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Bryant & May on the Loose

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #7)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,059 ratings  ·  222 reviews

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is no more. After years of defying the odds and infuriating their embarrassed superiors, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May have at last crossed the line. This is the twenty-first century and not even their eccentric genius or phenomenal success rate solving London’s most unusual crimes can save them. While Bryant takes to his bed, his
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Bantam (first published July 16th 2009)
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Jan It helps to follow all the stuff that's going on for sure, with all the various characters. So I would say you can, but better if you start from the…moreIt helps to follow all the stuff that's going on for sure, with all the various characters. So I would say you can, but better if you start from the beginning.
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  2,059 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another good entry in the series. I am, most definitely, on a roll here. Once again the members of the PCU are called upon to solve a strange murder but this time there are some major catches to the case. Before the case is in fact acknowledged to be just that, the Unit has ceased to exist for the first time in over 50 years, it's members disbursed, unhappily and unsuccessfully, around London.

Now the Peculiar Crime Unit will be allowed to exist on a very short leash. They can have a week; no one
Jan Rice
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Catching sight of himself in the dressing table mirror, he was repelled by the scrofulous old hermit he found staring back. If I get any wrinklier I'll be mistaken for a shar-pei, he thought. His eyes were red on the outside, worse on the inside. His white tonsure stuck up around the ears. He looked like a frightened monk.

That is one of the unlikely main characters, both of whom, with a handful or so of other colleagues, are detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit (known as the PCU), tasked with
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written, absorbing crime novel with some fantastic twists and some excellent London history.
There is nothing better than reading something set in your home town and knowing every road and alley.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm running out of adjectives and hyperbole with this series.Brilliant,and a love song to London too.A delight.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by Christopher Fowler and so (obviously) the only book I have read in the Bryant & May series. It is the seventh of the ten (so far) books and, if this book is indicative of the quality, then it is an excellent series.

Click here to read the History Of Bryant & May on Christopher Fowler's website.

The story is an enjoyable tale of a ritualistic killer who appears to be evoking pagan rites in the Kings Cross area of London whilst the area is going through
Will Hogarth
On the whole I enjoyed this book. The main characters were well formed and there was enough to the supporting characters that kept the real enough. The plot is enjoyable and it all moves along at a nice pace

I was close to giving it 3 or 4 stars instead of the 2 I ended up awarding it. That was all the way to the end of the book.

Then the end left me feeling cold and cheated ... not something that happens to often ... but in this case that's how I felt and to a point I almost felt like I would
Jill Hutchinson
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Home Office has finally succeeded in closing the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) and the team members are out of work. But wait!!!.....a headless corpse is discovered and the Unit is back in business in a wild tale of human sacrifice, old wells, and urban development. It will take four murders to bring this case to a close as Bryant and May, those lovable geriatric detectives, follow false clues and the wrong man before solving the mystery. The notorious Mr. Fox makes his first appearance in this ...more
Dylan Lancaster
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the opening chapter / letter and laughed out loud several times when reading it. Over the last few years that I have been reading and immersing myself in the world of these characters I have grown to know and love them. This book is a little different than the others in the series but as always a delight from start to finish. Sad to lose a loved character and was wonderful to have a little bit of romance in there for a while.
A wonderful book with a great plot, fascinating characters, great writing with historical arcane details delightfully woven in with Arthur May's sleuthing. I loved it! Note; I am using a touch screen laptop for the first time so my shelf choice got a little mixed up.
This episode takes place in St Pancras and Kings Cross, an area in complete evolution, and there were interesting snippets about it's history. The intrigue was quite entertaining but seems to overlap with the next novel in the series, so I'm off to listen to that.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complex plot, revolving around King's Cross. The middle dragged somewhat but the end pulls you on to the next book so here I go, willy-nilly. The murderer is indeed an interesting character...
Tim Pendry
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, esoteric, british
I first came across Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May series on the horror shelves and very much enjoyed the first novels in that context. All that remains of these early efforts is the attempt to create an esoteric or supernatural backdrop to the crime (in this case, ancient paganism), a (somewhat mild) dash of the gruesome and some sense of evil (albeit now psychological).

Some agent or publisher had the bright idea of shifting the 'brand' from horror to crime and emphasising the standard
Kathy Davie
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Seventh in the Bryant & May detective mystery series revolving around two past-retirement-age detectives and the unit they've inspired. Based in London and taking place before the 2012 Olympic Games.

My Take
This series is great fun as it incorporates myths and mysteries that are “real” in our own world. Fowler makes it even more of a twist with Bryant’s biggest weakness being his need to pull everything around myth and magic. It’s also his greatest strength. Although May’s mention of the 900-
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a series you need to read in order, but, alas, I can't get the first few books.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-audiobooks
A mix of the esoteric and mundane, this mystery follows the PCU on a search for a decapitating murderer that may, or may not, have a historical connection with King's Cross. It is one of the better Bryant and May mysteries, with strong writing, a suspenseful plot, and a dramatic conclusion.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, british-mystery
The quirkiness of these books keep me coming back for more. I enjoy all the characters, history tidbits, recurring story line and the mystery in this one. I thought the first third was a little on the slow side but the story then picked up and captured my imagination.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit has been disbanded and octogenarian detectives Arthur Bryant and John May look set for retirement. That is until a headless body is found in a freezer. A mysterious figure with antlers made of knives also catches their interest, but are the two connected? Either way, Bryant & May and the rest of the PCU are back in business, only with very limited resources and so little time.

I’d never heard of the Bryant & May series of books by Christopher Fowler until Bryant
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This and "Off the Rails" make a pair involving the devious Mr. Fox. Now that I've read them for a second time the details are falling into place better and they are even more attractive. In this one the Unit has been disbanded and everyone is trying to find other work. Their enemies in the Home Office are determined to get rid of them and it looks as if they have done it. Bimsley, however, finds a body in an empty storefront in Kings Cross and the detectives search around for a place they can ...more
Pam Baddeley
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
In this seventh B & M mystery, it is a few weeks after the disbanding of the Peculiar Crimes Unit at the end of 'The Victoria Vanishes' by their arch-enemy Kasavian. Arthur Bryant is sinking into depression, not even wanting to see his partner May. May makes an attempt to appeal to Kasavian's subordinate, when one of the team members finds a headless body in the King's Cross area while doing some casual work, on the basis that the area is being redeveloped for the 2012 Olympics and other ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
A headless corpse in a freezer and a strange figure running around wearing deerhide and a set of antlers made from kitchen knives - if that doesn't sound like a peculiar case, what does? Unfortunately, the Peculiar Crimes Unit has just been disbanded, its leading detectives, octogenarians Arthur Bryant and John May shoved into retirement and the rest of its members scattered. Fearing the negative publicity that might arise from the case, however, the powers that be reluctantly agree to put the ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh no! The Peculiar Crimes Unit has been disbanded by order of the British Home Office. Arthur Bryant is depressed and refuses to leave home while his partner, John May, is considering becoming a private investigator. And then a headless corpse is discovered in the King's Cross neighborhood of London and May convinces the government that if the crime is not solved quickly the economic benefits of the upcoming 2012 Olympics could be impacted. As a result, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is given one ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great if you're interested in the history of the Kings Cross area, but as a thriller it sucks.

Trouble with this series is you keep expecting the supernatural or X-files type of storyline but the author constantly shies away from it so there's nothing really 'peculiar' about their investigations; it's just an ordinary crime series. And the Bryant character is not as rude as Fowler keeps Telling the reader he is.
If you want 'peculiar' then switch to Ben Aaronovitch or Jim Butcher; their stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent mystery with Bryant and May. I enjoy the London background and history that is included in each book. In addition to the mystery and murders, this one includes information about St. Pancras Old Church, one of the oldest in England, and its historic cemetery. I went to the internet and got additional information about the area around St. Pancras/ King's Cross area and was surprised how well Fowler worked it into the plot.
I have another one in my book stack. Great fun!
I am enjoying the character development. I found it interesting how each member of the defunct PCU was handling their unemployment. Until a headless body was found along with some sightings of a stag man. I found the history of St Pancras, though for some reason I kept reading it as St Pancreas....It was sad to see Bryant disappearing into himself until the mention of the stag man. The reuniting of the PCU was deserved. Hope they stay together. But the ending...oh....
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another delightful entry in Fowler's Peculiar Crimes unit series which blends an elderly odd-couple of detectives with plots and ideas that seem inspired by things like the old "Avengers" TV show and Hammer horror films. Fowler writes with a great sense of humor & wit, and his twisty, complicated plots always keep one guessing. Haven't picked one of these up in awhile, and I nearly forgot how much fun they are.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
as always, this book was classic Bryant and May fun..

did wonder at the beginning with everything in a bit of decline, but it puled itself up sharply.

there seemed to be a bit less hocuspocus stuff than usual.... but great non the less.

looking forward to next in series now.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud
These books seem to start slowly, and this one was no exception. They're worth persisting with though and have some nice turns of phrase. The end of this one left quite a bit unresolved that I'd expected to be tied up, but I have a sense that this was deliberate.
Christopher Roden
A cleverly crafted cliff-hanger.
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Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name

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

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)
  • 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)
“Life is a very beautiful dream. I'm so glad I chose not to wake up from it just yet” 3 likes
“Tremble had a secret. Underneath his dreary exterior, he was quite interesting. When his penchant for investigating the area's past was indulged, a light shown in his eyes and he became almost passionate, which is why his wife kept a stack of local history books on her bedside table.” 1 likes
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