London’s Glory is a departure from the norm for the Bryant and May London detective series by Christopher Fowler. This time his two ageing stars of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (the PCU) feature in a series of short stories, rather than the usual full-length novel treatment.
A bonus feature of this change of format is that each gets an introduction by Christopher Fowler, letting us readers gain insights into where the ideas come from and what the author was trying to achieve with each piece.
The eleven short stories range more widely than simply London, with an Agatha Christie style murder on a yacht off Turkey, but even those in London show a fair degree of imagination in their staging, such as the one where all the action takes place on a London bus and the one with a dead body surrounded by pristine snow.
As with the recent novels, Arthur Bryant is a little more ‘normal’ than usual, in that for all his eccentricities he no longer causes implausible technical malfunctions, reverting ‘just’ to those of a clumsy person with a fractious attitude to technology, and his interest in the supernatural is just that, rather than a route to actually solving a crime. For me, that makes his character all the more enjoyable: being that bit closer to plausible makes his eccentricities that bit more funny and moving.
All highly enjoyable, as well as being an impressively proficient tour around the differently styles of murder mysteries – locked room, country house, precinct and so on – especially as each is delivered with a twist.
If you like this, you might also be interested in Bryant & May – The Burning Man.