cover image Bryant & May: Strange Tide; A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Strange Tide; A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Christopher Fowler. Bantam, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-1-101-88703-5

Can the eccentric London Peculiar Crimes Unit carry on without one of its stalwarts, Arthur Bryant, who seems to be suffering from dementia? That’s the opening challenge for Bryant’s long-suffering partner, John May, and the rest of the PCU, in Fowler’s twisty 13th series whodunit (after 2015’s Bryant & May and the Burning Man). While Bryant is on medical leave, his colleagues investigate the case of a 24-year-old woman who was found drowned in the Thames, chained to a post by a killer who apparently left no footprints. Bryant, who believes the cure for his ailment can be found in a treatise titled Diseases and Treatments of Congolese Tribal Elders 1870–1914, sneaks his way back into the saddle to help out. Sections depicting the shady career of Libyan refugee Ali Bensaud, who, after making his perilous way to England, begins running a series of confidence schemes, tantalize the reader. Fowler once again perfectly balances farce and deduction. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Dec.)