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Seventy-Seven Clocks

(Bryant & May: Peculiar Crimes Unit #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,620 ratings  ·  252 reviews
'The newspapers referred to it as the case of the seventy-seven clocks. There was quite a fuss at the time. We got into terrible trouble. Dear fellow, it was one of our most truly peculiar cases. I remember as if it was yesterday.' In fact, Arthur Bryant remembers very little about yesterday, but he does remember the oddest investigation of his career...
It was late in 1973
Paperback, 480 pages
Published 2006 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2005)
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3.89  · 
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 ·  2,620 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable read, mostly, I think, because of Sam, a totally likeable young woman, who kept me interested. I must say that the more I read, the more totally unlikely the whole story appeared and yet, I kept going to the very end.
So there it is, a totally unbelievable story line, but somehow quite a fascinating one.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. This one's about a Bryant and May case from the early 1970s. If anyone guesses whodunnit on this one, I will be beyond surprised!
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this author, love the senior citizen characters, and the truly odd crimes. I was concerned how Fowler would keep the series going with the heros being so old, but this is a story being told to a reporter. It really doesn't matter what order you read this series as it goes back and forth. This is the fourth book for me, and I will read all of them eventually.
Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler is a part of Fowler's Bryant & May series. Bryant and May are members of the current day London police force but they are in many ways throwbacks to the Victorian era. The novels read like Agatha Christie/Sherlock Holmes through a contemporary filter. They-the books and the heroes-are funny and sweet and eccentric.

In Seventy-Seven Clocks, the series moves back in time to the beginning of the PCU (Peculiar Crime Unit)-a unit formed specifically to bo
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-mystery, 2018
3.5 stars. The complexity of the plots and London setting with loads of historical details attract me to this series. The main characters remain interesting and eccentric, but the rest of the cast in this one is either irritating or bland. The plot is extremely intricate and the various possibilities endless to determine the motive for the killings. Enjoyed it very much.
Adam Stone
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Seventy Seventy Clocks is the third book in the Bryant and May series and although I enjoyed reading the book with its outlandish plot twists and turns and ending I did find this book to be a bit to far fetched (when compared to the others that I have read) for my liking, but it was a very enjoyable read all the same.

I think this is due to the writing which is always interesting to read and is often rather witty and clever. I did like all the little comments about the differences between life i
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, I think, the third time I've read this and I certainly appreciate it more this time, perhaps because I'm able to let the narration have its way.
The best way to summarise the plot is from the back of the book:
"A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a painting in the Naational Gallery. Then a guest at the Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by what appears to be a marshland snake.... Art vandalism, an exploding suspect, pornography, rat poison, Gilbert and Sullivan musicals,
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
The third Bryant and May detective mystery, this one is set in 1973. An eccentric man in Edwardian garb defaces a Waterhouse in the National Gallery. A series of grotesque murders, with a wide variety of modus operandis – snakebite, explosion, throat-cutting, hallucinogenic – take place. The Edwardian fellow and his brother are killed. A lawyer dies trying to pick up a folder of blackmail materials. Many more deaths pile up as the detectives realize that someone is picking off members of the Whi ...more
SEVENTY-SEVEN CLOCKS (Police Procedural-London-1973) – G
Fowler, Christopher – 3rd in series
Doubleday, 2005- UK Hardcover
Arthur Bryant and John May are members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit and their newest case is a perfect fit. A man dies from Cottonmouth snake venom in the lobby of the Savoy; another in blown up by a bomb make of silver and gold and a third from rat poison in face powder. All the deaths relate back to the wealthy Whitstable family, and the Alliance of Eternal Light.
*** I absolut
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For some reason I equate these books to television programmes in my mind.
“Old Dark House” -“Scooby-Doo” “The Water Room” - a documentary about London’s rivers and this one - “Midsomer Murders” a very’ British’ murder series.

"Seventy-Seven Clocks" is hard to review without giving out spoilers, so I will do my best.
Firstly, it was vast improvement on the previous “Water Room”, which felt at times like a school lecture.

The prologue is quiet simply wonderful and well worth a re-read.

Plotting is goo
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Octogenarian detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are back in their third outing in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series and, while set in 1973, readers get a look back to discover how the pair became partners during World War II. As usual, the crimes that they are called upon to solve are peculiar indeed--a lawyer is found dead in a hotel lobby from a snake bite, a pre-Raphaelite painting in the National Gallery is vandalized by a man in Edwardian garb, a suspect explodes, make-up becomes toxic, an ...more
A very entertaining read and charming characters. Only three stars because although it is very well written, the story is extremely far-fetched!
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I really want to like this and I don't really know why it took me a month to read, but I just didn't care about the, what felt like, 50 different plot lines. Normally I love the idea of multiple story lines where everything is tied together in the end. Maybe there were just too many, maybe there were too many characters, none of which, including the leads, I cared for/about. I was intrigued in the beginning by the destruction of the painting and ultimately I still don't understand why that even ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
Technically, this one I'd probably rate like a 3.5 or so (when are we going to get this option?)

I've read four books in this series now, and this one wasn't my favorite, although it is still quite good. In this, the 3rd installment of the Bryant and May mysteries (of the Peculiar Crimes Unit), the two detectives and the others of the PCU are faced with the fact that someone is out to get the Whitstable family and is killing them off by incredibly deadly means, starting off with the death of Pete
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#3 Bryant & May British police procedural featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit. This mystery goes back in time again, to 1973, telling the story of how the PCU investigated the deaths of several members of the noble Whitstable family, members of the fabled Watchmaker's Guild and (they believe) another secret society within the guild. These strange murders, all with a different MO (and all the methods of death very odd indeed) are obviously tied together due to the family connection, but the PC ...more
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Here is another Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) mystery. This time, elderly detectives Bryant and May look back upon a case they worked in 1973. A bizarre attack on a rather unimportant painting gets their attention -- but it's the murders that follow compel them to work the case. These aren't any ordinary murders: one by one, members of the Whitstable family, old money and upper-class, are being picked off. The methods of killing are bizarre, and evidence points to different suspects each time. What


pub 2005
spring 2012
tbr busting
Victorian era Australian art
period piece
br - english - London
Poison! ONOES.

John Ruskin

Cotton mouth

15 hours 34 mins
Blurb - The newspapers referred to it as the case of the seventy seven clocks. There was quite a fuss at the time. We got into terrible trouble. Dear fellow, it was one of our most truly peculiar cases. I remember as if it was yesterday.' In fact, Arthur Bryant remembers very little about yesterd
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m growing very fond of this series, despite - or maybe due to - its improbable storylines. That’s to be expected from Scotland Yard’s PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit), though, and the very implausibility is what gives it its charm. This episode is set in 1973, which was neat - modern era, but before cell phones and PC’s. Starts off with a lively, two-prong bang: the bizarre poisoning death of an elderly man in the lobby of the famous Savoy Hotel, and an Edwardian-garbed maniac storming into the Nati ...more
Joseph Teller
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, detective
This is part of the Bryant & May Peculiar Crimes Mystery series, and is one of the better ones in the series. The events in the book are set in 1973 and basically are taken from Bryants biographer's attempt to gather case details from him about their more unusual cases.

In this case it involves a series of crimes that seem at first unconnected, and for which the motive and who is performing them appear to be out of reach of the detectives for nearly three quarters of the book. A man dressed i
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunnit
Oh I like these books. This while not my favorite of the ones I've read was still engrossing. A suprisingly dense book--the paperback seemed slim when I started it, but it's 450 pages--and I marathon read like 300 of those in a setting. I was so baffled who the killer was, who was doing this (picking off the descendents of a Victorian watchmaker) that I wanted to keep going but it was so late and there were so many pages left.

Really much credit for the bulk of the book--it didn't feel superfluou
Doug Beatty
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Christopher Fowler does it again with another Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery!

This one takes place in the 1970's and is one of the early cases when the PCU has first been formed... and what a case it turns out to be. There are several murders, each one seeming to be more bizarre than the last. And, a gentleman in Edwardian garb enters an art gallery and manages to destroy a painting that was on loan from Australia. Later, this same man turns up dead. In typical Fowler fashion, you f
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2013
This book started out interesting enough and I was enjoying the story. However, toward the end it went from a peculiar crime to a downright ridiculous tale. I don't even think I quite understood why all the murders were happening, either, it was so 'out there'.

When there was action, the author did a wonderful job and I felt I was there with the wonderful descriptions and sense of place. However, one of the instances with a characters was so strange I just couldn't suspend my belief. Not to ment
Jill Hutchinson
Being a devoted fan of the Peculiar Crimes Unit series, there comes a time when one of the books has to be your "least favorite" and this one fills the bill. Fowler's characters are wonderful and the plots are outre but this story really went over the edge. It is so complex that I can't begin to provide a synopsis of the plot; suffice it to say that it goes beyond insane and stretches credibility even for Fowler. Does it mean I didn't like it......not on your life!!! I am hooked on detectives Br ...more
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I think if I reread it, I might bump it up to "really liked it". There was so much going on and the bit at the end was very confusing to me, and a bit unreal. I haven't found the other ones to be quite so fanciful. Of course, this is supposed to be a memory of Bryant, so it's very possible the author let loose, figuring he could blame it on Bryant's imagination and embellishments. I did laugh out loud at several swipes he took at the upper crust.

Yes, upon rereading it, I gave it more stars. I t
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detectives Bryant and May run London's Peculiar Crimes Unit, where the most unusual cases get investigated. In this third book of the series, a spate of bizarre murders comes to their attention. In investigating these connected deaths, they find themselves researching a Victorian tontine, protecting the most crabby of families, and receiving unsolicited help from a nosy teenager.

As with the other two PCU books, the plot of Seventy-Seven Clocks is bizarre and convoluted, but in a good way, keepin
Susan in NC
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys British mysteries with a strong dose of humor, irreverence and history
Recommended to Susan in NC by: Amazon
Shelves: favorites
This was a lot of fun to read, as were the first two "Bryant & May" thrillers; I really enjoyed the combination of mystery, historical background on London, Victorian England, guilds, pre-Raphaelites, the occult - you name it, Bryant & May draw it into their investigations! (Hence, the name of their police unit, the "Peculiar Crimes Unit"). Other readers have criticized the book as slower or not as good as the first two, but I really enjoyed it; it did drag in some parts, but I found the ...more
I normally love these Bryant and May but this one was just too long, it went on and on. If I didn't usually like them so much, I probably would not have stuck it out. I've read them out of sequence and the Water Room is my favorite and this one my least favorite. I would like to have them adapted for TV as only the Brits can do.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bryant and May are called when a series of bizarre murders begin and it seems that all of the victims are members of the same family. They are all members of the Watchmakers Guild and the detectives need to find out why and who is targeting the family before they are all wiped out. This was stranger than the other two episodes but very enjoyable.
Another adventure with the PCU. I always end up learning something historical in these novels. This time it was Victorian England. I was totally engrossed in this mystery which had some pretty dark aspects to it. There didn't seem to be as much light hearted humor. There were some scenes I actually had a hard time picturing. I did lose some fingernails along the way.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May #11)
“His bedroom was a reflection of Bryant's mind, its untidy shelves filled with games and puzzles stacked in ancient boxes, statues and mementoes competing for space with books on every subject imaginable, from Sensation and Perception in the History of Experimental Psychology to Illustrated British Ballads and A History of Indian Philosophy.
"What are you reading at the moment?' asked May.
"Batman," said Bryant. "The drawings are terribly good.”
“When may did so, he found every cup and saucer, plate, vase, and bowl standing arranged across the floor like pieces in a scaled-up chess game.
"The Whitstable family tree," Bryant explained, entering and setting down his tea tray. "It's the only way I could get it sorted out in my head. I had to see them properly laid out, who was descended from whom." He pointed to a milk jug. "Daisy Whitstable is bottom left-hand corner, by the fireguard. Next to her is the egg cup, brother Tarquin... Now, pass me Marion and Alfred Whitstable over there."
"What's their significance?"
"We need them to drink out of.”
More quotes…