Its a crime tailor-made for the Peculiar Crimes Unit: a controversial artist is murdered and displayed as part of her own outrageous installation. No suspects, no motive, no evidence its business as usual for the Units cantankerous founding partners, Arthur Bryant and John May. But this time they have an eyewitness. According to twelve-year-old Luke Tripp, the killer was a cape-clad highwayman atop a black stallion.
As implausible as the boys story sounds, Bryant and May take it seriously when The Highwayman is spotted again, striking a dramatic pose at the scene of his next outlandish murder. Whatever the killers real identity, he seems intent on killing off a string of minor celebrities while becoming one himself.
As the tabloids look to make a quick bundle on Highwayman Fever, Bryant and May, along with the newest member of the Unit, Mays agoraphobic granddaughter, April, find themselves sorting out a case involving an unlikely combination of artistic rivalries, sleazy sex affairs, the Knights Templars, and street gang feuds. To do it, theyre going to have to use every orthodoxand unorthodoxmeans at their disposal, including myth, witchcraft, and the psychogeographic history of the citys monsters, past and present.
And if one unsolvable crime werent enough, this case has disturbing links to a decades-old killing spree that nearly destroyed the partnership of Bryant and May once before and may again. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is one murder away from being closed down for goodand that murder could be their own.
This is Fowler's 14th book and his fourth in the Bryant and May series that started with Full Dark House (2003); followed by The Water Room (2004) and Seventy-Seven Clocks (2005) which some reviewers felt was a little disappointing. However, all agree that he is definitely back on form with Ten Second Staircase, with some saying that it is his best yet. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Far superior to the author's best earlier work, this fine effort places Fowler in the first rank of contemporary mystery writers and whets the appetite for the next Bryant and May case.
Fowler offers a distinctive prose style and characters so unusual that it is difficult to think of another author's work this creative...for readers who enjoy a bit of the bizarre in their mysteries.
Fowler has a glorious command of language...and has the most fertile conversational patter of anyone ....how many locked-room puzzles can the duo unlock before their Peculiar Crimes unit is disbanded? Many more, one hopes.
The New York Times - Marilyn Stasio
Fowler is in exuberant form here.
Starred Review. This fourth Bryant and May novel delivers a delirious blend of black humor and suspense—recommend it to readers looking for something different in an English procedural.
Fowler lives and works in Soho,
London, where he runs The Creative Partnership, a movie marketing company that
produces TV and radio scripts, documentaries, trailers and promos. He spends
half the day with his company and half writing.
Sadly, The Peculiar Crimes unit does not exist in reality, but it does make for
a great fictional concept. Another great fictional police department that
you may not have come across but is well worth looking out for is UCOS (Unsolved
Crime and Open Case Squad) from the BBC TV
New Tricks series. If you love detective series
starring belligerent old chaps such as Bryant and May, then you're sure to fall
for the team at UCOS - we catch the series on Friday nights on our local PBS
channel in California
Trivia: Non-English readers might miss the pun on our protagonists' names - Bryant & May matches have been a household name in Britain from the
1860s until the present. In fact, the oldest surviving animated film is an advertisement
for Bryant & May matches from 1899 asking the audience...
In this latest atmospheric thriller, Kurt Wallander and his daughter Linda, just graduated from the police academy, join forces to search for a religious fanatic on a murder spree and soon find themselves forced to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners.
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