Ten Second Staircase: A Bryant and May Mystery
Bantam, 2006 (2006)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
Peculiar Crimes Unit
is back in the fourth episode in this unusual mystery series - investigating serial killings in their own
fashion, besieged (as always) from above as their superiors attempt to close the unit down, and haunted by a past cold case that has had devastating repercussions for May's family.
eriatric detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are still employed, despite their highly unorthodox methods and the disdain of their Metropolitan Police colleagues, because they have had significant past successes. But they also had a major failure - the case of the
Leicester Square Vampire
was never solved, and May's daughter Elizabeth was murdered. This tragedy left his granddaughter April psychologically damaged. But, despite her residual agoraphobia, May coaxes April to join the PCU, where she proves to be an effective addition.
s the story opens, Bryant is, rather unsuccessfully, giving a lecture to teens from the prestigious St. Crispin's Boys' school. He meets them again after the
claims his first victim, an artist found dead, floating in her own highly controversial sculpture - one of the boys was a witness. '
A politically sensitive situation, an impossible crime, a murky motive, no obvious leads, and a suspect who's been dead for nearly three centuries.
' Who else but the PCU could catch the case?
ore demi-celebrities die and there are spottings of the
at each location. As the story catches the public's imagination via the tabloids (which begin to portray the perpetrator as a cult hero), Bryant delves into witchcraft, the history of past London villains - including highwaymen and Robin Hood - and the PCU's old
Leicester Square Vampire
investigation. Subtle clues accumulate, and the elderly detectives are at a loss to solve the case, though they eventually do so at great personal risk.
hough I missed the earlier episodes, I enjoyed this mystery
, whose investigative talents and personalities are complementary, and who share the belief that '
Truth and fairness are more important than procedure.
Ten Second Staircase
, Christopher Fowler offers a complex, intriguing puzzle with surprising resolutions to both the modern and the cold case.
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more Mystery books on our
or in our book