cover image Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Christopher Fowler. Bantam, $28.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-525-48592-6

In Fowler’s outstanding 18th Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery (after 2019’s The Lonely Hour), budget reductions have led to the disbanding of the PCU, a “specialized London police division with a remit to prevent or cause to cease any acts of public affright or violent disorder,” but not for long. The unit’s two senior detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are pressed back into service after the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Claremont, is nearly killed when, in an apparent accident, crates of oranges and lemons fell out of a parked van and toppled onto him. That this incident occurred near St. Clement Danes, a London church linked to those fruits in the old English nursery rhyme, leads Home Office higher-ups to fear that Claremont was targeted. Even as Bryant and May try to figure out how the so-called accident could have been planned, more assaults echoing the nursery rhyme occur, all fatal. Fowler again tests his leads with a bizarre series of crimes while devising a satisfying resolution. This long-running series remains as vital as ever. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Dec.)