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Bryant & May – England’s Finest

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #16.5)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  31 reviews

Twelve more missing cases from the archive of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. And they nearly were missing too, as unit chief Raymond Land explains in his foreword, 'because Arthur Bryant left the files on the floor where the Two Daves had decided to stand their mini-cement mixer, and it was only my quick thinking that saved the day...'.

The cases here include the festive gem 'Br

...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by Transworld Digital
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Julie
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed each of the short stories in this volume in the Bryant and May series. Bryant and May are eccentric detectives in the Peculiar Crime Unit in London, UK. The motley crew that make up the PCU are each fascinating characters in their own right. I loved that Janice got her own case in one of the stories.

Favorite passages:

Bryant's age is described as being "somewhere between prostate and postmortem."

Bryant was feeling particularly grumpy as it was Christmas and he was feeling lost wi
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Paula
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As usual,a delightful,clever romp.
Gram
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvellous collection of a dozen fascinating cases from the files of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU). Arthur Bryant & John May the PCU's two senior detectives figure prominently in this 2nd volume of short stories by Christopher Fowler along with the rest of the unit's colourful characters. The author provides potted biographies of all the PCU's staff at the start of the book and at the end there are brief explanations as to the factual background of the dozen stories. There's also a wonderful ...more
Maine Colonial
I’m always impatient for the next Bryant & May crime novel, but it’s months away so I picked up this collection of short stories. Almost all heavily feature the curmudgeonly eccentric genius, Arthur Bryant, but there are also a couple of stories that shine a light on John May and Janice Longbright. You don’t get that in a novel, so those are a welcome addition.

I’ve never been wild about short stories supplementing a crime series. It’s hard to put together a really good mystery, plus all the sati
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Julia
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being a long-time Christopher Fowler fan, and following my spot on the tour for Bryant & May - Hall of Mirrors, I was thrilled to be able to join the tour for England's Finest.

First of all, look at the stunning cover! It's got beautiful colours, it's got snow, it's Christmassy, there's the Underground, it's got Bryant mucking about!

I love Christopher Fowler’s writing style: it’s intelligent and pacy, with plenty of witty asides, nuggets of trivia and lots of Arthur’s humbugging. I particularly e
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Shalini
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a simple reviewer who reads a book, enjoys those hours of reading, then I promptly forget about the book. So I can't compare this book and say it was as good as.... Huhh what was I saying? 😂😂

The short end of my story was this book was brilliant. I loved Detective Bryant. He caused a zing in my heart. I was quite intrigued by the idea of his trifocals. He was quirky, he was annoying, a sexist, politically incorrect. Yet he had the X factor which attracted me toward the book and keep my inter
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Alex Sarll
Shorter cases from the files of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, complete with framing material making it clear that these, and presumably the novels too, should be taken as Mr Bryant's fanciful versions of the events, with the events as perceived by everyone else implicitly being rather more humdrum. Which certainly goes some way to explain any implausibilities along the way, though equally makes it a shame that something like 'Bryant and May meet Dracula' doesn't go a little further. The stories incl ...more
Donald
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice collection of quirky little cases. Slightly disappointed these 'lost' cases are from 'yesterday' mostly, with just two from the 60s chucked in. It was satisfying to have a case solved that was basically a cliffhanger in one of the books that then was never mentioned in the follow up... Oh and my cover was much less garish, murkier and muted.
Keith Nixon
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the B&M mysteries. A really interesting collection of stories which fill in some blanks from the novels (like what the stone sarcophagus in the basement is). All the stories are good (the author adds an explanation of the background to each at the end) though The Consul's Son is the stand-out. Keep writing, Mr Fowler... ...more
Alexander Gent
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have being reading Christopher Fowler since I was a teenager, I have no intention of stopping anytime at all. Love his combination of humour and a transplanted Golden Age detective style in the modern world. Please do more signings soon Mr F, I have a backlog that need your signature.
Laura Spira
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A joy to read while waiting for the next full length account of Bryant and May's exploits.
Laurel
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I prefer the novels over the casebooks, but this was enjoyable nonetheless.
Bob Green
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A treat for Christmas having the two old detectives back in a batch of entertaining tales which keep you guessing. Great to see the rest of the unit getting some attention too, I especially liked the heartbreaking tale with Janice Longbright taking a lead.
Julie
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of “Lost Cases from the Peculiar Crimes Unit” - short stories that deal with the strange crimes investigated by the unique group of Police officers and support staff that work independently of the ordinary police. Such a force works with eccentric methods on cases that no one else understands, let alone can solve. There is a Chief, known as Land, who has little understanding of what is actually going on. Arthur Bryant is the Detective Chief Inspector whose eccentricities, ideas an ...more
Karen
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are unfamiliar with the Christopher Fowler’s fictional Peculiar Crimes Unit and its two leading Detective Chief Inspectors Arthur Bryant and John May, then this collection of 12 short stories is an ideal place to start. I’ve previously read one of the full length novels and the familiarity of being in the company of the eccentric Bryant and his very patient colleague May, was a delight.

Overseeing the PCU is Unit Chief Raymond Land, a rather ineffective individual most of the time, who bum
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J Fearnley
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-4.5*

I have to say that I think this – England’s Finest – is an excellent place to start. A collection of short stories, lost cases put aside or lost for a while but now collected together for the pleasure of not only Bryant and May fans but for those of us who are new to this author.

Bryant is old school, old fashioned and not very ‘politically correct’ but fascinating in the way in which his mind works, not necessarily good with people but caring and determined to seek the truth of the matter.
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Richard Kettlewood
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
RA

There are some quirky ideas here, and humour, which I like in a book, but the writing is so clunky. Most of the stories seem written on the back of a fag packet (or box of matches), and not revisited until read by the public. Why is a mother taking a small child (who wants an ice cream) to a private evening viewing at Tate Modern when a body falls? Why is the "modern metal door" in the basement converted to wood as the story proceeds? How does the gardener's "green plastic shed" become a box,
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Alan
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating 3

Generally I like short story collections and did like the previous B&M title 'London's Glory', however none of the stories in this one really gripped or excited me.
The writing style and character interactions was up to the usual level, they were probably the reason why I kept going instead of putting this down to come to back later.
A number of the stories were set away from London which may have added to the overall marking down of this collection; Combined with the general lack of othe
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Karen
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've loved the Bryant & May series since reading The Water Room ages ago, they're always funny and intriguing, with so many bits of London history thrown in. I do prefer novels to short stories, but this collection is almost as good as the full length books. I particularly liked Christopher Fowler's article at the end, outlining his inspiration for the series and some of the novels - and paying homage to Edmund Crispin, another quirky crime writer.
The best thing about short story collections is
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Rachael Stray
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although part of a series this was my first encounter with the detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit. The book is a collection of cases which the PCU have investigated over the years. I liked that we saw cases not just in London (hello Transylvania) and from different times in history too. I liked the little mysteries of the weird and wacky cases that actually turned out to be not so mysterious afterall. There’s a lot of humour within the book. I found the foreword really helpfu ...more
Grace Tierney
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely give five stars to a short fiction collection because the quality can be patchy but I loved this one (slightly better than his earlier collection of Bryant and May shorts, in my opinion).

I think my favourite here is the Devil's Triangle - great solution to the puzzle. I was also pleased to find the truth of the corpse in a coffin found in the PCU's basement in one of the main novels.
Sivvy
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Bryant & May series are amongst my favourite books and, while this collection of short stories doesn’t quite allow for the plot development and character arcs that make the novels so addictive, it doesn’t disappoint with some entertaining and quirky tales. ...more
Cynthia
Fantastic, varied tales. There was only one that I thought was not quite at the level of the rest, but it was good nonetheless. I'm very happy with this second collection of the cases of Bryant & May, and Longbright too! ...more
Paul
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great beach read

Another gem from Christopher Fowler can't wait to start another novel / short story I have lived everything so far
Ruth
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice selection of short stories. I thought that one or two were familiar but I am open to correction. If you are already a fan of this series, the. This is a no brainer. Definitely recommended.
Jlnpeacock Peacock
This was a bit different than previous books in the series as each chapter is a completed (solved) crime.
Mary
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, series
Always enjoyable, but prefer the novels to the short stories.
Wayne's
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
As usual great fun. i think I like the novels better.
Lester Muirhead
A wonderful collection of seemingly strange crimes but not quite as strange in the solution. It had me hooked from the first page.
Make sure that you go on to read the other books in this series.
Mike
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant divertissement! The stories are every bit as good as the previous collection, London's Glory but the essay at the end is the best part.
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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
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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)
  • 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)

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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“​You're stuck in the past,' sighed May, returning to his paper.
'I'm not, I'm just too busy catching up to deal with the present. I'll get to the present eventually.' He dug his knife back into the toaster.
'You mean you'll get to it at some time in the future.' 'Yes, when I've finished with the past. I want to know everything before I die, and I'm running out of time.' His knife slipped and catapulted breadcrumbs across the office.”
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