'A suitably Gothic building in which to begin a murder investigation,' said Bryant, relishing the throught. 'But our duty is to the innocent. For that reason we must enter the realm of darkness.'
When the "sixth and final" Bryant & May mystery from Christopher Fowler is published in the US this October (the "true first" will release in the United Kingdom on June 30), readers of this madcap series will realize there have been clues laid for the finale, all the way from the first book, FULL DARK HOUSE. That's what Fowler promises on his web site, www.christopherfowler.co.uk, where he also clears up some wild rumors and reveals his upcoming author events. Somebody bring that author over to this side of the Atlantic, quick!
Better yet, now is the time to buckle down to reading the first five books in the series (the fifth and latest was WHITE CORRIDOR, which came out last May). The series opens during the Blitz, the years of bombing that London endured during World War II; it's a great setting for disappearances, violence, shell shock, all the confusion and loss of warfare within a congested city. And Arthur Bryant and John May, as members of the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit, get the wierdest of the city's crimes dumped in their laps. Solve 'em or see your job vanish, that's the situation.
Dave and I had missed out on this series, but heard about it when we visited Vermont's newest bookshop, Mystery on Main Street (119 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, 802-258-2211, www.mysteryonmain.com). The shop is in some ways our mirror image: designed to sell new books, mainly paperbacks, whereas we work from the wide range of mysteries from 1900 forward (more than half, of course, after 1980). So conversation was dandy, ranging from Australian author Arthur Upfield and his Bonaparte series (why on earth aren't these in print? here at Kingdom Books, we've even gathered softcovers and shipped them back to the eager market in New Zealand and Australia!), to the hot new Brazil-set work of Leighton Gage, to the substantial established authors we all "must read" (Michael Connelly, S. J. Rozan, the Kellermans, Laurie King). No question about it, more mystery bookshops mean more delight for all of us.
At any rate, M-on-M's owner, David, popped the softcover version of FULL DARK HOUSE into our hands, and ... boy, am I glad! Let's see, if I plan one more Christopher Fowler for each month, I should be ready for October. Or, hmm, could I read them all quickly enough to make it worth ordering a British copy at the end of June? Could be!