The Memory of Blood

A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
. 978-0-34552-863-6. M
In modern London, elderly detective Arthur Bryant of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) is an anachronism. "You're still a Victorian at heart," says his equally ancient but more tech-savvy partner, John May. "You'd like to see the return of fog and cobblestone streets and tuberculosis, and sticking kids up chimneys." Although their superiors would love to disband their unit, there is a method to this eccentric duo's madness as they solve cases deemed too bizarre for ordinary police methods. Their latest case involves a locked-room murder at a theater cast party. The suspect? A Victorian puppet. And that leads our sleuths (and readers) into the fascinating and spooky history of traditional Punch-and-Judy shows.
VERDICT With some exceptions (like the preceding Bryant & May off the Rails), this series can be read out of sequence. For newbies, Fowler amusingly includes a secret police document, released on Wikileaks, that outlines the history of the PCU and its team. Fowler's growing body of fans will snatch this one up, and readers who enjoy Golden Age-style mysteries with a spot of humor and gothic atmosphere shouldn't miss this. [A TV series is planned in the UK; Derek Jacobi is rumored to star.—Ed.]
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