BookBrowse Reviews The Water Room by Christopher Fowler

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The Water Room

The Second Bryant & May Mystery

by Christopher Fowler

The Water Room by Christopher Fowler
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 512 pages

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Detection's oddest, and perhaps oldest, couple go underground

From the book jacket: They are detection's oddest couple: two cranky detectives whose professional partnership dates back half a century. Now Arthur Bryant and John May, of London's 'Peculiar Crimes Unit' return in a case of multiple murder that twists through a subterranean course of secrets, lies, and extreme passions that drive even ordinary men and women to the most shocking crimes.

Comment: Publishers Weekly awards The Water Room a 'starred review' and Booklist also praises saying, 'the real thrill here is the delightful duo in the starring roles, two fresh and unusual characters who manage to breathe new life into an established genre in which it's getting harder and harder to find anything genuinely fresh. However, Kirkus Reviews is more guarded describing it as 'humorous, engaging, at times incoherent'. The New York Times has the final word saying, 'the plot isn't designed to make sense but to draw us into an imaginative funhouse of a world where sage minds go to expand their vistas and sharpen their wits.

This is Fowler's 12th novel and the second in his Bryant & May series, the first being Full Dark House. He 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.

Although he began as a writer of humorous books, he now focuses on what he describes as 'urban unease'. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is Fowler's invention - it handles crimes that the regular police are not equipped to deal with, cases that could cause social panic and ones that require sensitive handling. Full Dark House is set in 1940s London, but this second book is set in the 1990s. Fowler says, 'you know from the first book that they work together for fifty years, so I'm not too worried about being sequential'.

The third in the series, Seventy-Seven Clocks, was published last year, in what looks to be a paperback original (at least in the USA), and Ten Second Staircase will be published in hardcover in late June. Fowler says he is planning at least six books in the series, maybe more.

This review was originally published in July 2005, and has been updated for the March 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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