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Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood (Bryant & May #9)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,341 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
On a rainswept London night, the wealthy unscrupulous Robert Kramer hosts a party in his penthouse just off Trafalgar Square. But something is wrong. The atmosphere is uncomfortable, the guests are on edge. And when Kramer's new young wife goes to check on their baby boy, she finds the nursery door locked from the inside.

Breaking in, the Kramers are faced with an open wind
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published 2011 by Doubleday
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Rivers of London by Ben AaronovitchThe Ghost Map by Steven JohnsonLondon Under by Peter AckroydThe Water Room by Christopher FowlerLondon Under by Peter Ackroyd
Legends & Folklore of London
14th out of 119 books — 15 voters
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92nd out of 165 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,624)
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Dec 04, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be my favorite of the Peculiar Crime Unit series books yet. A locked room crime. The London theater world and the ultra rich. A gorey and sex filled play. Oh so many things to consider. Once again Arthur Bryant and John May lead their cohorts into a battle of sorts to find a killer. And now they are operating in high social circles which might impede an investigation.

There were areas of London society where even the law
was powerless. The gap between rich and poor was not just
one of w
Apr 08, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, detective, 2013, 2015
Review fro Badelynge.
Christopher Fowler's wonderful creations, elderly detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called in to investigate the brutal killing of a young baby taken from its cot in a locked room, shaken to death and callously thrown out the window. And on the floor next to the cot lies a life size Mr Punch doll. As ever Bryant dives into the esoteric aspects of the case while May employs solid police work. The book kicks off with some documents detailing the histor
Apr 09, 2016 KerryH rated it liked it
Afraid I just didn't buy the conclusion to this one, it felt very rushed and contrived. But I enjoyed the first half, especially Fowler's take on the role of servants in the houses of the rich and powerful ... 'They don't see us' he explained. 'We're invisible when we move among them, so we see everything.' And I did laugh out loud at Arthur's love/hate relationship with his mobile phone, I do love his character. I also enjoy the fact that Fowler always manages to introduce me to some new words ...more
Peter Auber
May 13, 2016 Peter Auber rated it liked it
Shelves: ctc-readings
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Hutchinson
Jul 15, 2016 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I am determined to read all the Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit books!! This series is so delightful and is somewhat like the Nero Wolfe books in that the story is secondary to the perfectly drawn characters. The author is a master of the ingenious and slightly cock-eyed style of writing that makes each book a joy even if the plot is totally insane and could never happen in the real world.

In this book, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called into a case which seems to revolve around the historic
I enjoyed this mystery, felt it was one of the better ones, EXCEPT for a baby getting killed. I found that very disturbing, thus the lack of more stars.

I enjoyed the history behind the Punch and Judy and the history of London Theater.Madame Blavatsky was a hoot. My favorite quote in the book was one of her fortunes: Nobody Does Yoga in Wales.

There was also another murder not really relating to the case. It is a definitely to be continued thread.
Nov 23, 2012 Cynthia rated it liked it
ehhhhhhhhh, it was cute but ... i think what happens with some of these series mysteries is that once you get past the initial surprise and delight of the funny characters and situations they start to feel empty. I felt that way with the fourth Flavia De Luce and I've felt that way with the past couple Bryant and Mays. And there used to be more character development in the early books, this one is just kind of a silly plot with nothing much else.
First Sentence: The following undated document appeared on Wikileaks and is now the subject of a government investigation.

During the cast party, someone has murdered the theater owner’s infant son. The bedroom is locked from the inside and neither blood nor fingerprints are found; only the life-sized puppet of Mr. Punch, lying on the floor.

A cast of characters is always helpful, but usually not very inventive. From Page One, it is clear this will not be your usual read with your usual character
Stuart Nager
Aug 04, 2012 Stuart Nager rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read in the series (#8), and I enjoyed it enough to now go and start from the beginning.

Two seemingly doddering detectives in London head up the PCU (peculiar crimes unit): Bryant (a real eccentric) and May. This murder mystery is set in the world of London Theater and puppetry, two things that I'm very interested in, so that is what interested me in the first place.

There are enough twists and turns, and non-linear thinking, leading to the end, that it kept me engro
Nov 19, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, series
A good enough locked-room mystery with some interesting history of Punch & Judy but perhaps a little less quirky than some other books in the series. The absence of Edna Wagstaff is made up for by the presence of Madame Blavatsky. There were also very few dictionary words in this book. What's more, a couple words that would have qualified as dictionary words were discussed by the characters in the book in such a way as to supply the reader with a definition. How wimpy is that? So I was left ...more
May 28, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it
I thought hooray, another Peculiar Crimes Unit book to take away the taste of stupid formula thrillers and self-righteous political preaching masquerading as novels.

Seriously. I'm having a good baseball season and a really good trout season, but reading season has been rough lately.

Anyway, I'm giving this one four stars mostly out of loyalty to Mr. Fowler, who stubbornly insists on writing books for adults. (As opposed to adult books, which nobody does anymore. Alas.)

It's a little creaky. The ma
The Memory of Blood is a smart, well written mystery with a kooky cast of characters. PCU is brought in on the case when a murder takes place behind a locked door and an antique Punch Doll is the only evidence left at the scene. The story is peppered with intriguing plot twists and plenty of red herrings to keep
the reader engaged. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy mysteries.
Jan 17, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
A classic murder in a locked room plot, in a theatrical context. But definitely Meh! Only 2.5 stars because I'm (still) tiring of the characters and because, after multiple red herrings, the final outcome comes in a rush in chapter 49, falling completely flat, since the explanations are so tenuous.
Oct 28, 2015 Judie rated it really liked it
Christopher Fowler uses his successful, witty, and intelligent template as Detectives May and Bryant continue to work to preserve The Peculiar Crime Unit. As usual, the upper levels of the police department are trying to demolish it and the partners work to prove its necessity.
THE MEMORY OF BLOOD begins with a locked room and the disappearance of a child. It involves murders in the theatrical community. At the center are the long-lived character of Punch, a replica of whom is left at the murde
Steven D
Feb 19, 2012 Steven D rated it really liked it
I love Fowler's books. They always have a love of London (my home town) and London history/lore. This one has more of English cultural history as opposed to just London history. Bryant and May are wonderfully developed characters. Their relationship is one of long standing friendship that goes back over decades. It shows differently in this book than others in the series. Somehow more restrained, more trust between them. Anyway, I'm a fan so can't help but love the stories.
Aug 20, 2016 Kaila rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, mystery
The first book I read by Fowler was Off the Rails, and while I gave it the same rating (2 stars) as this one, I much preferred this one. I may be imagining things but I think there was less of Bryant and May in this one, which probably helped, but the ending wasn't overly satisfying. The problem is that if I don't care about the characters then I need to care about the plot, and I just didn't. Some good bits nonetheless, and I managed to read this one far quicker than Off the Rails.

That said I h
Jan Edwards
Jan 06, 2012 Jan Edwards rated it really liked it
Another chapter in the Peculiar Crimes Unit files. Eccentric detectives follow up on crimes with a supernatural twist.

The most refreshing thing about these investigators is their lack of baggage. Eccentric they may be - but they get on with the job in hand without the emotional setbacks so many fictional sleuths seem obliged to cart around with them.

Christopher Fowler writes as always with such style, humour and amazing skill.
Alison C
Mar 13, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit series is a mix of serious crime, strange personalities, impossible events and great humour; and the most recent in the series, The Memory of Blood, brings all those elements together in a unique brew. The Peculiar Crimes Unit, led by octogenarians John May and Arthur Bryant, is called upon to investigate a crime in which an infant is killed and thrown out of a window from an apparently locked and empty room; the only clue is the positioning of a valuabl ...more
Jul 22, 2015 R.L. rated it it was amazing
With exceptional writing and characterization this was an enjoyable read. The two detectives May and Bryant are as different as any two people can be. May does things methodically, while Bryant delves into history, art, and books to find answers. The author's fantastic descriptions should be mentioned. Here is a description of a very minor character: "Nimrod Granville was one of the few men working in London who made Arthur Bryant appear healthful. Tussocks of snowy hair were clumped about the f ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it
not as quirky,or outlandish as some of the earlier books, in fact there seemed to be very little of the usual odd goings on... but still a great story, with two of my favourite characters... who get better with each book.
a simple who dunnit really, with small list of suspects, but the reveal as always comes with those tiny clues I never, as the reader, pick up on.
looking forward to next one.
Dec 13, 2014 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: whodunnit
The first one I read and got me hooked on the author and this whole series. Highly recommend.
Another delightful mystery from Christopher Fowler.

Despite attempts by vaarious Governmant Agencies to shut it down, The Peculiar Crimes Unit is still needed when authorities are faced with an unsolvable crime.

The latest case for the PCU involves a death behind locked doors. Every one of the guests at the party cekebrating the opening of the host's first theater production, The Two Murders, has an alibi. Or do they?

When the PCU begins to look into the murder more and more questions about the mot
Jul 19, 2016 JoAnna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It almost took me whole year to finish this book! I just did not like it!!! Its not that it was poorly written, its just it was not the book for me! It felt really slow paced and I didn't care much for any of the characters! Sorry Mr. Christopher Fowler, I tried!
Pamela Mclaren
Another fun, quick read by Christopher Fowler, who can make two geriatric policemen quirky and smart. As usual they are trying to solve a murder that turns into four, while threatened with extinction of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Funny and witty.
Jan 17, 2016 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, paranormal
Bryant and May and their colleagues in the Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London Police are up to their necks in a strange, "locked room" crime. When the infant son of play financier is discovered, having been thrown out a window 6 stories and only the puppet Punch (as in Punch and Judy) is found in the locked room, Bryant and May are called to investigate. Could Punch, an inanimate object, murder a child, throw him out the window, and then find itself on the floor by the crib? And what about the o ...more
Derek Durant
Apr 01, 2012 Derek Durant rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look forward to reading the rest of the titles featuring the classic characters of Bryant & May.

Alicia Harabin
Apr 03, 2012 Alicia Harabin rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Not the most complex of plots or suspenseful apprehensions, but interesting characters and plenty of fun Punch and Judy history. Another thoroughly enjoyable Bryant and May adventure.
Nov 11, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
Just Finished (54) The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery. It's always a joy to read another in this series of oddball mysteries. Arthur Bryant and John May started the Peculiar Crimes Unit during World War II, and despite their age, continue to investigate cases that are unusual in nature, such as the Leicester Square Vampire, the Deptford Demon, the Odeon Strangler and more.

London theatre producer Robert Kramer's infant son is thrown from a window from a locked room, apparently b
Apr 13, 2016 Ian rated it liked it
Another enjoyable chunk of hokum from the two aging detectives of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Robert Kramer, property developer and would be theatrical impresario loses his child to a murder, ostensibly perpetrated by Mr Punch. Anything to do with the theatre contains good mileage for petty jealousies and motives, and the Punch and Judy link allows Fowler to indulge his love for esoteric Victorian arcana. All great fun, but the series is in danger of downgrading the actual crimes: rather than bein ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Mary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
Booklover's Calendar of 2014 - Thursday, March 27, 2014:
Fans of the BBC's television show Sherlock should adore this mystery series set in modern London, but with a satisfyingly Victorian soul. Arthur Bryant and John May are in their sunset years at the Peculiar Crimes Unit when they are called in to solve the locked-room murder of a child. The backdrop is a traditional Punch and Judy show, and those readers who find puppets freaky will get plenty of fodder for their anxieties on these pages. Ev
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Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.

He lives in King's Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide ins
More about Christopher Fowler...

Other Books in the Series

Bryant & May (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1)
  • The Water Room (Bryant & May, #2)
  • Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, #3)
  • Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, #4)
  • White Corridor (Bryant & May, #5)
  • The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, #6)
  • On the Loose (Bryant & May, #7)
  • Off the Rails (Bryant & May, #8)
  • The Invisible Code (Bryant & May #10)
  • Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May, #11)

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