Cover Image: Bryant & May: London Bridge Is Falling Down

Bryant & May: London Bridge Is Falling Down

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Member Reviews

Eyes, lies and spies.  This is a cleverly plotted murder mystery.  Is there a secret service within the secret service?  The ancient curmudgeon investigator ends almost each of his utterances with a bit of British wit, snark or turn of phrase.  I loved him.  My favorite line, "Land's stare was sharp enough to de-stone a mango."  You need to read this.  10 Stars.  My thanks to the author and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book.
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First book in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series I've read, and found Arthur Bryant and the PCU to be delightfully wacky. The mystery, starting with the tragic but otherwise unremarkable death of an elderly shut-in, is intricate and well-plotted.
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This is an absolutely brilliant volume in the Bryant and May series. In addition to the mysteries--this time involving the deaths of elderly women who own a model of London Bridge--it in a thoughtful look at age and lives well lived. It is hilarious, thoughtful, engaging and ultimately touching. Highly recommended.
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Avery complex mystery, one of the best in the series. it's full of the eccentric characters that make these books so delightful along with an exceptionally tricky plot/
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I enjoy this series. There is regular policing and the weird Arthur Bryant policing. Somehow, together, the Peculiar Crimes unit and Arthur figure out what is going on even though one side seldom understands what the other side is doing. Once again the unit is being deactivated so Arthur picks a case from files and declares it active to hold off the wrecking ball. The case unfolds as something that really should have been investigated and off they go. I love the old London facts, the weird characters, the reliable confusion as this plays to the end. The author never confuses the reader, just the characters. This paces well, the characters are well written and dependable, and you learn so much you never knew or wanted to know but it works so well sometimes you don’t even realize you are being educated while entertained.
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I have not read all of the books in this series but I will definitely start at the beginning. I love the characters and would love to follow them over the years. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is very special and have unique investigative skills. This mystery was solid with a cleverly crafted plot.  
Many thanks to Random House Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Still Going Strong

Say what you will about others of your favorite detective series that have ebbed and flowed, and possibly disappointed, but the Peculiar Crimes Unit is as solid as the English Pound. (Is that still a good thing? That's how I intended it.)


This time around we have a perfectly twisty, double-crossing tale of old espionage and modern murder, and that works fine as a plot. Almost better, though, the Unit is going through serious changes, and all of our favorite series characters are taking huge leaps into the future. It's unheard of for a detective series to be able to shepherd so many varied characters from book to book, and it is a testament to Fowler's skill, wit, and creativity that he manages to keep the reader bound to such a large ensemble.


Bottom line, this is another Bryant and May triumph, and a fitting next step in their adventure.


(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for the chance to read and review this book.  While I have not read the entire Bryant & May series, I have read a few and am familiar with the characters.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is about to be shut down, and Bryant is not ready to ve done.  An investigation into the death of elderly woman from neglect to forestall the closure turns out to be more than meets the eye.  The cast of characters and all of their quirks is delightful.  The plot feels meandering at times, but it is purposeful and a fun ride.  The mystery is engrossing.  All in all, a great read.

This review is given freely and openly. Opinions are mine.
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This twentieth anniversary Bryant and May novel opens with the inevitable threat of imminent closure of the PCU. In response, Bryant insists they can’t be closed if they are working on a case. So of course, they search for one. The team trolls through recent deaths looking for anything untoward and finds one possibility, an elderly woman, living alone, who apparently died of neglect. And surprisingly, on closer look, she had government ties, even to the old PCU. Well, the hunt begins!

The search and trail lead through London’s streets, buildings, bridges, parks, and back into 20th century history. Bryant’s fever dreams of London history bring the city of the past alive as they have before in the series. There is so much happening. This becomes the PCU case to top them all. Bryant & May are really in this together trying to save the unit, their team, the lives they love.

Such a wonderful book. Thanks to Christopher Fowler for this summation of where we’ve been and the promise of the future. As Fowler wrote: Bryant and May for ever.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Bryant and May and their Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London police are engaged in their final investigation or are they?  London Bridge is Falling Down  follows them as they try to stop  CIA agent Cranston who has run over and killed someone and uses diplomatic immunity to try to get out of England. .  As usual a complex plot involves a curious set of actors while mayhem ensues.  London Bridge is a character in the plot. Read and enjoy.
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I always love these books. They are a little dense and take a while to read but are always worth it. I enjoyed the connection between the cases a lot in this one, even more than usual.
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This is not a cozy mystery. It starts very dark, with a drunk driving manslaughter. The humor, the little there was, was very british and dry. I would recommend this book to fans of that genre (British, dry, dark mysteries) but I personally didn't enjoy it.
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The Peculiar Crimes Unit is finally biting the dust for real. We know it's true, because the Met has taken all government property from the ramshackle building on Caledonian Road and plans to make some money in the process, since the neighborhood is gentrifying fast. How will Arthur Bryant --keeper of arcane facts of London History; aging to the point he is no longer seen; defender of a cadre of special consultants, each with knowledge and original ways of approaching problems; who looks like a "testicle in a hat" -- how will he save the PCU? He has no better idea than anyone else but he knows if they have an open case, he can delay, so he picks a death by natural causes from their pet forensic pathologist's cases. Amelia Hoffman, a former intelligence worker sworn to lifelong silence about her work, dies alone at age 91. Bryant decides the PCU will investigate her death, which looks to be a horrible mixup in the government care safety net, that allowed her to die without food or water in a walk up apartment.  He will "make" her death a murder for the PCU's wellbeing. Meanwhile, Raymond Land has left for the Isle of Wight, per his best "it's over email yet. "Our remit is as out of date as Mr. Bryant's trousers." "Let's not say good-bye, but au revoir. On second thoughts, let's say good-bye." Then follows a twisty-turny mystery with all the clues present and all the red herrings full of old London history. John May is there to make an observation here and there, that adds direction to Bryant's scattered-with-a-purpose thinking. Sydney Hargreaves, recently reunited with her mother Janice Longbright adds new perspective to the PCU.  She sees Bryant as her mentor: she's a fan. "Reaction to her arrival had been mixed; while everyone welcomed new blood, they also felt decrepit standing anywhere near her." Rita Rondola, a Slavic car repair person who is learning English by reading an encyclopedia joins us, driving Bryant and May around for most of this investigation. Meera and Colin are still working out how to break it to her parents she's planning to marry a cop when her being a cop has been enough of a shock to their expectations for her. If possible, the PCU breaks more rules and more laws than usual in "London Bridge is Falling Down," having nothing to lose. And throughout, Fowler keeps up his usual witty, making me laugh hard when I need it the most repartee.  A couple scenes take place in New York City.  There are bodies. There is a villain, in the form of an overweight middle aged public school graduate son of a successful man who hates him, completely unlikeable and unsympathetic. We know that there's some reason Arthur has saved tea chests full of old PCU records, temporarily stored on the roof. Every character and every thought and most of the repartee matters. I just figured out I WILL repurchase and  reread the whole series and take pleasure in each of books 1-17 of the series once more now that I have better calibrated Fowler's style and Bryant's character. That these are straightforward mysteries solved in roundabout ways is not lost on the author or his Arthur. But it's a lot more fun their way.
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The Home Office is once again trying to close down the Peculiar Crimes Unit. But Arthur Bryant has a plan to keep the Unit open, he just needs to quickly find a suspicious death to investigate. Mrs. Hoffman is found dead of seemingly natural causes. But Bryant and May find much more is at stake in London Bridge is Falling Down.

It is difficult to describe this series if you have never read it before. History permeates it, as does clever wordplay. This entry in the series may, or may not, be the final book. The author has included many favorite characters and reminiscences from earlier books. If this is the end of the series, it is the perfect conclusion.

If you have read any other Bryant & May books, London Bridge is Falling Down is a must read. For newcomers, this may be a bit too much like an epitaph about a person you never met. 4 stars!

Thanks to Bantam Books, Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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The eccentric duo of Bryant and May and their colleagues at the Peculiar Crimes Unit are back.  They’ve been shut down again, this time for good….  No really…  Well maybe…  To buy a little more time, B&M need to find an investigation and they turn to their friends at the morgue to give them a body, and hopefully an associated crime.  Unluckily for the dead woman, Alice Hoffman, but luckily for the PCU, there is plenty to investigate, and Bryant and May are off on a wild hunt through the thickets of modern day international security and its roots in the war years.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss an interesting fact, odd allusion or cryptic clue.  I can’t wait to see what Fowler does next with this series.
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One cannot skim through a Bryant & May book.You would be  overlooking a rich collection of clever word plays, clues and humor. As in previous books, the storyline is imaginative , characters are unique. Although the author implies he has a future in mind for his characters, it does seem a milestone has been reached in this book.
Thanks to #NetGalley and #LondonBridgeIsFallingDown for an advanced digital review.
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After finishing London Bridge is Falling Down, knowing it was time to say goodbye to some of the most wonderful and quirky characters I have ever spent my reading time with, well I'll just say Christopher Fowler sure did give them a great send off. Lots of fantastic twists and London history, connecting story threads when I was sure it wouldn't be possible.....everything I have loved about this series from book one.
I won't give anything away so that others can make their own discoveries, to laugh, to say what the heck?, to say their own goodbyes. On one hand I want to say I'm not happy this is #18 and no more but, on the other hand...a huge thank you to Christopher Fowler for sharing this wonderful bunch of characters and making me laugh over and over and over again. It was a great run.
My thanks to the publisher Bantam and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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The Home Office is once again trying to close down the Peculiar Crimes Unit.  As long as there is an open case they must wait until it is cleared.  Knowing that the Home Office representative never reads reports, Arthur Bryant chooses a case that had not been flagged for investigation, claiming that it is one of their open cases and buying them some time.  The ninety-one year old’s death was listed as natural causes, but as they inspect her home there are a number of things that just do not feel right.  The victim, Amelia, was one of the three As.  Amelia, Annie and Angela had worked together in Intelligence and years later they were still guarding secrets.  Now they are being targeted by Larry Cranston, a low-level government employee who hopes to use their secrets to get out of England and avoid extradition for a motor accident that caused a death.  Designated London Bridge, the secrets have been well hidden and time is running out for Cranston.

The PCU is up against women who put loyalty to their country above all else.  Amelia actually worked with Bryant when he was just starting out.  Bryant has kept boxes of materials going back to that time and with the Home Office trying to end the PCU, he and John May have to wade through this collection in hopes o finding some answers.  Bryant also calls on his collection of informants and odd-ball characters that have played an important part in their investigations.  Christopher Fowler brings all of the charm and humor that has endeared Bryant, May and the members of the PCU to his readers.  He will have you laughing out loud at one moment and on the edge of your seat at the next.  This is a farewell to Bryant and May that wraps up nicely, but will also leave fans saddened to say good-bye.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine Publishers for providing this book for my review.
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The Peculiar Crimes Unit is being closed down again, and Bryant finds a case that will keep them open.  An elderly woman, Mrs. Hoffman, is found dead in her apartment of malnutrition.  Someone has called the people who used to deliver meals and told them not to come.  However, Bryant and May believe it was murder.  The woman used to work for the government security.  There is some connection with a man who worked for the American Embassy who hit and killed an Embassy employee while intoxicated.  It turns out that the woman worked with two other older women who were in charge of something called the London Bridge.  The three women all owned statues of London Bridge, and Bryant found Mrs. Hoffman's in the garden (it had been missing from her window sill).   Parts of the story seem to be rediculous and funny, but parts about the treatment of the old women is very sad.   

Then, several of Bryant's former informers began to be killed as well as one of the other old woman and an accountant they used.  Even after Bryant & May find the current killer, there are some mysteries deeply buried with the spies of both US and Britain!  And, we aren't sure if the PCU is really closed down for good.
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London Bridge is Falling Down: Byrant and May by Christopher Fowler is a detective novel about, of all things, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. It is about a small group of people working together to solve. . . peculiar crimes. Life, this one, for instance, which is a woman who appears to have died of neglect, which is true, but the neglect seems purposeful: her apartment is clean (except the dust that has gathered since her death), there is no food in the entire place, there is no sign of anything personal. Very odd, just the thing for this group of eccentric and dedicated detectives. Then they learned they had been paying her for years. They searched with the neighbors, the care people, the social services people, all who stated that her care had been cancelled by a relative. Who, they didn't know. The meal delivery that had been arranged just fell by the wayside. Until Bryant found a small state of the London Bridge in the back yards, as if it had been heaved from the window. Then he found a packet of photos that had been overlooked by whomever had cleaned the house out. Now he had something to work with. By the way, they were investigating this murder by natural causes because if they didn't have an open case, they were being shut down.

I have come late to the party as this the twentieth book in the series, and the first I have read. I am certain this is a series not given to starting in the middle, although Fowler did manage to catch me up on many of the quirks of the unit. This is a story about the government, OUR government, who is willing to trade the lives of little old ladies to get something they want, and they are not even sure what it is. Worse yet, they are trading with a drunk driver and murderer. They were an interesting lot with interesting thought processes and interesting contacts. In many ways they were a throwback, at least this story was. If you like quirky this is the book for you. It was a good, if obscure mystery, full of twists and turns. Certainly worth the read.

I was invited to read an e-ARC of London Bridge is Falling Down by Bantam, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #bantam #christopherfowler #londonbridgeisfallingdown
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