Joanne gives this book 5 daggers out of 5!

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

The Lonely Hour
By Christopher Fowler

When a baffling set of murders takes place across London, the Peculiar Crimes Unit works the late shift to try and find the culprit.  For the murders take place during the lonely hour – 4 a.m.  Headed up by the always pragmatic John May and the oh-so-eccentric Arthur Bryant, the unit struggles to find the common denominator between the murders in the hopes that they can put a stop to the bloodshed.

The often-times irreverent Bryant is at the top of his game again now that he’s recovered from what was ailing him and quickly recruits his usual odd personages and misfits to help him.  May, on the other hand seems distant and pre-occupied with something other than the case at hand, causing friction between him and Bryant.

Like all of the books in this series, Fowler’s latest is character-driven with setting following a close second.  And oh, what fun these characters are.  In fact, in the Acknowledgements page at the end of this book, Fowler says that this was the most fun he’s had with a Bryant & May novel.  And it shows.  Be prepared to laugh out loud and chuckle under your breath.  Reading this book was an absolute delight from the first page to the very last.

Joanne gives this book 5 daggers out of 5!
         Joanne gives this book 5 daggers out of 5!