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The Invisible Code

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #10)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,345 ratings  ·  344 reviews
Two small children are playing a game called 'Witch-Hunter'. They place a curse on a young woman taking lunch in a church courtyard and wait for her to die. An hour later she is found dead inside the church. Bryant and May must investigate.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Doubleday
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,345 ratings  ·  344 reviews


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Joe
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller, h
Our two elderly heroes, London Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, with their Peculiar Crimes Unit, (PCU), are back in their 10th adventure. As their name suggests, the PCU is tasked with solving Peculiar Crimes using peculiar investigative tactics

Bryant is the curmudgeon - unconventional, eschewing technology and “progress”. He has the air of the eccentric, absent minded professor about him – if you are familiar with the TV show The Big Bang Theory, he could be Sheldon’s grandfather. He can
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Sue
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have now read the most recent of the Bryant & May Peculiar Crimes books and also have a new favorite in the series. In this episode, the team are called in by their Home Office arch nemesis, Oskar Kasavian, to find out why his wife is behaving so irrationally. Needless to say. the case leads in multiple directions, all about London, into the past of the city and British history (as well as religious and mythological esoterica).

Fowler's plotting continues to get tighter and the writing
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Diane S ☔
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So glad for the opportunity to once again enter the world of Bryant and Mays, two elderly detectives, much maligned for their unorthodox ways, particularly Bryant whose ways of thinking cannot easily be discerned, and the other members that make up the Peculiar Crime Division.

For once they find themselves in the position of trying to help the man who most often wants to shut them down, Oskar, their boss and main critic. Fowler has mastered his craft, has come up with a winning combination of
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Leah
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, 2013, new-to-me
Most peculiar…


Detectives Bryant and May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called in to investigate when a young woman is found dead in a church. There is no obvious cause of death, so they have to decide whether this was murder – or was she the victim of some spooky supernatural…er…something. Meantime, their boss and archenemy Oskar Kasavian asks them to help find out why his wife seems to be going mad – because that’s always something you would ask the police to look into, isn’t it? Psychics,
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Travis Starnes
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I will start by saying the overall core mystery in this book isn’t bad. It has some interesting twists to it, although the “ah-ha” moment where the facts are reveled do not stand up to scrutiny of the original passages of past events. When the “real” way an event in the book went down is revealed, it in really doesn’t resemble what the reader actually experienced. That however isn’t too big of detraction since that is not so unusual in mystery books and it is the journey and not the re-read that ...more
Spiderorchid
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable but not as good as I've come to expect from Fowler.

As the series goes on, the plots are getting more implausible. The Bryant & May books have always been weird with a touch of the fantastic, it's their special charme, but I get the feeling that Fowler is somehow loosing himself in more and more arcane research and plot-twists, and as a result the narrative is beginning to get uneven, with several places where the pacing is off. It's still a very entertaining book but it lacks the
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notgettingenough
Written as a pair with Deathworld

Deathworld I admit it. Harry Harrison's bad style irritated me. For a while. Mainly it was these. The short sentences. If you can call them that. Sentences.

I did manage after some encouragement from the ranks to get over that and I'm glad I did. It's a good bad-book. The Wildside edition I read was horribly proofread, but not nearly as badly as the academic books I've been reading lately. Nothing, at any rate, that distracted me from a punchy story, good
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Trudi Jorda
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I stumbled upon this gem under the new books section-- having never read anything by this author. This is the 10th book in a series of mysteries solved by the Peculiar Crimes Unit in London. Instead of sexy leading men or women we have a group of aging but very smart men and women who have to sort mysteries dealing with murder, deception,a bit of the arcane and a bit of politics. Don't let the cover of the books fool you--you are entering into other forms of witch hunting. With this many plot ...more
Tracey the Bookworm
It was better than I remember it. A well written fun series. Bryant and May are a wonderful duo of detectives heading the Peculiar Crimes Unit. In this book they charge around London following myths, legends and intuition with quirkiness and determination to keep the Great British public safe.
Highly recommend and looking forward to #11 in the series
Kathy Davie
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tenth in the Bryant & May detective mystery series (a.k.a., Peculiar Crimes Unit) set in London and revolving around two too-old detectives who refuse to retire and who have their own way of doing things.

My Take
Per usual, Fowler begins with a memo for the bulletin board. I do enjoy the "staff roster" introducing us to the characters in the PCU by name and Land’s descriptions via the memo. His annoyance with Bryant, lol, is priceless.
"May I remind you that you are British officers of the law,
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Pamela
Sep 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Where to start with the problems? The characters were trite and overblown. The dialog was the same for everyone--more than once I had to resort to counting quotation marks to figure out who was speaking.

If that weren't bad enough, there were some atrocious mistakes. For example, at one point an office is first described as being in the area of a building where there was "no direct access to sunlight." In the same paragraph, just three sentences later, there's this:
"Kasavian was standing at the
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Jill Hutchinson
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The words "humorous" and "murder" don't usually go together but author Christopher Fowler makes it work for his readers in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series. The PCU is located in London and is constantly moving from one dilapidated building to another as the police and Home Office are always trying to shut them down since they do not follow police procedures. Headed by the comically inept Raymond Land, who has been in an acting position since the series began, the real powers are Bryant and May, ...more
Helen
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This series just rolls along with more and more weird people and events. Blakeys on shoes, my great great grandmother's maiden name as Colin Bimsley's middle one. Hah! The logic behind the murder is usually a fairly illogical thing and it is in this one too, but it's the getting there that is the treat, the drifting through museums like the Soane and the City of London and the keeping up with the lives of the characters that create such pleasure. Knowing what we do about him it was satisfying to ...more
Julian Cole
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
IT IS easy to envy the reader who had yet to encounter Bryan & May, the splendid old codgers who work for the Peculiar Crimes Unit in London. And if you have never heard of this particular branch of the Metropolitan Police, that is because it is the invention of Christopher Fowler.
What undiscovered joys await such a lucky reader, for there are nine other Bryant & May mysteries – all of them great fun, enjoyably preposterous yet copper-bottomed with pieces of historical fact.
In The
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Sarah
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I quite liked the journey with all its weird and mystical loose ends, but honestly! The last red herring was just too big to be true and the revelation truly laughable. Like a last minute decision.
Martha
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recently I have given up super scary mysteries that keep me awake at night. And I also need to like my detectives or general mystery solvers. Of course I always love Brunetti (Donna Leone's Viennese
man) but I have recently discovered the books by Christopher Fowler about the Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London Police and its eccentric lead man Arthur Bryant. Bryant's methods are original and the characters that he visits to help him solve crimes are crazy--to say the least. There is a straight
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drk
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the Bryant and May series but this one just didnt hit the spot. The big reveal at the end just seemed rushed as though Fowler changed his mind about the plot. 3.5
I missed the banter between B &M as well, it all seemed a bit forced. Not one of his best.
dmayr
"People are always fascinated by the character of Lady Macbeth, but for me it was always about the witches." Madness and witchcraft interweaves as a woman is seemingly hexed to death in a church by two children, while wonder of wonders, Oskar Kasavian himself asks PCU's help to deal with his wife who was increasingly growing paranoid. The plot is convoluted as it ties up to the unsolved death of Bryant's biographer, the mention of which crops up now and then in the previous books. The ...more
Llyr Heller-Humphreys
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent as always
Maxine
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
A young woman is sitting outside St Bride’s church, reading. However, when she is first annoyed by two children and then stung by a wasp, she moves inside a church where, moments later, she collapses and dies. The death is declared natural but Arthur Bryant of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, thinks differently. However,when he asks to take over the investigation, he is denied.

When he and his partner, John May, are called into the office of Oskar Kasavian, their powerful arch-nemesis, they assume it is
...more
LJ
First sentence: There was a witch around here somewhere.

A young woman dies in St. Bride’s Church—there is no apparent cause of death. Bryant and May are called to the office of Oskar Kasavian; the man determined to shut down the Peculiar Crimes Unit. However, that’s not why they were summoned. Instead, he wants them to find out why his wife, an Albanian Muslim, has been acting strangely. A second death seems to link the two situations and sends Bryant and May on a fascinating trail.

From the
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Ronald Roseborough
From the syntax, to the humor, and the subject matter, this is thoroughly British, not one of the washed out versions we are used to seeing portrayed by American television or books. Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May work for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. They get involved in cases that are, how shall we say, out of the ordinary. This is rather fitting for Detective Bryant, as he is a bit out of the ordinary himself. Unlike his partner May, Bryant is older, pushing the boundaries of retirement. ...more
Shannon
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my second Bryant and May novel, and again, I am impressed by Fowler's story telling and skill as a writer. Entertaining, exciting, intelligent, and flawless. His writing has a way of being circuitous, starting off and following the proverbial rabbit, only to end at the beginning. And you wonder how it is that you didn't see it in the first place, or perhaps how you forgot that you had suspected the conclusion from the start. That being said, it's well done enough that even if it is ...more
Lizzytish
I really enjoyed this one. I feel it's one of the better books. More humor, more mystery, mayhem and madness! I really thought I had it figured out! There are a few loose threads, I'm wondering if it will be tied up in the next book. Love how Crippen is included.A nice little of history of Bedlam is included.

One thing I've noticed and enjoyed, is how each chapter seems to start out with a description of the sky or weather. An exmaple: The clouds looked like they had fallen down a flight of
...more
Sallee
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
A wonderful book involving witchcraft, murder, espionage, biochemical weapons, suicide, and all of is the actions of the Home Office who are Arthur Bryant and John May's superiors who have the power to do away with their special crimes unit. One of author Fowler's most complicated mysteries, this one has a ending that is surprising and delightful. He does it once again, giving us a fantastic read.
Carolyn Hammond
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A new series to me and one that I will read more of. The ending was satisfying, though some answers were more implied than answered. The theme of witchcraft in the modern world was handled well and I learned a lot about London. Reading on my iPad allowed me to google lots of words and places instantly.
Louise
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love these books,I really don't think they need to be read in order either, they all contain a mystery that will have you believing in the occult, and smiling at the antics of Bryant and May.
May didn't seem to do much in this one, which is unusual, it's very much an equal partnership I feel usually.
Good fun all round.
Donna
Dec 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
I've only given one star because it's British , if it wasn't British I would of not wanted to give it any star. This book was so boring and full of pointless details. I thought this book would have a supernatural element since the description of the book points in that direction . Instead it was a regular crime novel that hardly has any action. I'm so glad to be done with this book.
Lynsey Dalladay
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bryant and May have done it again, this is a fantastic example of exemplary writing and a wickedly ingenius and funny plot. Very worthy addition to the Peculiar Crimes Unit case book.
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Fractured mythology? 1 16 Apr 29, 2014 11:50AM  

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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
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Other books in the series

Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit (1 - 10 of 16 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)
  • Bryant & May Investigate the Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May #6)
  • On the Loose (Bryant & May #7)
  • Off the Rails (Bryant & May, #8)
  • Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood (Bryant & May #9)
  • Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May #11)
“You see? This is what's wrong with the world. A young lady with bleached hair, an estuarine accent and unfeasible breasts can outsell a respected expert with decades of wisdom and experience."
"She's human interest," replied May.. "You're not. People reading her story will feel that if she can make it without talent, maybe they can.”
3 likes
“Half of the problem with madness is its definition. Tell someone they’re crazy and they soon start acting crazy. Look at the way they dose children up these days for merely exhibiting normal healthy high spirits. What signal does that send to them? We’ve always thought that the human body has to be balanced in order to work properly. It was said to be made up of four humours that matched the seasons and elements; yellow bile and fire for summer, black bile and earth for autumn, phlegm and water for winter, blood and air for spring. A lot of alternative therapies still conform to those rules.” 1 likes
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