Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

It must be Christmas because my favorite authors are bestowing gifts on me! Another Bryant and May!! And another Amos Walker!! And another Mma Precious Ramotswe. Glorious Christmas break.
Yes, the boys are back. I wish I could visit their agency and talk to Arthur and John. I have no doubt that Arthur would be difficult to live with, but I do enjoy the frequent visits, especially the kittens. This is the team’s 11th adventure.

This tale begins in a cemetery (not a graveyard). Two teens witness a grave-robbing. The boy is run by a car the next day. Then the seven ravens of the Tower of London disappear. Being peculiar crimes, it is up to Arthur Bryant and John May must figure out how these two mysteries are related. People lie, conceal, misdirect, and generally act like stoic English folks.

Soon we are introduced to Victorian body snatchers, black magic, crossbow archers, secret bank vaults, and industrial waste. The sinister necromancer Mr. Merry, who seems much more dangerous in this book, challenges the confidence, assurance, and perspicacity of Mr. Bryant.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is again on the edge of being dissolved. It has a new manager, a woman who spouts the last business jargon. (She is reminiscent of Jake Gyllenhaal’s role in “Nightcrawler.”) She brings out the worst in Bryant, who does not appreciate someone with an “M.B.A. in advanced gibberish.” In the end, of course, she succumbs to the charm of the PCU, including the kittens.

Mr. Fowler has created Bryant and May as sweet, fusty, endearing throwbacks to the Golden Age of mysteries, when the genre was brainy and pure. They are the last of a breed and they know it. They remain exactly where they belong.

I love this series, and I look forward to the 12th. These books are always refreshing, and I so enjoy entering Bryant and May’s world. Our world would be better if they really lived in IRL. I only hope that they are never closed down. These guys deserve to live forever.

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