The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
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The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May #9)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  654 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Christopher Fowler’s acclaimed Peculiar Crimes Unit novels crackle with sly wit, lively suspense, and twists as chilling as London’s fog. Now the indomitable duo of Arthur Bryant and John May, along with the rest of their quirky team, return to solve a confounding case with dark ties to the British theater and a killer who may mean curtains for all involved.

For the crew of...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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Michael
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...more
Stuart Nager
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...more
Patrick
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...more
LJ
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...more
Steven D
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.
Cynthia
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.
Jan Edwards
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.
Louise
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.
Roy
This was a strange read, and I'm not sure if my reaction to it is because of the book or my expectations. The central mystery was fine and generally well executed, and the cast of characters was interesting, but I was honestly expecting something a little more... I don't know... far fetched? Fantastic? I think that the name of the series, combined with the sort of absurd ways that detective Bryant led me expect something more like a Terry Pratchettesque take on police procedural. This isn't a cr...more
Derek Durant
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
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.
Mary
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...more
Scott
Reliably brilliant, full of wit, character and a love of the bizarre and macabre.
Adam Stone
The Memory of Blood is very much Bryant and May by numbers with all of the best bits of all the previous eight novels (i.e. the characterisations of the regulars in the peculiar crimes unit, and the sort of crimes that come their way, which are never straightforward and simple) all present and correct and lots more of minutiae about the history of London (which is a hell of a lot more interesting that I thought that it would be) and some more esoteric subjects which are not usually mentioned in...more
Ray Palen
What I enjoy best about Christopher Fowler’s hugely entertaining Peculiar Crimes Unit series starring Inspector’s Bryant and May --- and there are many things to enjoy --- is the fact that each novel can be read on its’ own without having to know the entire series.

Mind you, I think it’s a good idea to stick to chronological order whenever reading a series --- if for nothing else just to see the chemistry between the various characters grow with each successive novel. Fowler himself indicates at...more
Susanne E
Another solid addition to a reliably entertaining series. The actual case in this one, a series of gruesome murders involving a theatre troupe and Punch and Judy puppets, wasn't my favorite of Fowler's inventions, but as usual the complicated web of London trivia, history, geography and mythology made up for everything else. After living in London for a year, I admire Fowler's use of London almost as the "third character" (as he puts it himself) even more, and I finally have an inkling of what i...more
Tony
THE MEMORY OF BLOOD. (2012). Christopher Fowler. ***.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I discovered that he is a prolific British author of – mostly – crime novels featuring the duo of Bryant and May. This novel is either the ninth or tenth in that series. He has also authored books in the sci-fi/fantasy world, and writes a periodic column about “Neglected Authors” for a London newspaper. Back to this book. Arthur St. Johns Bryant and John May are both Senior Detectives of London...more
Shaz Goodwin
I’ve read previously #7 in this series (Bryant & May on the Loose) in the days before blogging and I chose #5 (The Water Room) for my choice in The Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge. When I saw #9 The Memory of Blood on Netgalley, having enjoyed the other two stories so much, I requested approval.

At the beginning of the uncorrected proof copy is a breakdown of the purpose of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) and the characters. It was great to see the same characters … I knew I was going...more
Wolf
This is a review of the audio CD of 'Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood', the ninth story in a series but my first taste of Bryant and May.

The recording is entirely acceptable. The reading is generally good. Certain accents are clearly not the strong point of the actor doing the reading - a female Asian detective has a very strange voice that sometimes sounds closer to West Indian than anything else, for example. The general characterisation, however, is very well done and overall the tell...more
Lara
I have been interested in picking up Full Dark House for a while now, but didn't realize this was the same series when I signed up on the First Reads giveaway. When I won the book and realized it was the 9th in the series I wondered if I would have trouble feeling like I knew the characters. I needn't have worried. The book is written in such a manner that it is completely unnecessary to have read the earlier books. Background is provided about the different characters early on in a case file. A...more
Ann Sloan
Arthur Bryant and John May are delightful. I wish I had the pleasure of meeting them, especially Arthur Bryant. He defines the English eccentric. Set in London, most of the books’ locations are recognizable London landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Gallery and various theatres. One fascinating element was featured in The Water Room was the networks of tunnels and underground rivers underneath the city. One of the magnificent benefits of reading is the ability to visit places whe...more
Miles
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 window, an empty cot, and a grotesque antique puppet of Mr Punch lying on the floor. It seems that young Noah Kramer was thrown f...more
Patricia Weenolsen
The Memory of Blood, by Christopher Fowler, published by Bantam Books, 2011


The two oldest members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit in London don’t often totter (even though their unit does). Arthur Bryant is sloppily brilliant, and John May is brilliantly tolerant of his partner’s failings and a good match for his wit; they are once again on the case.

A theatre group boasts members whose characters are more eccentric than the ones they play. These include a murderer, Mr. Punch, the puppet of Punch and...more
Madonna
Another great entry in this series. Why do they have to be so old? That certainly suggests an end to them and the series. I'm not sure either Bryant or May would be so effective working with a different partner, even though the whole team is great and effective in their eccentricities.
The introduction of the Punch and Judy information was a new twist. I didn't know any true history or background of the puppets and their shows, so this was a new angle for me. But then that is what I've come to ex...more
Ralph
Once again, London's most senior (elderly) detectives battle evil, again backed by the most peculiar group of law enforcement misfits ever assembled, and once again beset by the officious snakes of the Home Office. As in every Bryant & May book, we learn something startling and new about the Capital of the World, this time the rich and violent history of Punch & Judy.

An impossible crime seems almost child's play compared to the task of keeping the Peculiar Crimes Unit from being torpedoe...more
A.J.
This was an entertaining and enjoyable read - an old-fashioned detective story set in contemporary London, with a bit of social commentary and some interesting historical excursions into the history of Mr Punch. Although this is the first I've read in this series, there were a lot of familiar memes from police TV shows and other books - multiple murders, a special unit with enemies in high places, an incompetent boss, an oddball main detective character who keeps his hunches to himself until the...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This volume has us exploring the past and present days inside a British theater. A fancy cast party is held by the producer of a new stage production in his home.

We meet the suspects, or have we? Amidst the glamor and deceit we hear a scream and the mystery begins...who killed the baby? Punch? Can it be?

Senior Inspectors, Bryant and May are put on the case as it is highly sensitive. Because of the baby? No, because a high official's daughter is caught up in the midst of the matter. Peculiar Crim...more
Karen
Jun 30, 2012 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Flavia de Luce fans, whodunnit fans
I really enjoyed this book! This is the most recent installment in the series of 9 books. Even though this is #9, it's the first one I've read. I have not heard of these books but the cover caught my eye at the library, and paid off. It was pretty entertaining. The author states upfront that these books can be read out of order, and I found this is true, now I'll be going back to read the others.

One thing that was a challenge for me is that there were SO many characters. It was tough to keep tra...more
Candy Wood
Not my favorite of the Bryant and May series, this. We’re back to the theatre scene, learning about the Punch and Judy tradition as well as some West End history, and we get to visit some of London’s less appealing (to me, anyway) attractions, such as a version of the London Dungeon (I always wonder what the disclaimer stating that any resemblance to actual places is coincidental is supposed to mean in cases like that). The personalities of the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s members are mostly taken for...more
Sarah
The Bryant & May series is one of my favorite mystery series, and this latest book did not disappoint. Full of great characters, outrageous plot lines, and bits of history and folklore, these books are always a pleasure to read. After reading the forward, I was a bit concerned this latest book may be a bit 'meh' (he talks about how he decided to write it b/c everyone was begging him to bring the characters back (for good reason!)), but it was the opposite of meh, which I suppose would be 'yi...more
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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
More about Christopher Fowler...
Full Dark House (Bryant & May, # 1) The Water Room (Bryant & May, # 2) The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, # 6) Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, # 3) Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, # 4)

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“Clutter, either mental or physical, is the sign of a healthy curiosity.” 9 likes
“The true mark of English conversation is not being able to tell when you've been insulted. I think the more sophisticated society becomes, the more it hides behind the masks it manufactures.” 3 likes
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