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The Water Room
Christopher Fowler
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The Water Room (Bryant & May #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,755 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Originally built to house the workers of Victorian London, Balaklava Street is now an oasis in the heart of Kentish Town and ripe for gentrification. But then the body of an elderly woman is found at Number 5. Her death would appear to have been peaceful but for the fact that her throat is full of river water. It falls to the Met's Peculiar Crimes Unit, led by London's lon ...more
Published (first published 2004)
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I'm working my way through these Peculiar Crime Unit mysteries, and enjoying them immensely.

The star character is Detective Arthur Bryant, an elderly eccentric who is unfailingly rude to everybody and regularly consults psychics, witches, and other unconventional types.

Detective John May, Bryant's partner, is less unhinged, but still willing to go the extra weird mile.

The rest of the PCU are a group of misfits, including a guy with a spatial perception problem, meaning he trips over everything.

This second book of the aptly named Peculiar Crimes Unit series featuring Arthur Bryant and John May involves more odd death in London (truly a character of the novel itself) and more esoteric knowledge about the city and its history than you might want to shake a stick at. Since it happens to rain during most of the novel, shaking a stick wouldn't accomplish much.

Aside from solving this mysterious death---is it a murder?---Bryant and May must also find a way to justify keeping the unit that has
I wasn't overly impressed with the first book in the series, but I like Fowler well enough to give it another try. Again though, the aging detectives failed to wow me. Nothing technically is wrong with the book, it's got a good mystery, the writing is solid, the characters are pretty well just lacks that certain something. Again with this one, partly is it the narrator's fault, Tom Goodman's reading is just kind of off, his impressions are off, his accents are strange, his british ...more
Sue Smith
Well that was fun! Not for the multiple victims, mind - but being along for the ride as the crazy detective duo attempt to solve what appears to be 3 completely unrelated murders. They aren't called the Peculiar Crimes Unit for nothing! This ranks up there for peculiar, that's for sure. Other than living on the same street seeing how the murders could be related at all was the real mystery. It takes a person who likes to think outside the box to see fragments of ideas and actions that come toget ...more
Christopher Fowlers excellent Bryant & May series continues with “The Water Room”. I first discovered this series after winning one in a contest and fell in love with these two octogenarian gentlemen immediately. Arthur Bryant and John May are London’s two longest serving detectives and lead the Met’s Peculiar Crimes Unit. Delightfully eccentric and filled with quirks and idiosyncrasies, they lead us on an intriguing path filled with wit, charm and originality. Fowlers novels manage to pleas ...more
And so, with great expectations, I return to the world of Arthur Bryant and John May, the aging detectives from London Metropolitan Police’s Peculiar Crimes Unit.

With the events of Full Dark House , I found the series a very pleasant surprise. The Water Room develops them further. Whereas the first book introduced them in their most recent reincarnation (they did appear in some of Christopher’s other writing previously) and Full Dark House was mainly about their first case back in 1940’s Londo
Grumpy old men and other eccentric members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit pursue the unusal death of a woman found seated in a chair in the basement of her house.

It was fun to try to come up with a solution for the death, but even more fun to witness the behavior of these misfit characters.

Brant and May remind me of The Odd Couple; Felix and Oscar.
Adam Stone
The Water Room is the second Bryant and May mystery. It begins with the Unit being refurbished after the events in Full Dark House. It begins with an old friend of Bryant's who has found his elderly sister dead in the house where she lived alone. After the body is examined it is revealed that her mouth was full of river water, and that she drowned, but that the room was bone dry. This is soon followed by another death on the street in equally bizarre circumstances.

I really enjoyed this book and
Nancy Oakes
Installment #2 in this series featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit finds our heroes, Bryant and May (and the other people in the PCU) trying to solve the death of a woman drowned in her basement. Sounds straightforward, right? However, the dead woman was completely dry, sitting in a chair, in a dry basement. If that was the only problem for them to deal with, the book would have definitely been a lot shorter -- but add in a death by saran wrap, arson, and a fellow buried alive by his own truck. An ...more
Alexander Inglis
Elderly Ruth Singh, smartly dressed, is sitting in a chair, feet together, hands in her lap, as if ready to ready to make a shopping trip. Except, she's found in her basement, not her parlour, and her head is titled back. Though dry as bone, she has apparently drowned and there is muddy Thames water in her mouth. Time to call in the Peculiar Crimes Unit and the also quite elderly John May and Arthur Bryant to solve this "locked room" mystery in tale number two, The Water Room, by Christopher Fow ...more
Bev Hankins
The Water Room by Christopher Fowler is the second book in his Peculiar Crimes Unit series. It stars John May and Arthur Bryant, the octogenarian leaders of a unit of detectives who handle all the cases that the regular detective forces won't touch or can't solve. This one begins with a simple question: How can an elderly woman drown, fully dressed to go out, in her otherwise dry basement? Their search will lead them through a maze of shady real estate men, racist threats, shy academic types wit ...more
#2 Bryant and May mystery, featuring our two elderly policemen and the entire PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit) in London. The unit is finally ready to move into their refurbished quarters after the fire that destroyed nearly everything at the end of the first book in the series. Bryant and May, both fearing that their boss is going dissolve their unit at the drop of a hat, are determined to keep themselves and their subordinates busy. They begin to investigate cases brought to them by friends or acqua ...more
I have fallen in love with two elderly detectives from the British "Peculiar Crimes Unit"-as created by Christopher Fowler. The Water Room is not only charmingly written, it has one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time, actually unusual and interesting in itself, aside from the book's humor and delightful characters. The book manages to be Victorian, early twentieth century and modern at the same time. It is a good novel as well as a mystery which is not something I can always say, eve ...more
c2004. Another great read. Its almost like a grown up Scooby Doo where all the scary bits have an eventual rational explanation. The build up of the atmosphere, the details (both obscure and well known) of London and the humour - is just terrific. "Kallie glanced back at the little terraced house, its interior darkened, its brickwork retreating from sight under cover of rainfall, as if the property was disassociating itself from her palpable distress."
I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars. I liked the book but not as much as Full Dark House. And even though I just 'liked' the book overall, I loved the characters! Bryant and May are octogenarian police detectives which sounds like it should be boring or lame, but it is neither. They are both so different and so vital and witty in spite of their age and physical deterioration (which they rarely allow to slow them down). Fowler does an amazing job of weaving his plot and introducing clues or re ...more
Mary Sue
I learned a lot about London. I enjoyed the Oscar/Felix relationship of detectives Bryant and May. I love the name of their agency...Peculiar Crimes. Our book club chose this author for August meeting. Everyone read a different book in the series and commented how they were totally surprised by the ending. Endings made sense but what a surprise. I will probably read more in the series.
Jan C
Aw, this was great. These two are insane.

Who knew there were rivers under London? Actually made me get another book, London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets.

Really enjoyed this.
I read this one ages ago so it's now safe to re-read it and I won't spoil myself.

One of those wonderful locked room mysteries where the location plays as much of a role as the actual characters. What I love about the Bryant and May series is that all of it is so unbelievable and believable at the same time, imbued with the psychology of the past and present, and basically so many pedantic (sometimes useless but never un-entertaining) details that makes my little pedantic heart happy.

I can't choo
Melissa B.
I didn't think this would end up being as good as the first book in the series, but I actually liked it even more! The whole series are great summer reads.
Clayton Yuen
Three stars for the overall novel that was long long long and winding in the beginning and middle. Yes, Christopher Fowler is an excellent author, writing in THAT British Way that captures all the nuances of his heritage. And, Yes, the Bryant and May characters are marvelously quirky and, well, peculiar (get it, they are with the peculiar crime unit!).

And, if you can hold onto the ending, you will find a delightful twisted solution to the murder(s) and discovered in a most strange way. So four s
This is the second in the Bryant and May mystery series and from memory I prefer the first instalment. Fowler has created an interesting set up with the Peculiar Crimes Unit, however I found there was quite a bit of repetition and recapping about their position within the police force, and this was reflected through repetition and recapping that occured frequently through the book with regards to the plot, characters, etc. It's not plodding, but there are perhaps too many pages here to justify t ...more
When I listened to the first book in the series I rather wished I'd read rather than listened as I got really mixed up when it switched from the past to the present. I liked this book quite a bit better since it took place in only the present time with no flashbacks. The reader did a very good job with the voices, both male and female.

I really liked the book. The plot was involving and I definitely did not guess how things would turn out. The characters were interesting and well depicted.

Katherine Rowland
This was the first modern mystery novel in a long time that has kept me thoroughly engrossed, start to finish. The Peculiar Crimes Unit was what drew me in: a team of diverse personalities, presided over by Bryant and May, elderly and often-cranky detectives. Bryant is the star of the novel in many ways because of his quirkiness, which provides necessary levity as events spiral out of control in their investigation of the peculiar death of an elderly woman.

I was fascinated by the story of Londo
Deborah Moulton
Second book in the Bryant & May mystery series. Better than the first, the most intriguing idea in this book concerns all the buried rivers in London. Once a marsh, London has bricked in and buried most of the original estuaries that snaked through the area to the Thames. The Victorians came along and built beautiful underground cachement areas and a series of tunnels and valves that manage sewer overflows that discharge into the long-forgotten rivers. The mystery also surrounds an "outsider ...more
The second in Fowler’s Peculiar Crimes Unit series featuring aged and eccentric sleuths Bryant and May. I’ll confess that I didn’t love the first in the series, Full Dark House. I thought it was clever but somehow didn’t quite gel for me. The Water Room on the other hand I thought was both a compelling and quirky tale. Bryant is called in by an old friend to investigate the death of his sister who apparently drowned in a dry room without a trace of moisture on her. We follow Bryant and May as th ...more
I'm of two minds on this one. I very much enjoyed the historical details and descriptions of London and its changes over the last half-century. The part I liked best was the focus on the city’s old rivers, but then again I’m a river girl myself, so that makes sense. It was oddly reminiscent of Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London" series, or should I say prescient about, because this was written years before.

I was less enamored of the actual story; talk about slowwww.

Oddly, too, I don’t feel as
This was a 3.5 for me. The story follows our octogenarian detectives as they investigate the death of a woman who apparently drowned in river water while sitting in her dry basement. Bryant is convinced the woman was murdered and that her death is connected to the maze of lost rivers that flows under London.

When the body count rises in Balaklava Street, Bryant & May must track a killer whose identity and motive are hiding in plain sight.

I enjoyed the twists in this story, the detectives are
Bryant and May, the octogenarian leaders of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (now shifted from the Met to the Home Office) find themselves up to their earlobes in criminal confusion when an old friend of Bryant’s, not trusting the police, asks him to look into the death of his sister. Bryant, intrigued as he is by the preter-natural, is taken in by the case of the woman, dead by drowning in her own dry basement but sitting in a chair ready to go out – odd enough in itself, but she drowned in river water ...more
The second Bryant and May mystery, this one eschews the chronological hopping of the first book and keeps the action in the present. The mysterious death of an old Indian woman in Kentish Town leads the Peculiar Crimes Unit to a string of other baffling murders, which may be random or may be based on some long-buried secret. It may be set in 2004, but the plot depends heavily on history: the flow of London’s underground rivers and how they were diverted; a postwar painter of myths and archetypes ...more
Shaz Goodwin
Having previously thoroughly enjoyed ‘Bryant & May on the Loose’ #7 in this mystery series I chose this book from those available as the final one in my Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge. You won’t be able to read that review here as it was in the days before I blogged! I was looking forward to The Water Room, read on to find out whether it met my expectations …

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is in a world of its own. The team defuse politically sensitive and socially embarrassing situations
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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...
Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1) The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, # 6) Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, # 3) Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, # 4) White Corridor (Bryant & May, # 5)

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