Bryant & May: Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler

Posted January 21, 2017 by Minx

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

Bryant & May: Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler
Series: Bryant & May #13
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Publisher: Bantam
Format: Hardcover
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Pages: 448
ISBN: 1101887036
Purchase at: Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Google Play Kobo
Minx's Rating:

The river Thames is London’s most important yet neglected artery. When a young woman is found chained to a post in the tide, no-one can understand how she came to be drowned there. At the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Arthur Bryant and John May find themselves dealing with an impossible crime committed in a very public place.
Soon they discover that the river is giving up other victims, but as the investigation extends from the coast of Libya to the nightclubs of North London, it proves as murkily sinister as the Thames itself. That’s only part of the problem; Bryant’s rapidly deteriorating condition prevents him from handling the case, and he is confined to home. To make matters worse, May makes a fatal error of judgement that knocks him out of action and places everyone at risk.
With the PCU staff baffled as much by their own detectives as the case, the only people who can help now are the battery of eccentrics Bryant keeps listed in his diary, but will their arcane knowledge save the day or make matters even worse? Soon there’s a clear suspect in everyone’s sights – the only thing that’s missing is any scrap of evidence.
As the detectives’ disastrous investigation comes unstuck, the whole team gets involved in some serious messing about on the river. In an adventure that’s as twisting as the river upon which it’s set, will there be anything left of the Peculiar Crimes Unit when it’s over?


Now I cannot say that I have read every Bryant & May book out there but I have read a few and I can say that this for me was one of my favorites. The last book I had read was at the beginning of Arthur’s mental deterioration so to have a conclusion to that saga was quite nice.

This story starts out on rather a low note for the peculiar crimes unit (PCU). Their lead investigator Arthur has been benched due to his deteriorating mental state. The rest of the PCU is a bit lost as how to handle things and they start to realize that without Arthur and May as a team to lead them they don’t function as well as they had. Which leads them to feeling unnerved and full of doubt. In this story, you will find some personnel changes taking place within the department.

May is having a hard time accepting that his dearest friend is truly in a decline. When a woman is found chained in what appears to be an impossible location on the River Thames he and his team must forge ahead without Arthur. A task that was proving to be far more of a challenge than he had anticipated. What follows is a rash of unsolved murders that appear to be connected with the River but not with each other. It is up to the unit to put the clues together and put this mystery to bed.

With everything that has been going on with Arthur, May begins to reflect on his own mortality and that comes with some serious consequences. May makes a major error in judgement which threatens to destroy the case and leaves the PCU scrambling to get the case solved before things go from bad to worse. Ultimately this decision proves to be the catalyst to change which the ends up saving the unit.

As always I love the humor and wit that follows these stories from cover to cover. It was a bit hard to follow at times for me but the mystery kept me thoroughly engaged. I found the focus on the River Thames to be most intriguing with the inclusion of the history and mythology surrounding the river. Another great addition to the Bryant and May series. I highly recommend.

*Thank you to LibraryThing and Bantam Dell for this complimentary copy of Bryant & May: Strange Tide*

About Christopher Fowler

Author Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.

He lives in King’s Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide inspiration

In 1998 he was the recipient of the BFS Best Short Story Of The Year, for ‘Wageslaves’. Then, in 2004, ‘The Water Room’ was nominated for the CWA People’s Choice Award, ‘Full Dark House’ won the BFS August Derleth Novel of The Year Award 2004 and ‘American Waitress’ won the BFS Best Short Story Of The Year 2004. The novella ‘Breathe’ won BFS Best Novella 2005.

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