cover image Bryant & May off the Rails: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May off the Rails: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Christopher Fowler, Bantam, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-553-80720-2

British author Fowler's outstanding eighth Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery (after 2009's Bryant & May on the Loose) easily conveys the main characters' rich backstories in the course of a typically bizarre series of puzzles. In the previous book, the PCU, spearheaded by elderly senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, apprehended the King's Cross Executioner (aka Mr. Fox), who beheaded his victims, but failed to keep him in custody. In making his escape, Fox killed a police constable. In order to continue being funded, the team now has a week to recapture the fugitive. A series of mysterious events in the London Underground may also be Fox's work: the fatal fall of a single mother down a flight of stairs and the disappearance of a drunken social engineering student after boarding a late-night train. Fowler has few peers when it comes to constructing ingenious and intricate plots—or integrating contemporary technology into a golden age mystery plot. (Oct.)