The Memory of Blood by Christopher Fowler

Arthur Bryant and John May are delightful. I wish I had the pleasure of meeting them. Arthur Bryant – he defines the English eccentric. Set in London, most of the books’ locations are recognizable London landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Gallery and various theatres. One fascinating element was featured in The Water Room was the networks of tunnels and underground rivers underneath the city. One of the magnificent benefits of reading is the ability to visit places where you have never, and probably never, will be able to see.

Christopher Fowler weaves many factual layers of London’s history and society throughout the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) series. Bryant and May have been a team since WWII, and we learn much about their history together. They are very different, but very complementary. We couldn’t have one without the other.

The Memory of Blood is the ninth and latest volume in the series. The action centers around an historical theater under renovation and the characters include many veteran actors. The key component is a life-size puppet of Mr. Punch of Punch and Judy tradition.

The series is intelligent, clever, funny, and unconventional. For some people it may take a bit to get into the books; they can be slow to begin with. However, you will be glad you made the effort.

I began reading the series with The Victoria Vanishes, the sixth book in the series, which takes inspiration from the classic novel,The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin. I suggest you begin with Full Dark House, the first in the series.

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