No case is too curious for Arthur Bryant and John May, London’s most ingenious detectives. But with their beloved city engulfed in turmoil, they’ll have to work fast to hold a sinister killer’s feet to the fire.
In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London’s peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest. Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider trading, demonstrators are rioting outside the Findersbury Private Bank, chanting, marching, and growing violent. But when someone hurls a Molotov cocktail at the bank’s front door, killing a homeless man on its steps, Bryant, May, and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in. Is this an act of protest gone terribly wrong? Or a devious, premeditated murder?
Their investigation heats up when a second victim is reported dead in similar fiery circumstances. May discovers the latest victim has ties to the troubled bank, and Bryant refuses to believe this is mere coincidence. As the riots grow more intense and the body count climbs, Bryant and May hunt for a killer who’s adopting incendiary methods of execution, on a snaking trail of clues with roots in London’s history of rebellion, anarchy, and harsh justice. Now, they’ll have to throw themselves in the line of fire before the entire investigation goes up in smoke.
Suspenseful, smart, and wickedly funny, Bryant & May and the Burning Man is a brilliantly crafted mystery from the beloved Christopher Fowler.
Praise for Bryant & May and the Burning Man
“Fabulously unorthodox . . . [Fowler] takes delight in stuffing his books with esoteric facts; together with a cast of splendidly eccentric characters [and] corkscrew plots, wit, verve and some apposite social commentary, they make for unbeatable fun.”—The Guardian
“Winningly eccentric . . . The books are set in a skillful synthesis of a phantasmagorical earlier era and the modern age.”—Financial Times
“The most delightfully, wickedly entertaining duo in crime fiction . . . Fowler’s tale is a rich mix of laugh-out-loud lines, acerbic wit, obscure British history and a wonderfully puzzling story. Grade: A”—The Plain Dealer
“Fowler is even better than usual at getting readers to care about his squad of misfits.”—Publishers Weekly
“Not even Arthur Bryant’s alarming behavior can dampen the twelfth installment in the most joyously inventive mystery series of our time.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating and intriguing . . . This book is definitely a standalone novel that keeps the reader absorbed in the story, and will make everyone want to go back and read them all. . . . This is a very solid story and a great addition to Fowler’s long-running series. The mystery is fascinating and readers will definitely want to know what happens next. And for newcomers to the series, this will be an excellent place to start.”—Suspense Magazine
“Fans of the Bryant and May series will welcome this latest installment with plenty of obscure historical details mixed with outré crimes and the banter of the PCU members. Newcomers will find plenty to enjoy as well without finding the amount of details included from earlier outings overwhelming.”—Library Journal
“Witty with a dry sense of humor . . . finely plotted . . . complex and funny.”—RT Book Reviews
“A fascinating investigation with lots of false leads and a plethora of historical factoids.”—Mystery Scene
The onset of a form of dementia for series lead Arthur Bryant adds poignancy to Fowler's 12th Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery (after 2014's Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart). When London is convulsed by massive riots sparked by the revelation that banker Dexter Cornell walked away from his partnership with millions, despite having cheated the bank's customers out of their savings, the unit seeks to restore public order. As the protestors' looting and arson continue, someone fatally torches Freddie Weeks, a recent employee of a sustainable food market who was sleeping rough on the streets. Weeks's killing is followed by others, committed in particularly sadistic fashion, but with no obvious link among the victims. A diagnosis of a rare cognitive disorder raises doubts about Bryant's fitness to serve with the PCU. The solution may disappoint a bit, but Fowler is even better than usual at getting readers to care about his squad of misfits.