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Bryant & May Investigate the Victoria Vanishes

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #6)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,857 ratings  ·  295 reviews
One night, Arthur Bryant witnesses a drunk middle-aged lady coming out of a pub in a London backstreet. The next morning, she is found dead at the exact spot where their paths crossed. Even more disturbing, there's a twist: the pub has vanished and the street itself has changed. Bryant is convinced that he saw them as they looked over a century before, but the elderly dete ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Doubleday
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Christine Cody Although I'm not answering officially, I expect the answer could be, as Maggie mentions in this book, the pagan beliefs existed before the birth of Ch…moreAlthough I'm not answering officially, I expect the answer could be, as Maggie mentions in this book, the pagan beliefs existed before the birth of Christ. So, a Christian saint may have had the same name as a person who may not have had anything to do with Christianity. Also, Maggie explains the connections among many different beliefs (Christian and pagan) as when she indicates that the Christians adopted the tree from a centuries-old Wiccan belief. I can't point out the exact pages when this conversation takes place but I think that could answer your question. Also, it's possible that the saint in question was someone whom she and her coven respected. (less)

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Sue
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Peculiar Crime Unit Mysteries tend to be like Russian nesting dolls: there are layers within layers within layers. And one of the layers is always the Home Office effort to find a way to put the Unit out of business for good. Why? Well...it simply doesn't conform to anyone's idea of a government authority (nor was it ever intended to).

In this episode, it appears that middle aged woman are dying in London pubs---but are they in fact being murdered. If so, by whom and why? Now this would seem
...more
Paula
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, as always.Unique series, only for connoisseurs.:)
Connie G
The closure of many historic pubs in London inspired the author to write the sixth Bryant and May mystery. Octogenarians Arthur Bryant and John May are the senior detectives of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. After four women fall over dead in the pubs around London, they suspect a serial killer. Meanwhile, there is a danger that the Peculiar Crimes Unit might be shut down by headquarters.

The mystery is told with a quirky British humor. Lots of historical information about London is woven into the plo
...more
Drka
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Another very enjoyable read about the wonderful Arthur Bryant and John May, the elderly detectives from the Peculiar Crimes Unit in London and their quirky crime-solving methods. A police procedural with a slant like no other I have read, I love the eccentric characters and that peculiarly British sense of humour. The City of London is the jewel in the crown of the Bryant and May series, and I wish that I still lived there so I could visit the pubs mentioned in the text and appreciate their inte ...more
Joe
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Our two elderly heroes, London Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, with their Peculiar Crimes Unit, (PCU), are back in their 6th adventure. As their name suggests, the PCU is tasked with solving Peculiar Crimes using peculiar investigative tactics. This is a quirky, unique, witty and engaging series and The Victoria Vanishes may be the best addition of this excellent series.

Protagonist Arthur Bryant has the air of the eccentric, absent minded professor about him – if you are familiar with the
...more
Susan
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, british-mystery
Enjoyable impossible mystery, which when explained, doesn't seem so impossible but makes perfect sense! I enjoyed the interactions between the members of the PCU and their methods for solving their peculiar crime.

Overall I enjoyed this book alot. Goofed and skipped the previous one so will read that one next.
Stephen Theaker
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Bryant and May are a pair of geriatric detectives working the mysterious streets of London, taking the time to puzzle over crimes whose patterns are not immediately obvious, finding connections that might be missed by a policeman working the beat and looking to meet his targets. In this, the first I've read in the series, their Peculiar Crimes Unit faces closure, their health deterioriates, and a man is murdering women in the middle of crowded pubs.

Bryant and May are similar in many ways to Holm
...more
Chris
Apr 09, 2017 marked it as contemplating-its-sins  ·  review of another edition
I think I've just run out of steam on this series. Tapping out.
Tria
2 stars. I should not have to skim a book to endure getting through it at all as I did with this one. I have never made a habit of skimming.

Frankly, this book gives the effect of the author's having had a thesaurus on hand that he pulled out every half-hour or so just for fun whilst writing, to inject some obscure term - I have a wide and somewhat eclectic vocabulary and always have had, even more so as an adult than as a child, but within the first hundred pages even I had to stop to check a di
...more
LJ
THE VICTORIA VANISHES (Pol. Proc-Bryant & May-London-Cont) – VG+
Fowler, Christopher – 6th in series
Doubleday, 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780385610681

First Sentence: She had four and a half minutes left to live.

Pathologist Oswald Finch is dead, May has been diagnosed with a tumor on his heart and Bryant has submitted his resignation letter. On his way home from Finch’s wake, Bryant notices a woman going into a pub. The woman is later found dead and when they go to investigate, the pub is gone. I
...more
Kristi
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, mystery, arc
I must start this review by stating that I had not read any other Christopher Fowler books, including the 5 preceding PCU books. With that in mind, I think this book would have been more satisfying had I read the prior books in the series.[return][return]Jumping in at book 6 is never ideal, but some authors set you up well to do so. In this case I felt a little blind. There were a fair bit of characters in the book being referred to by first or last name and little in the way of character traits ...more
Sarah
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this 6th novel in the series much better than the earlier ones, perhaps because the plot had more interesting twists and turns, or because I'm more attached to the various recurring characters, or even because of the History of London Pubs bonus. OK, maybe some details are rather far-fetched (Christ's blood, the Ministry of Defence conspiracy etc), but who cares? It has gradually become a delightfully quirky series with charming, eccentric characters and irresistible little tidbits abo ...more
Vickie Britton
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you like a classic British cozy, this has all the right stuff. Good characterization and a satisfying mystery. It has a bit of humor, too, which made it an entertaining read.
Malcolm
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a pair of geriatric detectives, the fabulous Bryant & May do not seem to age – ah, if only…. The pair at the heart of the Peculiar Crimes Unit find themselves faced with a classic conundrum, investigating the murder of woman Bryant recalls passing in the street on his way home; she fell not far from where he saw her – but, perplexingly, the pub that the night before was on the corner where she was found is nowhere to be seen. And then, more women die in pubs.

Fowler’s inventiveness and arcane
...more
Kay
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although corpses abound in this novel, it moves at the pace of a Victorian novel, packed with the history of London and reflections on the drastic change wrought by the 21st century. This is typical of the Bryant & May series, which in this outing focuses on a group of London pubs that play a critical role as the murder locales. One of the detectives makes a distinction between pubs and bars:

“You always get one or two by themselves in London pubs. That's the difference between a pub and a bar,"
...more
Gwen
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The name "Peculiar Crimes Unit" pretty much says it all - -they're charming, unorthodox and incredibly effective. Whether the vanishing building in question is a figment of an addled older brain or not is just one of many odd things happening in this book. Will the unit stay together after solving this mystery (murders, not buildings vanished)? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, I'm going back to the beginning.
Peggy
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mysteries
Leave it to me to start a series with #6! Each book can stand on its own though and I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through some of London's most famous pubs on the way to solving a very odd string of murders. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is full of 'peculiar' detectives.

I loved everyone of these quirky detectives - Bryant - getting old and forgetful, hopes he can remember the info he digs up until he can tell someone else in the dept. Mays - He just found out he has a tumor on the wall of his heart
...more
Spuddie
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
#6 Bryant & May "Peculiar Crimes Unit" mystery set in London. When a middle-aged woman dies in suspicious circumstances in a London street, Arthur Bryant recognizes her, having seen her entering a pub the evening before as he was walking home half-soused from Oswald Finch's wake. The problem comes when he and his partner John May go to find the pub and find that not only is it not there, but it hadn't been there since sometime in the 1800's.

When several other middle aged-women die in similar ci
...more
Helen
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think this is my third time through this and really enjoyed it.
If you spotted a pub one evening and then came past the spot the next day only to find that there was no pub, only a grocery store what would you think? If you knew you had been drinking a fair bit before seeing the pub would that affect your thinking? The more Arthur Bryant thinks about it the more he feels something weird is going on, especially since he saw a woman cross the street and enter the pub, a woman found dead later on
...more
Pam Baddeley
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Sixth in the Bryant and May series and almost as good as the Water Room, my favourite, so I would rate this 4.5 stars.

It commences shortly after The White Corridor. The Peculiar Crimes Unit throws a wake for their late pathologist, whose death formed one of the threads in the previous book. On the way home, Arthur Bryant, the most eccentric of the unit's two elderly detectives, notices a woman going into a pub. When she is later found dead in the street, it turns out that she was murdered, but B
...more
Paul
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second book in the Bryant and May series was just as entertaining and educational as "Off the Rails." In this mystery, someone is murdering middle aged women in the pubs of London. As one of the last safe places for people to meet, this comes to the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit) to solve. Fortunately, the murderer is leaving a trail of obscure clues. The puzzle is pieced together. Unfortunately, the murderer is killed before a confession is made. Case closed. But the book is only 2/3's over. Bry ...more
Jeff Rensch
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this on the plane home from UK and wish I'd read it there or before going. An intricate and eccentric mystery by someone who knows London by heart and loves the place. This one concentrates on the pubs and makes you want to visit them one by one. Seriously! Just don't get murdered in one if you can help it.

Other fabulous Fowler mysteries include The Water Room (featuring the real life underground waterways of London as major factor in the plot) and an excellent book whose name I'm blankin
...more
Jack
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first and last Peculiar Crimes Unit book. On the positive side, I enjoyed the tour of London pubs (which are listed in the back, along with their addresses), some of the London trivia, and some of Bryant's comments on life. The best line in the book is, "When I was a kid we had to go to the circus if we wanted to see the fat lady and the tattooed man. Now they're all over the place."

On the negative side: while the plot is stand-alone, there is a lot of time taken up with back-story for the me
...more
Ian
Apr 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Reminiscent in more ways than one of Edmund Crispin's classic mystery THE MOVING TOYSHOP: not just in its basic premise - someone witnesses a crime at a location that somehow turns out never to have existed when he goes back to investigate - but in the way the author appears more interested in riffing on traditional notions of British eccentricity than constructing a coherent or believable mystery. As is often the case with Crispin himself, I'm not convinced anyone could guess whodunit based pur ...more
edifanob
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2016-reads
Somehow I managed to finish the book in between preparation for holiday.

This is the fifth Bryan & May book I read and I liked it as much as the previous ones.
The characters alone are awesome and I mus say the end of the story shocked me.
Fortunately I know that there are more books. Without this information the would have ended really sad for me. That may show how much I love and care of the characters.
The title of the book is well reflected and the appendix show how much time and effort the auth
...more
Alistair
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it

It is VITAL to your enjoyment of previous books not to read this one out of order.

This is a definite return to form after the “White Corridor” which I personally found underwhelming.

As usual the plot it well thought out and the ending quite sad. In fact if I did not know there were more books in the series, I would have seen this as 'The End'.

Highly enjoyable and recommended.

What tv show can I link this to,,,,,,,,,,,I guess “Spooks”
Donna
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this look into the world of a very offbeat group of detectives who don't get your usual cases. Their cases all fall under the category of totally bizarre which no one else seems to want to solve. This is the 6 book in this series. Here they are trying to piece together who is killing the lovelorn of the cities in the pubs. Even one that hasn't existed in many years. Thus the name of the books The Victoria Vanishes. I love these funny unique mysteries.
Maria
Apr 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A light and fluffy murder-mystery. Hard to get into, easy to put down and unmoved to pick it back up. Characters were like-able enough but I didn't really seem to care what trials and tribulations they went through. An easy read but one I wouldn't bother with again.
Lauren
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I have to admit I picked this book up at the library because I liked the cover and fell utterly in love with the Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries. It's a nice blend of mystery and a walking tour history of London's pubs. After finishing I had to go back and read the entire series.
Bonnie
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorites in this series. The story seemed a little tighter with less wheel spinning. As usual the characters are the best part of the book. They are all more or less eccentric. There are some surprises.
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Librarian note:
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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 s
...more

Other books in the series

Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit (1 - 10 of 17 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)
  • 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)
  • Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May #11)

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"It's no use lecturing on the problem, Arthur. That's why your driving examiner failed you thirty-seven times."
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