cover image Seventy-Seven Clocks

Seventy-Seven Clocks

Christopher Fowler, . . Bantam, $6.99 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-553-58715-9

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.)