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.
CRADLE TO GRAVE
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Attachments Supplied: 3458SD, 19904KT
To: Leslie Faraday, Senior Home Office Liaison Officer
From: Raymond Land, Acting Head, PCU, London NW1 3BL
Date: Monday, 17 October
Dear Mr Faraday,
Thank you for your correspondence of 26 September requesting further details concerning my tenure at the North London Peculiar Crimes Unit.
If I understand you correctly, you wish me to outline the recent problems I have experienced at this unit from a personal perspective. While I am loath to commit myself in writing over such a delicate matter, and dislike 'telling tales' on staff members despite their extreme lack of co-operation over the last few months, I feel the time has come to unburden myself to someone in a position of greater authority. In short, Mr Faraday, I can no longer maintain my silence. I have simply reached the end of my tether.
I appreciate that, as the 'new broom' at HO Special ...
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).
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 ...
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