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Whispers Under Ground

(Rivers of London #3)

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  51,309 ratings  ·  3,147 reviews
An Alternate Cover edition can be found here

In Tufnell Park, North London, a set of railway tracks run under a school playground, leading to and from King's Cross. Wet, filthy, dangerous. Lovely place. And one Sunday before Christmas, Abigail Kamara, one of my endless brood of cousins, dragged me and my long-suffering colleague Lesley May down there to look for a ghost.

We
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Paperback, 303 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Del Rey (first published June 21st 2012)
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Popular Answered Questions
George Apparently not. This reference may be the most erroneous blurb since one for Podkayne of Mars called the title character "an intergalactic sexpot". (T…moreApparently not. This reference may be the most erroneous blurb since one for Podkayne of Mars called the title character "an intergalactic sexpot". (The action takes place at or inside the orbit of Mars, and it's a Robert A. Heinlein juvenile.)

From https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph... under the "Covers Always Lie" trope:

■ The blurb on the UK version of Whispers Under Ground gives the impression that Agent Reynolds' "deep religious beliefs" are going to cause her to come to blows with Peter. In the book itself, her religious beliefs are mentioned twice: When she asks Peter not to take the Lord's name in vain, and when at the end she's mentioned to have found a local evangelical family to spend Christmas with. Neither has any impact at all on the plot.

• The US Del Rey edition is even worse, calling her "a born-again Christian who regards all magic as the work of Satan", although there is zero evidence of this in the book.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Nataliya
"Was it better to die in happy ignorance or terrified knowledge? The answer, if you’re a Londoner, is that it’s better not to die at all."
This series does what most urban fantasies avoid¹ - it seamlessly integrates the 'urban' and the 'fantastical' parts, creating a lovely well-crafted enjoyable reading experience that remains grounded in reality, with just the right touch of whimsy to keep it moving along, *nothing to see here*. (Don't you just loooove my pathetic attempts at police humor?
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carol.
My review of the story

Thoughts for the audio version narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith:

Brilliant. There's nothing more I can say. I wanted to sit and binge-listen, but was afraid my muscles would atrophy during the hours it would take to listen at normal speed. In the third book, Leslie's voice is more intelligible, presumably the result of her surgeries. Voicing of Zach the half-fae had me laughing. Thanks to Dr. Walid, I'm pretty sure I could do a Scottish brogue if I tried. The voicing of the
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carol.

Well, I was going to work on my paper today. But then this arrived in the mail, hardcover & signed, direct from London. How could I resist? Within pages I was chuckling aloud, but also relishing the developing feeling of danger.

I can tell you now what will happen. Someday, I'm going to plan a trip to London, and like a complete book nerd, I will attempt to trace down the steps Peter Grant takes in solving these cases. Yes, the books are that good, and the only things hindering my complete unders
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Annet
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun & magical, those weird books of Ben Aaronovitch about DC Grant, young policeman and apprentice magician! Loved it. Out of this world. This series.... had to get used to it, but it's hilariously good and so much underground humor :-)
Not my normal cup of tea but thanks to Caro who recommended this series to me. And I recommend it!
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Em Lost In Books
3.5*.

The more I read these books, the more I fall in love with Peter and his banter with other characters (old & new). A string of new characters were introduced here and they blended very well with story and old crew. Eager to see what test Aaronovitch put Peter through.
Adina
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not know how, but I always end up giving a Peter Grant novel 4 stars although I am not usually satisfied with the plot construction. I guess it is the humour which is right up my alley, the characters which are diverse and interesting and last but not least, London as a setting.

This time the setting is the London Underground and the London Sewers. It involves some magical pottery, an art gallery, some strange underground dwellers and a lot of shit (literally).

The first "touristic attracti
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Lois Bujold
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The advantage of being a semiretired adult is that there is nobody around who can force one to stop reading and go to sleep. The disadvantage of same is the four hours of daylight left that one confronts when crawling out of bed the next afternoon...

This series, surer now perhaps of its survival to the end of the broadcast season, seems to be settling in for a good run. More lavish invention with Peter, Lesley, Thomas, the Folly, and of course London. I am happy with this; not for me the readerl
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Bradley
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Re-read 8/29/21:

Amusing to see the team up with the Americans once again. Totally fascinating art world, too.



Original Review:

I've mentioned how these books go down as smooth as jazz, and there's a lot of honesty in it, although the jazz bits are downplayed almost entirely in this book in favor of a little traditional artistic murder.

Not that art is being murdered, though that certainly might be the case, or that the artists might be doing the murdering, which also might be the case, or that the
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Philip
3.5ish stars.

Another solid entry in a very enjoyable UF series.

It's always a pleasure to spend some time with Peter Grant and company. Some things I particularly like about this book:
- Leslie is back! And I love that her... condition... really isn't a huge deal. It wasn't used to turn her into a tragic victim, but it also wasn't glossed over and essentially "fixed" overnight. Cool to see her growing as a practitioner as well.

- There are always several great new characters with each installment,
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Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
I’m on BookTube! =)

”Practically the whole point of being police is that you don’t gather information covertly. You’re supposed to turn up on people’s doorsteps, terrify them with the sheer majesty of your authority, and keep asking questions until they tell you what you want to know.”

I think I have a rather mixed relationship with this urban fantasy series because on the one hand I want to know how it continues and on the other hand I never seem to be able to bring myself to pick up the next boo
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William Gwynne
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, audible, fantasy
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

“This is why magic is worse even than quantum physics. Because, while both spit in the eye of common sense, I've never yet had a Higgs bosun turn up and try to have a conversation with me.”

So, finished the third instalment in the Rivers of London, an urban fantasy series that is cracking up to be the owner of some of the most memorable characters and to be consistently ent
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Mike (the Paladin)
As I sit here considering this book there's a part of me that wonders why I'm not more taken, more enthusiastic about this series. I can recommend it. It's a good series filled with good writing. I like the understated humor. I like the interaction with the world Aaronovitch has created and its denizens.

Somehow with all that I'm always, at best mildly enthusiastic about them. I read the first back when it came out in one of those reader copies with "NOT TO BE SOLD" written all over it. I liked
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Lyn
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The train kept a rollin’.

And by that I mean the binge reading of Ben Aaronovitch’s PETERGRANTAPALOOZA!

Aaronovitch’s 2012 entry into the smoothest UF series since EVER, and the third in the series, may be the best one yet. It’s like if Ben and Neil Gaiman and Tana French sat down over a pint or three and hammered out what is best in life, and no Cohen it’s not “to crush enemy, see him driven before you and to hear the lamentation of the vemen” – it’s to know that this book is only one in a series
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Carolyn
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2017
The discovery of the body of an American student at Baker Street tube station leads Peter Grant, apprentice Wizard on the hunt for a rogue magician both above and below ground. I love these books for their sense of magic as well as their sense of humour. The author keeps coming up with new characters and new magic in the streets of London and it is all very entertaining. Peter and his off-sider Lesley are joined by a FBI agent for this one so it's fun to watch her be initiated into their world. ...more
Phrynne
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the series and either they keep getting better or the characters are growing on me the more I read. Or maybe both. Certainly this book was very funny, laugh aloud funny actually usually due to the main character's dry comments about anything and everything. I always love a book set in London especially when it includes lots of facts (and fictions too) about old London. Well this story includes some bits about a very old London indeed so I was well satisfied. I have been ...more
Sam Quixote
Somebody’s murdered - whodunit?

Doesn’t sound like much of a story does it? It’s not. Honestly, I was gobsmacked that Ben Aaronovitch got a 400+ page novel out of something so insubstantial. Nothing. Happens. For hundreds of pages! This is how you write like a hack professionally, guys.

The narrative is rambling, unfocused, horribly overlong and utterly boring. A vague and unmemorable murder happens near the start and then for practically every scene after I kept wondering what relevance they ha
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Lata
2021-08: 4.5 stars. What can I really add, other than four of my favourite supporting characters appear in this book: Abigail, Guleed, Zach and Jaget. Abigail is full of attitude. Guleed and Peter share an eyeroll over a racist comment from a colleague. “Goblin Boy” Zach is just so hilariously put-upon. Spelunker Jaget is mostly unfazed by the weird bollocks, and I’m so glad about how Peter and he get along.

2017-02: 4.5 stars. In which, Peter Grant goes under ground, literally, in pursuit of a m
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Orient
Imagine: You’re in the underground tunnel. You hear whispers. There is somebody lurking in the shadows...


The creature gets nearer and nearer and at last you hear….

Hello. It’s me :) just me...


That’s the way I feel about this book. The places were so proper and so awesome almost all the way through the book, but I lacked something gripping, suspenseful or more spooky. I longed for more magic.

We have a spooky underground

even with

and strange and some kind of dangerous people, silently lurking in t
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Catie
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Oh, these books are just so much fun. I doubt I will ever stop reading them. The mysteries confuse me (and are mostly forgettable), I still don’t really understand how the magic works (and neither does the main character), and I really have no idea where this is all going. But I enjoy every minute of these books and most of all, this character.

What a witty, likable, self-deprecating, fully-realized character Ben Aaronovitch has created here. I could spend hours just reading his random asides abo
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Paul
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying this series and it really shouldn't come as a surprise as they're a geek's dream come true; at times it feels like there are more geek culture references than there is plot.

These books are also really funny, which took me slightly by surprise as nobody had mentioned they were funny in all the various reviews I read before starting the series. I think they'd really appeal to fans of Douglas Adams, Tom Holt or Terry Pratchett.

To be honest, I keep almost giving them a five star
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Tracey
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Grant.

I could almost make that my entire review.

I have a friend I met when we both worked at Barnes & Noble many years ago. She went off to school and then to New York to seek her fortunes, and she is a) blessed with a great many friends and b) an even worse correspondent than I am, so we don't email or call or any of that very often. Now and then, though, if we're going to be in the same city at the same time, we get together, and it's almost as though the time since the last time we met
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Wanda Pedersen
2021 Re-Read

***2021 Dog Days of Summer***

It's time for my summer theme and this year I have chosen to read books that include canine companions. In that spirit, I'm continuing on with Peter Grant and his faithful canine, Toby. Unfortunately Toby doesn't get much page time in this installment, but he does provide some warm welcomes when Peter returns to the Folly.

I still enjoy these books a great deal and I can't believe how many details had faded from my memory! It was very enjoyable to rene
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Michelle F
“Holy paranormal activity, Nightingale – to the Jag mobile”

Oho. I am climbing fully on board for this river ride now! Whispers Underground was an absolute hoot.

The third installment in this very British urban fantasy/police procedural hybrid has Peter Grant assigned to the Murder Squad in an investigation that will take him to some dark (and smelly) places.

I found the first two books of the Rivers of London series to be fun but somewhat inconsistently captivating, but in Whispers Underground m
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B Schrodinger
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, humour
Ben sure isn't a one trick pony. The third volume of his Peter Grant series is a high point and while not as astounding as the first volume, it's way better than the second and much more fun than any of the others.

This time around Peter Grant, PC Magician's Apprentice, faces a mystery of a dead art student in the Tube. Sounds mundane and not Peter Grant at all, but the murder weapon is a shard of magically imbued pottery. So what we get is a wonderful and claustrophobic chase into the literal un
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Brent
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
Another fun adventure with Peter Grant.

Bonus points for Pratchett and Blackadder references.
Trish
Aug 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome! This is my favourite volume yet!

There's been another murder (of course, what else?) and this time it's a tad more complicated because the victim is the son of an American senator. But does that mean some American practicioners are in London? Or did the poor lad stumble into something magic-related by accident? What does his "flat-mate", who might or might not be human, know?

It's been a few months and Lesley is now Nightingale's apprentice as well. She doesn't go out much and is on perma
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Rob
Executive Summary: Another solid entry in this series, and I hope to get to the next book much sooner than I got to this one.

Audiobook: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith once again does an excellent job, making this series a must listen for me.

Full Review
You may not know it from looking at my Goodreads shelf, but I was never much of a fantasy reader growing up. That changed in college. For several years after college, I didn't read much, but what I read tended to be Urban Fantasy. I just couldn't seem t
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Richard
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
7.5/10

The weakest of the three Peter Grant novels I've listened to, just not quite capturing the same excitement the first two provided. Maybe it's me going into them so quick one after the other or maybe it was just a weaker novel. Either way, a weak Peter Grant novel is better than a lot of books out there and I still enjoyed myself!

It seems there is some overall story arc being put in the pipelines here and this one hints at things to come and sets up more of the world more whilst still havin
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Tony
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel I should just write: 'see previous two reviews', as it certainly applies here and I would just be writing more of the same... one of these seamlessly merges into the next with little fuss or any change of direction. That sounds like a criticism. It's is most certainly not.

One thing I'd like to point out however (for audio version only)... Mr Aaronovitch knows his London but should have taken the London traffic into account for any poor chap wondering around with his iPhone (and it's pathe
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Mimi
4.5 stars

It doesn't normally take me this long to get through urban fantasy. The book just got away from me. Literally. I lost it, along with the rest of the series, to relatives visiting over Christmas break and didn't get around to getting another copy until last week. So I'm just making sure to say the dates read have no bearings on how much I like this book.

This is another great installment by Ben Aaronovitch and the series definitely improves with each book. All the praises I had for the p
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11,081 followers
Ben Aaronovitch's career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series.

Born and raised in London he says that he'll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers.
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Other books in the series

Rivers of London (9 books)
  • Rivers of London (Rivers of London, #1)
  • Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London, #2)
  • Broken Homes (Rivers of London, #4)
  • Foxglove Summer (Rivers of London, #5)
  • The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London, #6)
  • Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London, #7)
  • False Value (Rivers of London, #8)
  • Amongst Our Weapons (Rivers of London, #9)

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