'The newspapers referred to it as the case of the seventy-seven clocks. There was quite a fuss at the time. We got into terrible trouble. Dear fellow, it was one of our most truly peculiar cases. I remember as if it was yesterday.' In fact, Arthur Bryant remembers very little about yesterday, but he does remember the oddest investigation of his career...
It was late in 1973. As strikes and blackouts ravaged the country during Edward Heath's 'Winter of Discontent', sundry members of a wealthy, aristocratic family were being disposed of in a variety of grotesque ways - by reptile, by bomb, by haircut. As the hours of daylight diminish towards Christmas, Bryant & May, the irascible detectives of London's controversial Peculiar Crimes Unit, know that time is the key - and time is running out for both the family and the police. Their investigations lead them into a hidden world of class conflict, craftsmanship and the secret loyalties of big business. But what have seventy seven ticking clocks to do with it?
Now the full story can at last be revealed, in this most eerie of adventures that features Arthur Bryant at his rudest, John May at his most exasperated and a gallery of colourful, bizarre characters who could only make their home in a city like London...
Set in 1973, Fowler's bloody and compelling third mystery to feature eccentric London detectives Arthur Bryant and John May details how the pair first joined Scotland Yard's Peculiar Crimes Unit. The murders Bryant and May investigate more than fit the unit's mission to handle cases outside the norm an elderly lawyer is found poisoned in a hotel lobby, apparently from a snake bite, while other victims are killed by toxic makeup and a starved tiger. The odd sleuthing couple find that these terrifying crimes are all connected with the strange Whitstable family, whose Victorian patriarch founded a bizarre group called the Alliance of Eternal Light. Fans of the previous books in the series, Full Dark House and The Water Room, will appreciate the portrait of a younger Bryant and May, but even they are likely to feel let down by the far-fetched solution. Still, that won't erase the pleasure of a twisty thriller, full of action and plot surprises.