Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler

Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler, Bantam 2008 trade paper, mystery, 3rd in Bryant & May series.

I’m continuing to read the series of mysteries featuring Braynt & May, written by Christopher Fowler. This is the 3rd.

The odd couple of detection — the brilliant but cranky detectives of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit — return in a tense, atmospheric new thriller that keeps you guessing until the final page. This time Bryant and May are up against a series of bizarre murders that defy human understanding — and a killer no human hand may be able to stop.

A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a painting in the National Gallery. Then a guest at the exclusive Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by what appears to be a Cottonmouth snake. An outbreak of increasingly bizarre crimes has hit London — and, fittingly, come to the attention of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

Art vandalism, an exploding suspect, pornography, death by rat poison, references to Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, secret societies…and not a single suspect in sight. The killer they’re chasing has a dark history, a habit of staying hidden, and time itself on his side. Detectives John May and Arthur Bryant may have finally met their match, and this time they’re really working against the clock…

In an interview, the author has admitted that some of his books are very densely plotted, and this is one of them. The premise, when revealed late in the book, is somewhat unwieldily, stretching the credibility of this reader to the limit. Regardless, the various murders and the interactions between characters kept me turning the pages to the end. Of the first three in the series, this is the weakest, yet still so good that I’ll soon begin reading the next.

The Bryant & May series:
Full Dark House  (2003)
The Water Room (2004)
Seventy-Seven Clocks  (2005)
Ten Second Staircase  (2006)
White Corridor  (2007)
The Victoria Vanishes  (2008)
Bryant & May on the Loose  (2009)
Off the Rails  (2010)
The Memory of Blood  (2011)
The Invisible Code  (2012)
The Bleeding Heart  (2014)
The Secret Santa  (2015)
The Burning Man  (2015)
London’s Glory (ss) (2015)
Strange Tide  (2016)
Wild Chamber  (2017)
Hall of Mirrors  (2018)
England’s Finest (ss) (2019)
The Lonely Hour ( 2019)
Oranges and Lemons (2020)
London Bridge is Falling Down (coming Dec. 2021)

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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10 Responses to Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler

  1. tracybham says:

    I remember getting very confused reading these books, but I usually enjoyed them regardless. I am looking to see if I can find the next one I want to read, although it will be a while before I get to it.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    As mentioned, I’ve read one of them and a few short stories. I really feel like I need to get back to the series.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Also, it doesn’t indicate it in the list above, but ENGLAND’S FINEST is the second short story collection.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    I had the first one from the library but had to return it before I had a chance to read it. Perhaps I will try again. However, when people admit to being confused reading it, I am put off. That is usually when I throw it across the room.

    • The remark about being confused relates to this third book, but I don’t find them so. I really liked the next one, Ten Second Staircase a lot, and it’s more straightforward, without the flashback this one has.

  5. 1412064gk says:

    I have the edition of Seventy-Seven Clocks with the green cover. But I like the red cover better…

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