Ten-Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler is another enjoyable outing for the detective pair Bryant & May, even though it does not show off his pair of detectives from the Peculiar Crimes Unit quite at their best.
The book is rather heavy on characterisation – which is a joy as the characters are so rich and often funny – but the plot is weak at times and not quite up to the standards of other titles in the series. The narrative is much more straight-forward, with little shifting of viewpoint between the police and other characters, and the final scene in which the motives and methods of murder are revealed as a group of people talk to each other is rather a flat ending, even if there have been some moments of high drama just before.
Yet we also get Arthur Bryant’s continuing comic misfortunes with mobile phones and love of London history, not to mention Peter May’s tragic family history to give humour, a very London setting and the doubt always at the back of the mind as to who the author might be kill come the next scene…
So if you like the characters in this series, it’s an enjoyable reunion with them but if you are not yet familiar with them, it is better to start with one of the other titles such as Seventy-Seven Clocks or The Water Room.