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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review - Christopher Fowler THE VICTORIA VANISHES

I first read of the series and the pair Bryant and May through Sakura - it was on my TBR but my TBR is a bit of a hit and miss affair. When I actually got these books (there is another to follow) I was delighted. I later realized that they are a series and I have come in mid way but I do not think it affected the story in any way.

I found the book slow going till around the 70th page when it perked up and got interesting right to the end. I liked very much the humour right throughout the story. Is it representative of the so called British humour? I would think so. Slightly quirky, slightly sarcastic at all times but such good reading.

Sixth in the series the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit) solves as it says peculiar crimes which do not come under the Metropolitan Police. Bryant and May back from the country are in London once again and right now Bryant is not feeling himself - loss of memory and maybe creeping old age whilst May has been diagnosed with cancer.

Several middle aged single women have died around pubs in London. Seemingly unconnected all die from a fatal injection. None of them are attacked in any other way. This is the last case which the two are going to handle as the higher ups are determined to disband this unit. The story becomes interesting when one victim seen at The Victoria by Bryant himself later turns out to be a puzzle. The Victoria as a pub had ceased to exist since 1927 and we are all beginning to doubt whether Bryant is actually declining into senility. Bryants description of the pub, all the detail including the background is so authentic that you do realize that a mystery is afoot.

There is a lack of blood and gruesomeness normally reminiscent of murder mysteries but there are clues scattered around which I did not connect at all! In addition what I really liked was the introduction of a series of London pubs, including ancient history and tidbits of information, trivia sometimes but very, very interesting trivia at that.

Liked the book and definitely in for a pub crawl when I am in London next (if ever!).


  1. Slow until page 70?! Yikes, I am known to give up way before that

  2. This does sound good. If a series is well written, you can come into it at any time.

  3. I think I would have to start at the beginning. I will first check out more about this author, totally new to me. Thanks.

  4. Phew, I'm really glad you liked it! Isn't it weird how nervous you get when someone reads a book you recommended?! I hope you get to read more of Fowler's earlier books in the series just so you get to learn more about the characters.

  5. I really want to read this series, so I'm glad you enjoyed this book!