MYSTERY

Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour

Bantam. (Peculiar Crimes Unit, Bk. 17). Dec. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9780525485827. $28. M
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Sparrow, a young woman, is out seeking rare bats. She sees something odd, but she doesn’t know what she saw. The next morning, Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called to the scene of a murder. Why this particular unit? The murder appears to be a witch’s ritual, and the mainstream police want nothing to do with it. Another victim is found, although the connection is a matter of argument. The second victim appears to be a suicide to all except Bryant, who has alienated most of his coworkers and superiors, as only an aging professional can. This includes longtime partner May. But he usually has the right thread even if he investigates in eccentric ways. How many more victims will they find? Will Bryant and May be working together at the conclusion of the case?
VERDICT Fowler’s 17th installment in the series (following Hall of Mirrors) has all the idiosyncrasies and dark humor of its predecessors but stands alone well. Perfect for fans of police procedurals with nontraditional, especially older, detectives.

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