Bryant & May – England’s Finest

More Lost Cases from The Peculiar Crimes Unit

By Christopher Fowler

Published by Doubleday

I believe Christopher Fowler to be one of England’s great writers of fiction, up there as a shining star in the pantheon of greats such as Charles Dickens, M.R. James, Agatha Christie, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

The fact that Christopher is, unlike the above-mentioned writers, still alive and creating wonder-inspiring stories is an added bonus. I liken it to, when Conan Doyle was alive, readers looking forward to the latest adventure of Sherlock Holmes in The Strand.

Christopher is, I can add from personal experience, a very nice man, who very kindly took the time to sign many of my copies of his books over the years, which is much appreciated to this day.

Christopher’s Bryant and May stories take place in a reality all of their own. The characters appear deathless, as though, like the city they solve crimes in, London, they have always been there, and hopefully always will: the once-and-future detectives, ready when England calls!

Bryant and May (named after the box of matches of the same name, and, Christopher told me, modelled on the great Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) are part of the splendidly named Peculiar Crimes Unit, who, as you’d expect, deal with extraordinary cases. If you look at Sherlock Holmes, for instance, you see this is very much a proud tradition in English detective fiction.

Here we find several tales about some of the most unusual lost cases of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. The short story is not a medium for every writer but Christopher handles it superbly, and readers old and new will love these tales of Bryant & May.

And I still can’t believe that their adventures haven’t been adapted into a TV series.

One day…

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (