Read Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler Online


London's wiliest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back on the case in this fiendishly clever new mystery . . . and when a cemetery becomes the scene of a crime, neither secrets--nor bodies--stay buried. Romain Curtis sneaks into St. George's Gardens one evening with his date, planning to show her the stars. A centuries-old burial ground, the small, quiet park iLondon's wiliest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back on the case in this fiendishly clever new mystery . . . and when a cemetery becomes the scene of a crime, neither secrets--nor bodies--stay buried. Romain Curtis sneaks into St. George's Gardens one evening with his date, planning to show her the stars. A centuries-old burial ground, the small, quiet park is the perfect place to be alone. Yet the night takes a chilling turn when the two teenagers spy a strange figure rising from among the tombstones: a corpse emerging from the grave. Suffice it to say that wherever there's a dead man walking, Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are never far behind. As the PCU investigates the sighting, a second urgent matter requires their unusual brand of problem-solving. Seven ravens have gone missing from their historic home in the Tower of London, and legend has it that when the ravens disappear, England will fall. Bryant has been tasked with recovering the lost birds, but when Romain is suddenly found dead, the two seemingly separate mysteries start to intertwine and point to a plot more sinister than anyone could ever imagine. Soon Bryant and May find themselves immersed in London's darkest lore, from Victorian-era body snatchers, to arcane black magic, to the grisly myth behind Bleeding Heart Yard, a courtyard long associated with murder. And as the body count spikes and more coffins are unearthed, they will have to dig deep to catch a killer and finally lay these cases to rest. Inventive, darkly funny, and fast-paced, "Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart "is a brilliantly twisting puzzle, as only Christopher Fowler can write. Praise for Christopher Fowler's ingenious novels featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit "A brilliant series."--"The Denver Post " ""The Invisible Code" has immense charm, but its plotting will satisfy serious mystery fans. . . . Best of all are the two main characters, particularly Bryant, whose fine British stodginess is matched perfectly by the agility of his crime-solving mind."--"The New York Times" "Spiced with a little screwball-comedy dialogue and a touch of the occult."--"The Washington Post"," "on" The Memory of Blood" "Fowler, like his crime-solvers, is deadpan, sly, and always unexpectedly inventive."--"Entertainment Weekly"" " "May and Bryant make a stellar team."--"The Wall Street Journal" ""Grumpy Old Men" does "CSI" with a twist of Dickens! Bryant and May are hilarious. I love this series."--Karen Marie Moning, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of the MacKayla Lane novels "[A] trademark mix of whimsical humor and macabre thrills."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "[Christopher] Fowler reinvents and reinvigorates the traditional police procedural.""--The Boston Globe"...

Title : Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345547651
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart Reviews

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-11-19 00:27

    I very seldom pay attention to the author blurbs on the back of the book, but I was drawn to this one by Karen Marie Moning, "Grumpy Old men does CSI with a hint of Dickens. Such an apt description because these detectives in the PCU are nothing if not unorthodox and oh so amusing. Bryant in particular is a true individual, he knows all the strange people that populate the hidden corners of London. This case involves the Tower of London when all their ravens go missing and grave disinterring or maybe the dead rising. Along the way we meet some of the very strange characters that lead to the solving of these cases.Always hilarious, Fowler's characters are some of my favorites. I always finish these novels with a big grin and a great deal of head shaking. Love them.

  • Sue
    2019-11-17 21:20

    The Peculiar Crime Unit still exists but continues to have problems. Now it is under the aegis of the City of London not Westminster. And as they once again wonder about the future (well all but Arthur Bryant who never seems to worry himself with such things) strange things happen in the city. A report comes in of a man rising from his grave. Needless to say this sparks an investigation moving in very non-tradition directions (in addition to the more usual police work). But then we are dealing with the Peculiar Crimes Unit and their remit is to prevent or cause to cease any acts of violent disorder committed in the public areas of the city (p 4)Fairly broad, isn't it, but it lands the Unit in the middle of some very strange cases. And they take this seriously.A love of the city of London permeates this book and the entire series and is one of the reasons I enjoy these books so much. Even though I may not know these specific streets, the feeling of the city is there.In one section I thought very evocative, Fowler has Arthur Bryant musing on the streets he walks through:He had last walked these backstreets in the purgatorial month of February. Dickens had pointed out that here even the snowflakes were covered in soot, 'gone into mourning for the death of the sun.' There was something about the low level of the lightthat muted the shades of brick and concrete, turning homes into prisons. The geography of Farringdon andClerkenwell matched its weather, being perverse,grey, unsettled and confusing. (p 137)And another locale seen through Bryant's eyes:The Ladykillers Café was an amusing post-modern re-creation of a 1950s English tea-room, with theadded horror of the new century's prices...It hadstarted as an ironic pop-up but had settled down to become a neighbourhood institution, springing, fresh- minted from the wreckage of the old, nicotine- stained King's Cross.Enough said. This is an excellent and enjoyable series for lovers of mysteries with a twist. Even more so for Anglophiles. Highly recommended.A good book for my 100th. 4.5, rounded to 5. This series continues to please and impress.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-11-30 19:17

    Description: It's a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit.Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls.Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it's even discovered hidden in the PCU's offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial.Rich in strange characters and steeped in London's true history, this is Bryant & May's most peculiar and disturbing case of all.12.06.2017: ordered3* Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1) 4* The Water Room (Bryant & May, #2)4* Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, #3)3* Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, #4)3* White Corridor (Bryant & May, #5) 4* The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, #6)3* On the Loose (Bryant & May, #7)4* Off the Rails (Bryant & May, #8)3* Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood (Bryant & May, #9)3* The Invisible Code (Bryant & May #10) TR The Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May, #11)

  • LJ
    2019-11-17 20:14

    First Sentence: From Raymond Land to All Staff: So, it’s a new beginning for us.The Peculiar Crimes Unit is now under the jurisdiction of the City of London and, as usual, their new top boss would like to see an end to the group. However, two crimes are keeping them in the game. A young man appears to see a body rise from a grave and claims it spoke. Have Resurrectionists returned? But what did the young man see that resulted in his murder a few days later? Someone stole the seven ravens, symbol of the British Empire, from the Tower of London. Only Bryant could discover a link between the two crimes.How wonderful that Fowler includes a cast of characters, in the form of a staff roster, at the beginning of his books. And, right from the start, we are treated to the wonderful voice and humor of Flower. It’s a rare treat when an internal memo can be amusing.It’s nice to have a true ensemble cast of characters, which each playing a significant role in the story and each being fully developed. Although the primary characters are James May and Arthur Bryant—what a wonderful relationship that is--Bryant took the lead here. He seems to have mellowed bit and we learn much more about his past, which is quite lovely, but we did not lose any of that which makes him so delightful. However, all the relationships are so well drawn, the characters transform into being actual people to the reader. Fowler’s voice, wit and dialogue are such a pleasure to read…”Why have you got a house brick in there [Longbright’s handbag]?’ “Under British law you can’t stop a suspect with a weapon but you might be allowed to hit him with something that would naturally be in your hand at the time,”…. “PC Biggs folded her arms. No honest citizen should ever do anything that makes a police officer stand back and fold her arms.” There is also a delightful scene of the pathologist being thrust into a very different role than that to which he is accustomed. Flower is very good at doing the unexpected.There is one small criticism and that is the inclusion of portents. Portents are really, really annoying, unnecessary and, rather than create suspense, have the opposite effect. They are also somewhat insulting to the reader as it’s as though the author assumes the reader won’t continue otherwise.“The Bleeding Heart” is very clever with wonderfully logical explanations of crimes which seemed so odd. It is an absolutely delightful book. THE BLEEDING HEART (Pol Proc-Bryant and May-London-Contemp) – VG+Fowler, Christopher – 11th in seriesDecember, 2014

  • Susan in NC
    2019-11-11 00:21

    I'm so thrilled that Christopher Fowler continues writing this brilliant series; I was so afraid with the last few installments that we were going to lose the Peculiar Crimes Unit - or worse, Arthur Bryant or John May, which would be the same dire result! But despite encroaching age, modern technology and mind-boggling bureaucracy, the PCU rolls on like the mighty Thames...Any long-time fan of the series is familiar with the unusual investigative techniques and sources utilized by Arthur Bryant - white witches, magicians, fringe academics, healers, and spiritualists, to name a very few, along with the most wide-ranging, arcane and intriguing personal library I've ever heard of, judging by the book titles thrown out by the author. But this outing brings us in contact with sources and plotlines bizarre and distasteful even by the PCU's standards: the international buying and selling of waste, resurrectionists (yup, modern-day grave robbers), and the return of the menacing and nasty necromancer Mr. Merry. Our beloved curmudgeon Bryant must come to grips with his deepest fears, and several of the relationships in the PCU are tested. No spoilers, but all round another great installment in one of the best modern police mytery series out there. Highly recommended, and I hope you're writing fast, Mr. Fowler - I can't wait for the next book!

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-11-27 22:36

    Eleventh in the Bryant and May detective mystery series (a.k.a., the Peculiar Crimes Unit) and revolving around a pair of ancient detectives in London who should have retired years ago.My TakeI do enjoy Fowler’s start to these stories with that memo from Land, filling us in on the characters and the antics at the PCU. And Fowler has just increased the fun with the new PLO from the Home Office, lol. She’s providing plenty of opportunities for laughter, vis-a-vis Bryant taking the mickey out of her. Of course, it does add to the suspense, since she is so not impressed and wants that man gone!I know just how he feels, lol:”Bryant tapped at his hearing aid. ‘I’m sorry, he said loudly, ‘I think this thing’s on the blink. I can see your lips moving but all I can hear is rubbish.’”As usual, it’s a complex mystery with plenty of twists, all focused on vengeance and greed using third-person omniscient point-of-view, so we learn about all the events and of everyone’s thoughts, feelings, and/or actions in an unbiased fashion. Although, it doesn’t prevent Fowler’s narrator from having fun, lol.Spooky…hmmm, I probably should keep this for Halloween, since Bryant says that St. Georges Gardens was one of the first cemeteries to be hit by resurrectionists! And bodies are rising up from their graves!The StorySaddled with yet another unbeliever in the form of the new Public Liaison Officer from the Home Office, Bryant and May (oh, and the PCU) scramble to prove their abilities. In spite of their unorthodox methods.People are being dug up from their recent graves, more are being harassed — and not only are the Tower’s ravens missing, but Dirty Dick’s is missing their collection of mummified cats and the London Zoo can’t find their colony of bats.The CharactersDetectives Arthur Bryant, who inhabits a world of alternatives, and the GQ John May are past the age of retirement and have no intention of going anywhere. Alma Sorrowbridge is Bryant’s keeper and housemate; Nathalie is his long-gone wife. Victor is Bryant’s bashed-up primrose yellow Mini Minor. Brigitte is the French girlfriend who gave up on May.The Peculiar Crimes Unit was……created during World War II to solve crimes that threatened British morale. Ever since, the Home Office has been trying to shut it down. Dan Banbury is both IT tech and scene-of-crime. Detective Sergeant Janice Longbright really wants to be involved in Jack’s life. Sergeant Jack Renfield likes that the PCU let him be who he is; Sennen is his fifteen-year-old daughter who lives with her mother, Angie. Detective Constables (DC) Meera Mangeshkar and Colin Bimsley are the only lower echelons now that DC Fraternity DuCaine is on secondment to a Met unit. After 15 years, Raymond Land is giving up on the idea that he’s temporarily in charge. His wife leaving him probably brought him to his “office” senses at least. Crippen is the office cat, a momma. Amanda Roseberry is their new intern, and she has quite the high opinion of herself. The Daves are Turkish carpenters who are still rehabbing the warehouse office. Pavils was a temporary replacement.St. Pancras Coroner’s Office is Giles Kershaw’s province with the ghoulish Rosa Lysandrou his housekeeper. The Ladykillers Café is a post-modern re-creation of a 1950s English tearoom, at 21st century prices that is a favorite haunt of the PCU. PC Julie Biggs runs into her own miscreant.The new Public Liaison Officer, Orion Banks, is a marketing guru *eye roll* who is “a calculating machine that weighed everyone’s worth in terms of economic value to the company … double-crossed with less empathy than any male … and would string up her closest colleague for target practice.”Romain Curtis is a high school student into astronomy and planning to study fashion design at college. Louisa Curtis is his mother. Lenny is his discouraging father. Shirone Estanza is quite appealing. Nico and Enrico are her dodgy brothers. Mr. Tarrant is a teacher.Martin Wallace is an annoying fellow student with a pash for Shirone. Vanessa is his angry, venomous mother. His father, her husband, Thomas Edward Wallace, a partner in a small law firm, committed suicide. Dr. Iain Ferguson had been Wallace’s doctor.Defluotech Management Systems is……a waste disposal brokerage with Wallace as their corporate lawyer. Krishna Jhadav and Justin Farthingale are directors. Irina Cope is Jhadav’s girlfriend. CaroFrend Processing is one of their clients; David Callow is the site manager.Bryant’s consultants and/or friends include:Dr. Evrim Ersoy, a neurologist, is acting as a consultant at the Wellcome Collection and is employed at the University College Hospital. Maurice Weiss is the maker and supplier of traditional bird tricks to the magic trade. Paul McEvoy, a Royal Academy painting restorer, is the country’s leading expert on premature burial. Maggie Armitrage is a witch and the leader of the Coven of St. James the Elder. Professor Peregrine Wosthold Merry is a dangerous academic to whom Maggie introduced Bryant in The Invisible Code, 10. Raymond Kirkpatrick is an English professor. Dierdre Cornholt owns a fish shop, and her son is a sports master at Harrow. Herbert Constable is a former MI6 cryptography expert. Jackie Quinten helps tend public gardens and would like to be closer to Bryant.The Beefeaters, a.k.a……Warders, are the guards at the Tower of London and look after the Tower ravens: Hugine, Erin, Merlin, Munin, Rocky, Pearl, and Porsha. Should these ravens ever leave the grounds, it’s said that England will fall. Matthew Condright is the Raven Master and a friend of Bryant’s. Mr. Pettigrew is the Tower’s veterinary surgeon.St. Georges Garden was……the first graveyard never associated with a church. Elspeth Mary Duncannon died just before Wallace. Carmelina Dominguez’s apartment overlooks St. Georges. Cherry, a Maltese terrier, is the reason there’s a Hyde Park pet cemetery.John Wells and Sons is……a funeral parlour that’s been around since the early 1800s. Ronald Rummage and William are partners. Andy Orton is the embalmer; Betty handles accounts.The New Resurrectionists are……today’s body snatchers and include Dr. Stephen Emes and Addison Court.The Cover and TitleThe cover has an orange-yellow background with a full moon spanning the title and the centered graphic of a gravestone with a raven atop the cross. Fowler makes good use of the base of the stone to include the series information. The base itself is surrounded by a bed of fallen leaves on which two black kittens from Crippen's litter flank the gravestone. Behind the kitten on the right is a red heart, punctuated by five arrows. Ouch. The title (at the top) and the author’s name (at the bottom) both use black in a script font, which keeps intact the laughter.The title is Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart, an apt description of the threat painted in the PCU attic, but more importantly, an indication that a corpse can be revived.

  • Louise
    2019-11-07 20:38

    I'm giving this a four, because I can't help but enjoy the whole set up of characters, and strange plots, and preposterous ideas that go with these books.This one seemed a little off compared with others,Bryant seemed somewhat tame in comparison to his usual mad cap self, but it gave time to learn a bit more about other characters.

  • Sharon
    2019-11-20 21:34

    This is my second outing with the eccentric duo Bryant & May.The Bleeding Heart begins, as it did with The Burning Man, the cast of characters listed on the 'staff roster', and is accompanied by another memo from the disgruntled PCU Chief, Raymond Land.The Peculiar Crimes Unit has been moved from being part of the Metropolitan Police to the City of London Police.Orion Banks, The City's Public Liaison Officer has been assigned, on what the team believe to be an advisory role, to the PCU, but it soon transpires that she has power to grant or withhold permission to investigate any particular line of enquiry as she sees fit.The units first case involves two teenagers who apparently see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park, soon after this one of them is killed in a hit and run incident. However much to Bryant's annoyance instead he has been assigned to another case, that of the stolen ravens from the Tower of LondonBeing of the old school of policing Bryant and May find it difficult taking orders from this young addition to the PCU who also happens to be a woman. In light of this they choose to investigate in their own unique way and ignore Banks' presence. As always this involves talking to a host of strange and bizarre people, including a benevolent warlock, a herbalist, a witch, and a modern day Burke and Hare group of body snatchers.The Bleeding Heart is another story with a clever plot, lots of twists, and turns and misleads, and out of the two books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most.Probably as with most of the series there is a predictable tying up of loose ends, but come on, this is 'cosy crime' at its best. Brilliant in its character development, fun and with hugely likeable characters and humorous story lines. The Bleeding Heart was a fun read and suitable for anyone to enjoy without bad language or grizzly descriptions of any nature.Another highly entertaining humorous crime thriller accompanied by Bryant's interesting historical facts and anecdotes about London. I definitely recommend it to established readers and newcomers to the world of Bryant & May. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this motley crime unit.

  • Jill Hutchinson
    2019-11-11 01:38

    The Bryant & May Peculiar Crime Units series is totally insane, totally unbelievable and fantastic! I love these books which are a mix of obscure information, impossible crimes, and wonderful characters....led by the very eccentric Bryant and dapper ladies man, May, elderly detectives who have kept the Unit together through thick and thin. Always in trouble for totally disregarding police rules and utilizing their myriad of contacts who range from psychics to experts on the history of British ale, they are constantly threatened with closure by the powers that be but they continue to prevail and solve crimes.I couldn't begin to explain the plot of this book (or any of them for that matter) since they are beyond the pale. Suffice it to say that it involves the theft of the Ravens of the Tower of London (which myth tells us will cause the monarchy to fall) and the grave robbing of two recently interred humans and one dog!!! And of course, only in a Bryant & May book could they be related incidents with a surreal ending. Clever and fun, I recommend this book and any others in the series.

  • Carol Peace
    2019-11-11 02:33

    I was lucky to get this book from the Dead Good book group and from the cover it looked more like and old tale rather than a new book. I was surprised when I started it though to find a very 'new' kind of crime. It did have reminders of the grave robbers but it is so much more than that. Christopher Fowler has such an imagination that whilst reading I found myself wondering how on earth he would come to a conclusion. The oddest investigation team of Bryant and May are brought the case of a body being dug up and witnessed by two teenagers and then they escalate to the ravens go missing from the tower of London, the investigation goes off at lots of different tangents and totally had me baffled and yet very suprised when the whole thing comes to a great conclusion with some fascinating facts thrown in too.I will definately be reading more of these.

  • Helen
    2019-11-21 23:39

    More London, past and present, to investigate. The unit has a new enemy now that they are part of the City of London police and not the Metropolitan Police. (Keep up now.) We now have Orion Banks, a publicist sort of person, who certainly does sound like an astronomical observatory. She speaks in administrative gobbledy-gook and wouldn't recognise a bloodstain if it appeared on her notepad. Every step in an investigation is supposed to be cleared through her and I don't know how anything could be done under this oversight. The unit quickly discovers that money has been cut so they are unable to order any sort of tests unless they can go through something else - like Giles' mortuary. The case starts with a boy and his girl friend in St. George's Gardens enjoying a pleasant evening and a touch of marijuana on the grass. They hear something in the bushes, he investigates and sees a corpse rising out of its grave, they flee back over the gate and are stopped by a community police officer who quite naturally does not believe their story. The apparently simple case is complicated when the boy is killed the next night in a hit and run that appears to be targeted. We get the history of St. George's Gardens (of course) and meet the funeral directors who have charge of the burials there. The unearthed coffin is reburied and the unit looks into why someone might have wanted to disinter a suicidal accountant. Is there a connection to the witnesses to the unburial? Why is the widow so seriously disturbed and trying to attack her husband's last client?Oh, yes, and Bryant is investigating the disappearance of the ravens from the Tower of London. This brings him back into the influence of Mr. Merry, a dangerous necromancer (self described) whom we've met before. We learn about apotropaic magic, the use of animals to affect one's luck or public events.It gets even more complicated when Bryant meets the New Resurrectionists, a group of partially trained doctors doing unsanctioned research into things found in dead flesh.And we still have Crippen's kittens all over the place - and one of the Daves.Really enjoyed this one. It's a ssecond reading but it looks as if I didn't review it the first time.

  • Sharon
    2019-11-25 20:40

    Odd and wonderful characters, a complicated plot and a bit of odd history about London all rolled up into one. I chuckled all the way through.

  • Juli Rahel
    2019-12-04 21:12

    When I was around fourteen I went through an intense phase of loving detective and crime fiction. I practically devoured Elizabeth George's novels and loved the thrill of being terrified by the bad guys and saved by the good ones. This fascination waned off as I focused more on literary fiction but every now and then I still pick one up to entertain myself and see whether I'm still up to figuring out who the bad guy is before the end. This was definitely an enjoyable, if very different, detective read.I had never heard of the Bryant & May series, but apparently The Bleeding Heart is the 11th book in the series. A problem with reading a book from halfway through a series is that a lot of the character development already happened. I touched upon this in my review of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. In the case of this book, it made it quite hard to get into the book at the beginning because all of the characters were showing traits that normally would have been explained or introduced but were here assumed familiar. An unexpected bonus of this, though, was that you got to see the characters as "they really are". The only way I can explain this is by example. When you're introduced to a new group where the others already know each other really well you learn much more about the people by observing how they treat old friends rather than by experiencing how they treat a stranger. Similarly, all the characters were acting "naturally", which endeared them to me. I loved the interaction between all the characters, the way they bickered, the way they came together, etc. In detective novels, and TV series, there is a set of stock characters which always pop up. There is the tough female cop, the old and strange cop who is full of wisdom, a boss pushing for results, etc. In The Bleeding Heart I feel all of these characters did appear but were given something of their own.I really enjoyed the plot of this book. Detective books can be quite similar in the way they're set up because at the beginning a crime happens that will be solved by the end of the story. But the chemistry between the characters and their unique outlook on investigating gave the rather stereotypical narrative a surprising and fun angle. Rather than focusing on the high-end computers that can identify finger-prints in a matter of seconds, Bryant's & May's team seem to do their policing in an old school way. I loved the way that the novel worked its way from informal meetings to non-approved property searches and back to the most chaotic office ever to be described. It gave the book a feel of homeliness and reality that many other detective books miss. While reading it, there was a sense that the reader could be involved in this himself, whereas a lot of detective stories are so detailed and abstract that I comfortably sit back in the knowledge I'll never be chased over the Alaskan highlands by a pen knife wielding maniac who has been stalking me and my family for the last decades. Something I also majorly enjoyed was the descriptions of London. I myself lived in London for a while and I recognized many of different places and streets down which they ran. Sometimes, when a book is set in a city you know you find yourself wondering whether the author has been there himself/herself because they don't seem to get the feel of the city right. Fowler describes London perfectly. It is both vibrant and new, but also has its dark nooks and corners in which gang culture is rife and the strangest characters pop up.It was also genuinely nice to see how all of the different narrative strands came together. The graverobbers, the hit and run, the birds, all of it somehow comes together but not until the last two or three chapters. At some point I was wondering whether Fowler would be able to bring it together in a satisfactory way, but about three-quarters in I started suspecting who the suspect may be and I have to say I was very satisfied with how the end came about. There were plot twists I didn't see coming, some of which, however, didn't really shock me either. And this is where the only flaw in the novel should be discussed. Although I enjoyed it, I wasn't very involved with the book. It seemed to tick all the boxes; identifiable characters, interesting plot line, amazing setting, etc. but something just left me slightly cold. Perhaps the reason is that I started well into the series or maybe it is because the main characters are both relatively old men, but I didn't really connect with the book.I doubted for a bit whether to give it 2 or 3 Universes out of 5, but eventually went for 3 because I would recommend this book. It is a fun read for on the side, full of little bits of legends and stories, but if you're looking for an intense crime read that will sweep you away, this is not it.

  • Diane
    2019-11-21 18:36

    The book starts off with a pair of teenagers, Romain Curtis and Shirone Estanza, on a date in St George's Gardens. Originally a graveyard, it is now mostly a garden, though it soon becomes obvious there are still bodies about: "He saw the man standing above him, middle-aged, with greying hair and occluded eyes, clearly and irrevocably dead, dressed in his best black business suit, his arm still rising, the claw of his right hand extended as if to clutch at the living. Then the moon was unveiled from the clouds, highlighting his silvered pupils, his distended marbling flesh. The arm had risen high to point into the night sky, as if to transmit some dire warning."I thought, "This is supposed to be a mystery, not a horror novel!" Well, it IS a mystery - a funny, fascinating, and very unusual one. I spent a good deal of my time laughing. The dead man is identified as Thomas Wallace, who committed suicide a few days earlier. Someone disinterred him from his grave, but why? Not long afterwards, Romain Curtis is killed in what appears to be a deliberate hit-and-run accident. There are two more odd murders, two more bodies are dug up in St George's, and then there's the little matter of the seven ravens missing from the Tower of London. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the tower, England will fall. Are all these crimes connected or are they just coincidences?When the police are faced with weird cases, they are assigned to the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU). Arthur Bryant and John May are the senior members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU). May is described as "an elegantly dressed man with neatly combed silver hair and an overcoat of navy wool." Bryant is his total opposite - "The remnants of Bryant’s hair had entered the new day without the benefit of a comb and thrust out horizontally from above his ears, lending him the appearance of a barn owl." Then there's this quote: "Bryant made a theatrical show of thrusting his hands into his ratty overcoat, and pulled out a small black kitten. ‘Another one,’ he said absently. ‘They seem to be everywhere.’ He gently tucked the mewling fur-ball into his waistcoat."One reviewer said the Bryant & May series is combination of "Law & Order," "The X-Files," and "Monty Python," which is a pretty accurate assessment. It CAN get serious at times - most notably with the situation of Thomas Wallace and his family, and Jack Renfield's daughter Sennen - but Fowler never lets things get too dark or weird or sad. The writing is excellent. In fact, it's some of the best mystery writing I've read this year. Fowler does a great job of plotting. There are multiple sub-plots that all come together at the end, though not in the way you might expect. I did not suspect the actual killer until their identity was revealed. I loved Arthur Bryant - eccentric, old-fashioned, determined, rebellious, and brilliant. He's like an elderly Sherlock Holmes with an interest in the truly bizarre things of this world. When Bryant admits he isn't up to date on the current techniques, May refutes this, saying, "No, you're a touchstone. If others can't see that, it's their loss." This is the first book in this series that I've read, and I will definitely be reading more. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery, especially with a sense of humor.

  • Michael
    2019-12-06 20:36

    This is the first of this series (of about 12) that I've read and, I'm afraid, on this outing I can't summon up the same level of enthusiasm as some seem to have with Fowler's creations.All his heroes work in the 'Peculiar Crimes Unit', a somewhat bizarre off-shoot from the London Metropolitan Police, so perhaps I was expecting something different from what I got. Yes, it started with an incident that was 'peculiar' but the only supernatural aspect was in the minds of those who witnessed it and later investigated the matter. But then, I suppose, everything 'supernatural' really just exists in the mind of the beholder. So a bit of a curate's egg. There were some good aspects. I liked the anarchic manner in which the team worked, being a bit of a swipe at the sterile, performance led police service that we currently experience in the UK. I appreciated the comments of how London has become more and more crowded, to my thinking more homogenised rather than metropolitan – more positives being lost than gained. I liked the way that it lampoons the corporate speak that has become an everyday tool of obfuscation with more than a hint of false superiority. I liked the idea than an operation could be jeopardised due to refusals to authorise petty cash – for the want of a nail the war was lost. But those were really incidentals to the crime thriller. For me these positives were outweighed by the negatives, and simple inconsistencies, of the plot.The scenario presented on page 220 (concerning a mobile phone) is contradicted only a few pages later (242). That just seems to be lazy editing.And I couldn't see how the reader could possible have come to the conclusion, that Bryant does, concerning the driver of the hit and run killer van close to the beginning of the story. I thought in crime novels the reader should be given all the necessary clues and it was for the keen ones to try and arrive at the solution before the reveal in the final pages. If the clues were there about who the driver was then they were too deeply hidden for me, perhaps in one of the graves that was being constantly re-dug and refilled.Another idea I thought was important in the writing of any novel was that the writer shouldn't introduce characters just for the sake of it. We have an outsider (in many aspects) introduced in the third chapter but apart from being the butt of a tea making on her first day joke and a comment about how the 'down-to-earth' coppers are being replaced by those from wealthy backgrounds with connections who treat the job of policing as an interesting hobby the intern played no part in the story at all. If she was being introduced in preparation for the next book in the series she could have at least made a bit of a mark.For me this story had some interesting ideas and some of them seemed to be developing quite well only to either fall short or just came to a sudden conclusion, as part of Bryant's explanation of all the interconnecting threads, at the end.

  • Ray Palen
    2019-11-25 22:38

    You know when the crime-fighting unit in this brilliantly conceived series is called the PCU --- Peculiar Crimes Unit, you are in for a treat. In the deft hands of author Christopher Fowler you will not be disappointed.The lead Detectives of this close-knit and eclectic squad are Arthur Bryant and John May. They are described as being two sides of the same brain. Both brilliant in their own way --- Bryant is bizarre, sloppy and at times uncouth while May is pragmatic, buttoned-up and the ultimate professional.In the 11th entry in this London-based mystery series, THE BLEEDING HEART, we are presented with one of the oddest cases the PCU has faced to date. Two teens, while star-gazing in an old cemetery one night, witness a body literally rise from the grave. Is this a case of premature burial, pure supernatural trickery or something else?Turns out the corpse was a man who recently hung himself. He left behind a wife and teen-aged son, both of whom are angered and horrified over the macabre activities in the graveyard. Just as the investigation is given to the PCU they lose a major witness. The teen boy who witnessed the 'walking dead man' is run down in a hit and run. The oddest thing is that someone took the time to change the victims shirt before his body could be claimed.Bryant, May and team have their hands full in this case and are getting pressure from all sides --- specifically Scotland Yard who has sent in a special investigator to analyze the team and their unorthodox methods. The mystery begins to focus on an underground group who call themselves the Resurrectionists. It also involves uncovering the truth behind the legend of Bleeding Heart Yard --- a courtyard known for housing murderous activity.THE BLEEDING HEART is Fowler at his finest. Best of all --- anyone can jump right in not having read the previous ten novels and will instantly feel at home with this great bunch of characters. Never predictable and containing elements of classic mystery, some horror and spine-chilling action --- nicely mixed with social commentary and some truly moving passages. A winner!Reviewed by Ray Palen for Curled Up With A Good Book

  • Sallee
    2019-11-12 18:38

    This is an English mystery set in London. Full of twists and turns, well plotted and full of interesting characters, it held my interest all the way through. Being American, some of the English slang was puzzling but interesting. The main characters were unique. The heart of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is Arthur Bryant and John May. Bryant is a version of our American Colombo and his partner May is very organized almost to the point of being OCD. This unlikely combo of senior detectives and their team go about solving crime in unorthodox ways.In this tale we having missing ravens from the Tower of England, dug up corpses and coffins, body snatchers and murder. This series would make a great Masterpiece theater show. Having discovered Christopher Fowler's mysteries,I will make sure to read the rest and he has himself a new fan.

  • Susan
    2019-11-24 21:40

    The Peculiar Crimes Unit is now under the supervision of the City of London police, more particularly a supervisor named Orion Banks, the complete technocrat, who would as soon shut the unit down. After all, all they're investigating now is the mysterious effort to dig up a coffin in a cemetery, and the strange theft of the ravens at the Tower of London. Yes, there is a hit-and-run fatality that might be associated with the coffin, but surely there are better things to do with police resources...I love Fowler's writing style, the strange and wonderful people who get involved in the PCU's cases, and everything about this series.

  • Kyrie
    2019-11-27 22:33

    Although this book didn't give as much history of London as their other books, I really liked the actual cases they were trying to solve. The zombie/graverobbers were intriguing and the theft of the ravens was also clever. I read it during a hectic time, and it was easy to pick up where I'd been interrupted, so I was glad of that trait, too.Oh, goodness! I'm caught up, at least until the next one comes out. I get a bit tired of the PCU being underestimated, but I keep hoping things will get better.

  • Pam Baddeley
    2019-12-04 20:35

    Number 11 in the Bryant and May series, and a cracking good read. As I suspected last time, Mr Merry is the new villain but with a good twist. This story is more Bryant's than May's, the more eccentric detective having the lion's share this time around, but that is fitting as it is Bryant who has to face his childhood fears and ultimately prevail. The crimes are the usual strange blend of the surreal and the ridiculous, being body snatching and stealing the ravens from the Tower of London, and are nicely interwoven.

  • Ilinca
    2019-11-22 20:35

    It's not my favorite (I think Ten Second Staircase still holds that place, and it may or may not be the first one I read in the series), but it's still lovely to see the two old buggers get down to it again. And the narrator is awesome; I'm gonna choose audio over reading the actual book every time, simply because of him. I'm glad the series is going on and hope Fowler isn't bored with it. I'm not.

  • Richard
    2019-11-27 01:21

    As usual, an excellent plot, great characters and amusing dialogue. This time is grave robbers and missing ravens, all neatly tied together, sort of. Well worth your time, as is this entire series.

  • Catherine Cheney
    2019-11-30 18:15

    This was on it's way to 5 stairs until the very end. And not because of the resolution, but because the ending just didn't match (for me) the tenor of the story. 4 and a half stars, though, and I am still a tremendous fan of this series.

  • Aisling
    2019-11-10 23:40

    So clever, so funny, just a wonderful series. I am already missing the PCU and eager to return.

  • Sharon
    2019-11-23 21:16

    wonderful! I love this series of mysteries! I know a scholar very much like Bryant! If only one were published every week!

  • Eustacia Tan
    2019-11-14 21:37

    I can't remember why this particular title in the Bryant and May series was in my TBR list, but it sounded like something I was in the mood for so I decided to pick it up. And guess what? A strange mystery involving our odd detectives was what I wanted to read.Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart starts with what appears to be a zombie rising from the grave. Obviously this freaks out the poor boy and the girl he was trying to impress. But then said boy is murdered and Bryant is convinced that there is a link. The only thing is that the department has a new boss and she only speaks organisational jargon (and I really laughed when I read her first lines).Like the previous book I read, this story takes a meandering course as Bryant goes after not only a murderer but also the person who stole the ravens at the Tower of London. It very much mimics his thought pattern and made for and interesting read. I did wonder if I would find the ending a bit too unbelievable but I realised that every conclusion Bryant reached made sense (even if he didn't follow proper investigation protocols).I'm also started to get a better sense of the supporting characters. Bryant and May I liked from the start, but now I can picture Raymond Land (the reluctant boss without authority), Janice Longbright and Renfield (although I found Renfield's daughter to have a stronger personality), and Meera. There's still one or two that didn't leave much of an impression, but I'm sure that this will rectify itself if I continue reading about the Peculiar Crimes Unit.If you're interested in an off-beat mystery with a cast of odd and mostly lovable characters, you'll want to pick up this book (and I suppose the whole series). I found this to be an easy and interesting read and I will definitely be reading more of this series, although I doubt I'd be reading it in order. (That might mess up some character subplots but I think the books should be able to work as standalones too)This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  • Michael Gallagher
    2019-12-03 18:10

    I first came across the Bryant & May novels some years ago at the beginning of their career. Although I had certain reservations about the series, I picked this one up to see how the pair were getting along now. OMG. There’s probably more London history here per inch of text than in any regular history book. Fowler clearly loves this city, and I was staggered by the sheer amount of research he’s put in, and not just with regard to the myriad settings he makes use of in this book. Want to know how coffins are sealed these days? It’s here. Want to know how magicians make doves appear from thin air? That’s here too (I have a sneaking suspicion Fowler once patronized the same magical supplies shop in Holborn in the late 1980s that I did—stage magic not wicca, I hasten to add; flash paper and silks, not bunches of sage and crystals).My reservations of old still remain. I don’t respond well to an excess of arcane theories piled one atop another in an effort to create an atmosphere. A little goes a long way if you let it. But that’s my own predilection and maybe my loss, and I would hate to put anyone off reading this because of it. However, on balance I have to say I find Arthur Bryant more annoying than he is endearing (I suspect Fowler means me to), so I was extremely impressed to discover Bryant contemplating his nature and finding himself at fault.So just how are the pair were getting along now? Quite well really, all things considered.

  • LJ
    2019-11-15 23:39

    This one was disappointing. I expected a quirky, fun, fast-paced novel, and it was quirky, but as to the rest, it seemed tired and a bit forced.In particular, the black kittens which people stumble into and seem to be proliferating throughout the precinct was pointlessly twee. I'd never read this series, so perhaps the author is counting on a reader who is already hooked into it. The plot was confusing and everything tied up improbably in the end. There were a few good impactful scenes, but all with minor characters, and the minor character with the most potential whom I wanted to appear throughout the novel gets wacked early on, possibly in a wrong-headed attempt to, "kill your darlings?" I wanted to like this novel so much more than I did.

  • Judy
    2019-12-05 18:33

    A mystery begins in a cemetery, seven ravens are missing from the Tower of London--it's time to call in Arthur Bryant and John May and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. I love these books so much that I dole them out in an effort to make the series last longer. Christopher Fowler, I want you to have a personal life but I do hope that you have many more Bryant and May books in you. I'm coming to the most recent ones published and I'm feeling anxious.

  • Cheryl
    2019-11-09 22:26

    Disappointing after the first novel in this series, Full Dark House. Much of the book was rather depressing as Bryant is contemplating his death. Not until the last quarter of the book did I get really interested in the outcome. Still the characters are interesting and I'll likely test the waters with another Bryant and May mystery before giving up on others in this lengthy series.