cover image Bryant & May: Wild Chamber; A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Wild Chamber; A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Christopher Fowler. Bantam, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-1-101887-06-6

In British author Fowler’s ingenious 14th whodunit featuring London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit (after 2016’s Bryant & May: Strange Tide), PR executive Helen Forester is strangled while walking her dog in a private garden. Somehow someone entered and exited the garden, which is for the exclusive use of the residents of Clement Crescent, unseen by Ritchie Jackson, the gardener on duty at the time. Helen’s murder occurs less than a year after the freakish death of her seven-year-old son, Charlie, after a glass fragment entered his eye and caused a fatal blood clot. Might there be a connection? The PCU’s investigation is spearheaded by its oddest and most successful investigator, Arthur Bryant, who has been experiencing lucid dreams, including one in which he converses with 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys. Meanwhile, the unit’s perpetual foe, specialized police budget overseer Leslie Faraday, schemes to use Helen’s murder as a pretext to privatize London’s green spaces and eliminate the PCU once and for all. Fowler brilliantly mixes humor into a fair-play whodunit with an unexpected solution. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Dec.)