London, 1969. With the Swinging Sixties under way, Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May find themselves caught in the middle of a good, old-fashioned manor house murder mystery.
Hard to believe, but even positively ancient sleuths like Bryant and May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit were young once . . . or at least younger. Flashback to London 1969: mods and dolly birds, sunburst minidresses—but how long would the party last?
After accidentally sinking a barge painted like the Yellow Submarine, Bryant and May are relegated to babysitting one Monty Hatton-Jones, the star prosecution witness in the trial of a disreputable developer whose prefabs are prone to collapse. The job for the demoted detectives? Keep the whistle-blower safe for one weekend.
The task proves unexpectedly challenging when their unruly charge insists on attending a party at the vast estate Tavistock Hall. With falling stone gryphons, secret passageways, rumors of a mythical beast, and an all-too-real dismembered corpse, the bedeviled policemen soon find themselves with “a proper country house murder” on their hands.
Trapped for the weekend, Bryant and May must sort the victims from the suspects, including a hippie heir, a blond nightclub singer, and Monty himself—and nobody is quite who he or she seems to be.
Praise for Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors
“Arthur Bryant has written his memoirs—and a jolly good yarn they make, too. . . . As always in this series, this one’s a lark.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Hall of Mirrors is] a largely comic escapade whose tone evokes both the biting wit of Evelyn Waugh and the slapsticker shenanigans of P.G. Woodhouse.”—The Wall Street Journal
“More fully fleshed-out suspects, clues, red herrings, twists, and honest mystery and detection than in the last three whodunits you read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The narrative [veers] between laugh-out-loud funny to macabre. . . . Eccentric and consistently entertaining.”—Booklist
“Fowler evokes the period as neatly as he crafts the plot.”—Publishers Weekly
“So Agatha Christie (intentionally). And as in a Christie, nothing is quite what it seems as one murder follows another. Love the butler.”—Poisoned Pen Newsletter
Set in 1969, Fowler's solid 15th Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery (after 2017's Bryant & May: Wild Chamber) lacks the series' usual bizarre elements but in compensation offers a scenario right out of an Agatha Christie novel. When the efforts of eccentric detectives Arthur Bryant and John May to apprehend someone they believe to be an escaped murderer ends up sinking a ship, they're taken off regular duties and assigned to watch over whistle-blower Monty Hatton-Jones, a company director who's scheduled to testify against Sir Charles Chamberlain. Chamberlain, a wealthy London housing developer, has been charged with bribery. A few days before the trial, Bryant and May accompany Hatton-Jones to Tavistock Hall, a country house where their charge is spending the weekend. Tavistock Hall ends up cut off from the outside world because of some military exercises mistakenly scheduled for the area, an unfortunate circumstance that creates a closed circle of suspects after a grisly murder is committed. Fowler evokes the period as neatly as he crafts the plot.