cover image The Memory of Blood: 
A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Christopher Fowler. Bantam, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-52863-6

A nasty locked-room mystery involving the murder of an infant—and implicating an inanimate oversized Mr. Punch puppet as the killer—kicks off Fowler’s stellar eighth Peculiar Crimes Unit caper (after 2010’s Bryant & May off the Rails). The PCU’s ace detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, investigate the death of Noah Kramer, newborn son of theater impresario Robert Kramer, during a cast party for the London stage mystery The Two Murderers. They determine that someone involved with the production had to be responsible—but who, and why? When cast members begin dying in accordance with the plot of the historical Punch and Judy puppet show, the detectives immerse themselves in an intrigue involving adultery, professional jealousies, and threats to national security. Fowler makes the most of his odd couples’ personality traits—Bryant’s eccentric pedantry, May’s hard-boiled attitude—amid his trademark mix of whimsical humor and macabre thrills. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Apr.)