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Bryant & May and the Burning Man

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #12)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,524 ratings  ·  252 reviews
No case is too curious for Arthur Bryant and John May, London’s most ingenious detectives. But with their beloved city engulfed in turmoil, they’ll have to work fast to hold a sinister killer’s feet to the fire.
In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London’s peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest. Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by Bantam (first published March 26th 2015)
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Roberta This is a very good series and you may enjoy the books no matter what order you read them in but the books are better if they are read in order.
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,524 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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This is a brilliant, intense, intelligent and atmospheric novel. It is the first one of the series that I have read and I was completely blown away. I don't know how it is that I have never read Christopher Fowler, because quite frankly the man is a genius. He has created, what is for me, one of the most interesting literary crime characters. I am alluding to the knowledgeable colossus that is Arthur Bryant. I loved that I was being informed of so much history that I am unlikely to know about th ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
London is burning. Protestors flock the streets, protesting insider trading and other bank malfeasance. Under the cover of these protests a murderer is killing what seems at first to be random people, one a day in the week leading up to Guy Fawkes Day. The case is turned over to the peculiar crime u it and so it begins.

For many years I have read this series, laughed at their unusual crime solving skills, the strange characters that Bryant goes to for information, his strange ways of deduction an
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With Guy Fawkes day approaching and London banks under siege, scandal quickly turns to murder when a homeless man is the unfortunate recipient of a Molotov cocktail. Bryant, May and the PCU are called in to investigate. As the body count rises and tensions on the street mount the unit use their unique know-how to track down the killer.

As always, Fowler is articulate, witty, and draws out the suspense to the very end. Using his vast knowledge of old London you’ll find yourself learning quite a lo
Jon Recluse
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As a scandal rocks the banks of London, and the streets erupt as divergent groups of protesters descend upon the City, a killer strikes, wielding fire in a vengeful plot that will end in flames on Guy Fawkes Night.
The 12th installment of the Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit series, featuring the most enigmatic and entertaining duo in mystery, keeps the bar Fowler raised in book one high, balancing the duos signature old school, sometimes off the beaten path style of detection with a mystery t
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This episode is darker than others in the series, more emotionally charged and very current in its subject, for many reasons. The action is also more confined to The City proper due to financial unrest which has triggered social agitation. And then the burning man of the title.

While initially I found I missed some of the humorous and somewhat wacky extras that usually people these stories, I came to see the purpose behind Fowler's method and multiple purposes within the novel. There is a lot go
Joanne D'Arcy
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The detective duo of Arthur Bryant and John May are back in this their twelfth book. If you have never read any of the Bryant and May series before then you need to know - both Bryant and May are detectives in the PCU - that is the Peculiar Crimes Unit. A unit which is full of waifs and strays, people with eccentricities that no other unit within the police would put up with. And you are never quite sure how old Bryant and May actually are.

You can pick these books up in any part of the series, t
First Sentence: “Before I start, can I ask you to look around at this beautiful building?”

It’s the week before Guy Fawkes, and London’s banks are under siege. Although started by the scandal of a corrupt financier, the violence is growing and now includes murder by fire. But the death doesn’t look accidental to the Bryant and May of the PUC, especially not when a second fire also kills.

NOTE: If you read an e-version, please ensure you start with “Excerpt from a Speech…” rather than just at Chapt
Milo (BOK)
The Review: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c....

"London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police.

But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims are so mysteriously chosen that the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to find a way of stopping him.

K.J. Charles
This series is always fun, though often gruesome and fairly heartrending. Over-age detectives, London lore, a touch of creepiness, plenty of horrific murder and a solid mystery. Nicely and sonetimes hilariously written too.
**Note: this review was written before a look at the author's blog revealed what a hateful person he is. Thus ended any affection for his books. No, the two star rating is not a typo; it should probably be one, but I did enjoy this, before I couldn't.

"But it’s the Peculiar Crimes Unit that prevents panic on the streets. We handle the cases that have the capacity to bring this city down."

I haven't read all the Peculiar Crimes Unit novels yet, but I'm definitely working on it. They've been on my
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having never read anything by this author before, I knew I was going to give this book a high rating when I started to check out other books in this series before I got to the end. An interesting and unique plot along with plenty of levity. I especially liked the character of Arthur Bryant, a quirky walking fount of knowledge about the history of London with an odd but effective approach to solving the case. Highly recommended to all.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite The Burning Man being the twelfth book, this series had somehow completely passed me by until I was recently asked to take part in the blog tour.

I was trying to think of a way to describe these two senior (both by rank and age) detectives. The best comparison I can think of is a combination of the TV programmes 'New Tricks' mixed with the irascibility of 'Inspector Morse'. It isn't quite clear how old they are, but they are well past a normal detective's retirement age. Arthur St John A
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rob Kitchin
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Burning Man is the twelfth book in the Bryant and May series. In this outing they are trying to stop an arsonist wreaking revenge on people working in the banking sector after another financial scandal and who seems to be orchestrating the sentiments of a restless and angry public. After years of working for the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Bryant and May are long in the tooth and well versed in tackling difficult cases, but this one has them taxed. The killer is clever and quick moving, dispatchin ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I have to say that I was a little unsure about requesting The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler to read this title seeing as it looked like being the latest in a long running series. I also hate to read any series out of sequence. However the cover was very appealing and the synopsis indicated that it would be an amusing, interesting read, and something very different from my usual crime reads. The author on his website assures readers that the series can be read in any order or as a stand alone ...more
Stephen C
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Burning Man is quite an apt title because this book is on FIREEEE (I can’t promise that is the only bad joke in this review...but I’ll try keep them to a minimum).

One of the good things about coming to a series late is that there is already a history and a development to the characters and it also means I have a wealth of new books to go back and read. It sort of reminds me of how the Doctor and River Song were on two different time paths and they kept meeting at different points in their h
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Conventional wisdom holds that the 12th book is never a good way to start a series. Convention also holds that you can have a great crime novel or a love ode to London seldom both. This book confounds convention.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author thinks his Bryant & May series is different enough from New Tricks (BBC) that it should be produced, but I can't fully agree. There is so much back and forth "old-person speak" and joking between members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit that while reading the books I find myself wishing I could instead be watching on television. Anyway, I guess I am just not the right audience for these books. They do end up investigating criminal activities, and they do eventually discover who was ena ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crime thriller set in London (an incendiary mixture …)

The Burning Man is, I am slightly embarrassed to report, the first Bryant and May detective novel that I have read (and there are eleven others…). Arthur Bryant and John May are detectives in London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit – a body set up during WW2 to investigate cases that could cause ‘national scandal or public unrest’. And they both have elements of policing in WW2 about them… they are old fashioned coppers in a modern world. A great deal
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publication Date: 26th March 2015

Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

ISBN: 978-0857522047

Source: Publisher copy via NetGalley

Rating: 3*


London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police.

But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims
Susan in NC
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Amazing roller coaster ride as always with Bryant and May and the PCU! In every book I find there is a point, usually about 3/4 of the way through, where I feel like Bryant's theories are just too arcane and out-there to be taken seriously as a motive, but it's always right where the roller coaster car of a plot is just about to peak and we are about to plunge into the vertical drop and I'm too far gone to care if it makes perfect sense...

As always, Christopher Fowler delivers an exciting, baffl
Liz Barnsley
Another outing for the Peculiar Crimes Unit then, featuring eclectic detective duo Bryant and May – I’ve always really enjoyed this weirdly wonderful series, I have dipped in an out of them over the years and it is always a pleasure.

This instalment throws a lot of problems into the path of our pair, most especially for Bryant, as usual the mystery they face is both strange and difficult to fathom. I’ve always been a big fan of the construction of these stories – intelligent plotting and a wonder
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story about the Peculiar Crimes Unit with Bryant & May investigating a series of gruesome fire-related murders against the backdrop of anti-capitalist protests in the City of London. As the protests escalate to rioting, the police seem at a loss as to discovering a single suspect. At the centre of all the trouble is a sneering, young banker who epitomises all that is wrong with Britain's "greed is good" financial industry which Bryant sees as responsible for destroying the true ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Burning Man is the 12th book in the wonderful Bryant and May series.

Arthur Bryant and John May are both senior detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit, which performs a unique invisible service, to prevent public disorder......and to investigate peculiar and unusual crimes.

This time, morale is low in the unit, their budget's been cut and they've had some bad publicity from a disgruntled tabloid hack. It's also pretty quiet until a banking scandal breaks and riots break out in the City, and pe
Kyla Zerbes
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I cried at the end of this book! Then I turned the page and felt better ;) I'm hoping for more novels and not just a book of short stories tho. So this may or may not be the series end.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, london, humour
Another great outing with the Peculiar Crimes Unit. The plot was quite ingenious. I'm just not sure where the team can go after this though....
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve loved all these books and have come to care about the characters. And it’s always a good sign when a book makes me look up words, too.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best so far!

Thse just keep getting better and better. The first couple were good but the recent ones are truly outstanding. Imaginative tales and beautifully written with just the right amount of humour.

Keep 'em coming Mr Fowler!
Kathy Davie
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Twelfth in the Bryant & May crime mystery series and revolving around two ancient detectives who don't operate according to the rules.

This is a series you read if you love quirky characters, humor, snark, English history, and, oh yes, a mystery.

My Take
This series is character-driven, and what characters they are. Oh, lord! Bryant is off-the wall with his deducing...which always turns out to be right. May performs as Bryant's foil, his suave sidekick. The rest of the PCU are colorful in their
Keith Nixon
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
London is a city under siege, its angry population taking to the streets to protest at yet another banking scandal which has spewed out onto an already jaded political landscape. In the run up to 5 November, Guy Fawkes Night, thousands of people spill out, their faces hidden behind masks. Violence erupts, protestors and police clash. The next morning a young homeless man is discovered dead, burnt to death in his tent, apparently collateral damage.

Bryant and May, senior detectives at the Peculia
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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

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)
  • The Invisible Code (Bryant & May #10)
“Do you enjoy reading?’ ‘I enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey.’ Bryant quailed at the thought. ‘That’s not really reading, is it? More like staring at an assortment of words.’ ‘It is very popular.’ ‘So is taking photographs of your dinner for Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it adds to the total sum of human knowledge.” 9 likes
“No more sending your clothes over to forensics to be dry-cleaned, no more running up kebab tabs on stakeouts and no more pawning items from the Evidence Room until payday.” 2 likes
More quotes…