Two small children - playing a game called 'Witch-Hunter' - place a curse on a young woman eating lunch in a church courtyard. An hour later the woman is found dead. Then a society photographer is stabbed to death in a nearby park and suddenly a link emerges between the two cases. As the members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit investigate, they realise that the case might not just end in disaster - it might also get everyone killed.
©2012 Christopher Fowler (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
In the churchyard of London's St. Bride's Church, a young woman sits reading until, driven away by the annoyance of two young children, she enters the church's nave. Minutes later, she collapses and dies. The children report that they were playing a game of "witch hunter" and put a curse on her that killed her.
When the autopsy fails to identify a specific cause of death, Arthur Bryant of the Home Office's Peculiar Crimes Unit naturally wants the case. But the Metropolitan Police have jurisdiction and the PCU, being persona non grata in the Home Office, lack the power to take over.
Certainly their enemy-in-chief, the satanic Oscar Kasavian, isn't about to lift a finger to help them. He has vowed to wipe out the PCU and, particularly its beyond-retirement-age leads, Arthur Bryant and John May. Imagine Bryant and May's surprise, then, when Kasavian almost humbly asks them to help him with a problem involving his young wife.
As Bryant and May and the rest of the PCU team begin to investigate, the case takes on ever larger proportions. Government corruption, whistleblowers in private industry, mental illness and its history in London, private clubs, Russian gangsters, codes and ciphers and the supernatural are all thrown into the heady mix. On top of all that, there are disquieting revelations of how the British class system, cronyism and the complete disregard of commercial/government conflicts of interest conspire to ensure that a cabal of venal and ruthless men stay in power in British government.
But this is no grim, deadly serious police procedural. With the PCU, that's just not possible. Arthur Bryant is the absent-minded fellow with his latest meal evidenced down the front of his clothes and his cell phone made unusable by the melted sweets on it. He can't understand why people take exception to his conducting experiments at home and in the office involving things like pig carcasses and explosives. John May is Bryant's opposite: sartorially impeccable, careful to massage egos when necessary and a believer that the simplest answer is usually the right one. Despite their vast differences, Bryant and May make an effective team and, as always, they go right down to the wire in their investigation.
This tenth book in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series is notable for its use of London settings in the story. Descriptions of churches, museums, streets and history bring the city alive. This was a particularly satisfying story, one of my absolute favorites in the series. I laughed aloud several times but, as always with this series, I learned a lot and I was touched by the very human members of the team and the people they deal with.
This book can be read as a standalone, but I would suggest that at the very least, you read the previous book, The Memory of Blood, first. There are certain plot issues that come out of that book and it will make The Invisible Code that much more satisfying to know about them. Best of all, though, would be to read the whole series from the beginning, starting with Full Dark House.
One final mystery, though. The book is out in the UK, but as of September, 2012, there is no publication date listed in the US. However, you can get the audiobook from Audible. That's what I did and I can highly recommend it. The narrator, Tim Goodman, is wonderful. His voice for Arthur Bryant is dead-on perfection.
I love the way Tim Goodman brings these characters to life, especially dear old Arthur Bryant. I highly recommend the audio version of the entire series, and I'm so glad that the first one has just been made available.
While the plotting of The Invisible Code may be a bit less meticulous than that of the previous volumes, and the mystery itself ends in a rather hurried denouement that ties up the loose ends of a prior subplot in a clumsy manner, it seems hardly to matter in the end, because the story is, like all its predecessors, still enthralling. Once again, Bryant and May land a blow for truth and justice against the dark heart of London power on behalf of its most vulnerable prey. And from the conclusion, it would appear that the darkest is yet to come...
I love this series. It is funny & smart. The plotting is intricate & there are red herrings galore. One of my favorite Audible series.
Fowler's love of London, particularly it's odd & hidden side, is used to good effect in Arthur Bryant's character.
The reader (Tim Goodman) does a brilliant job. His depiction of Arthur Bryant is spot on.
This is the tenth in the Bryant & May series. If you haven't read any of these books you are missing something good. I do highly recommend the Bryant & May series as a whole.
Each character's voice is instantly recognizable. Delivery is precise and nuanced. Goodman is a masterful narrator. I enjoy this series, and have listened to seven of the books offered in audio. This story line was not my favorite, but did keep me listening to the end.
This was the best one yet kept you guessing till the very end
Bryant, always has a ace up his sleeve
Christopher Fowler did not disappoint! definitely recommend for mystery enthusiasts. I cannot wait for the next installment.
Strange that some reviewers love them and some hate them. I think those who hate them want something superficial but these books are a nothing but. They have layers to them. Enthralling, addictive they are superb
ve and beautif I lay written.
These characters are now like old friends and the stories are compulsive listening. The plots twist and turn and the trivial snippets of information are amazing. This was another cracking tale with references to earlier books so I would suggest reading them in order. I was worried the unit may not all survive this time but there were still moments that made me laugh out loud. Tim Goodman as narrator was an inspired choice for this series as it would not be so good without him.
Tim Goodmans narration was very different to how I had imagined it. Because of this it took me a little time to get into the story. However his style was so apt for both Bryant and May, and the story was so good, that by the end I was completely absorbed.
I love the lightness of touch and the humour as well as a storyline that is always different and engaging
The performance adds to the characterisation, these books could not be read by anyone else. Tim Goodman has become an integral part of these books
I hope these books are not filmed, they could easily be made overly cutesy and stereotyped. Fowler and Goodman manage to stick at endearing.
If you like classic crime fiction, then this is it with a twist.
Any Bryant moment, but the bit where he moves into his new flat is priceless.
Where they found one of the victims in the Soane Museum.
No, but it was certainly thrilling in places.
The premise of these stories is outstandingly silly but Christopher Fowler manages to write a perfect pastiche of the classic detective novel with some outlandish moments, without ever losing the sense of reality. A very neat trick indeed. I have loved reading his books and have listened to this audio recording several times.
The whole story. Narration is excellent on each one of the Bryant and May books. Tantelising tales thats do not yeild the solution until the very end. Really enjoy the process of how Bryant and May investigae, slowly arriving at the solution. Each story always includes a myriad of obscure histories about London, in some form. Story expertly written.
the whole book...Its not a film so I can't pick out a single scene. However the endings where the "who done it and why" are always enjoayble as I am always on thwe worng track.
Both Bryant and May are great. How he gets them to sound so different is a wonder. Kasabian is a very good charachter too..just the right hint of malice
Definately. Made traveling on the train to and from work bearable
Goon..give ti a go. I dont normally go for "who done it" genre...but this is different. Slight nod to a Sherlock Holmes but so much more
has everything for me, wonderful characters, interesting historical facts re London, crime drama that is for the most not too gory, and a bonus by way of amusement.
Bryant, Alma, and of course May
too long for that
enjoyed Tim Goodman's reading and voices, some of his accents might aggravate others but didnt in any way ditract from my enjoyment, a very easy voice to listen to. I shall be sorry to reach the end of the series.
"A book to listen to again"
The book was very well read, I could not put it down. The old detectives who should be retired gave it a sort of black comedy, brilliant. I will listen to it again.
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