Summary and book reviews of Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

Ten Second Staircase

Bryant & May Mysteries

by Christopher Fowler

Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler X
Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 496 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

It’s 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 – it’s business as usual for the Unit’s 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 boy’s 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 killer’s 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, May’s 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, they’re going to have to use every orthodox–and unorthodox–means at their disposal, including myth, witchcraft, and the psychogeographic history of the city’s “monsters,” past and present.

And if one unsolvable crime weren’t 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 good–and that murder could be their own.

1
CRADLE TO GRAVE


MEMORANDUM
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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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).

Full Review (236 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.

Library Journal
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.

Kirkus Reviews
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.

Booklist
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.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

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 ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Christopher Fowler

If you liked Ten Second Staircase, try these:

  • The Rabbit Factory jacket

    The Rabbit Factory

    by Marshall Karp

    Published 2007

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Bringing a fresh duo of cops to the thriller set, The Rabbit Factory is both suspenseful and satiric; a taut mystery wrapped in sharp, comedic prose.

  • Before The Frost jacket

    Before The Frost

    by Henning Mankell

    Published 2006

    About this book

    More books by this author

    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.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Heavens
    The Heavens
    by Sandra Newman
    I've been a big fan of Sandra Newman's writing ever since reading her 2014 novel The Country of Ice ...
  • Book Jacket: Sugar Run
    Sugar Run
    by Mesha Maren
    Mesha Maren's debut novel is a plunge into the depths of the dark Southern gothic with pulsing and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Year of the War
    by Susan Meissner

    A little-known story of WWII with great resonance for our times.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A People's History of Heaven
    by Mathangi Subramanian

    A story of love and friendship, and fighting for the places we love.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.