Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler, Bantam 2008 trade paper, mystery, 4th in Bryant & May Peculiar Crimes Unit series.

I’m continuing to read the series of mysteries featuring Braynt & May, written by Christopher Fowler. This is the 4th.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):
The odd couple of detection — the brilliant but cranky detectives of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit — return to investigate 
a crime tailor-made for them, a controversial artist is murdered and displayed as part of her own outrageous installation. No suspects, no motive, no evidence–it’s business as usual for the Unit’s cantankerous Arthur Bryant and John May.

But this time they have an eyewitness. According to twelve-year-old Luke Tripp, the killer was a cape-clad highwayman atop a black stallion.

As implausible as the boy’s story sounds, Bryant and May take it seriously when “The Highwayman” is spotted again, striking a dramatic pose at the scene of his next outlandish murder. Whatever the killer’s real identity, he seems intent on killing off a string of minor celebrities while becoming one himself.

As the tabloids look to make a quick bundle on “Highwayman Fever,” Bryant and May, along with the newest member of the Unit, May’s agoraphobic granddaughter, April, find themselves sorting out a case involving an unlikely combination of artistic rivalries, sleazy sex affairs, the Knights Templars, and street gang feuds. To do it, they’re going to have to use every orthodox–and unorthodox–means at their disposal, including myth, witchcraft, and the psychogeographic history of the city’s “monsters,” past and present.

And if one unsolvable crime weren’t enough, this case has disturbing links to a decades-old killing spree that nearly destroyed the partnership of Bryant and May once before…and may again. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is one murder away from being closed down for good–and that murder could be their own.”

My take: I really liked this one a lot. It’s the characters who keep me turning the pages, but this time the crimes are just as compelling. I love this series!

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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8 Responses to Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Glad to hear you are still enjoying this so much. I agree, it is the characters that keep you coming back to a good series, and from the little I’ve read, that is certainly the case here. It’s also good when you find a series you really like and there are a long list of earlier books to catch up on.

    • The nice thing for me is that I have them all, excepting the one coming out in December, in hand, so between things from the library and others, I can move ahead in the series any time.

  2. 1412064gk says:

    You are way ahead of me in this series. THE WATER ROOM is near the top of the READ REAL SOON stack. Maybe I’ll get to it next week. Nice review!

  3. tracybham says:

    I am so glad you are enjoying this series. The next one up for me is Bryant & May On The Loose, and I hope to get to it in September. I need to start a September reading list.

    • Wow, a September Reading List in July. You are super organized. I have On the Loose, but next for me will be the White Corridor, with a locked-room plot, I think.

      • tracybham says:

        I was thinking about this series, and I am not sure that I read White Corridor, but I know I did read The Victoria Vanishes. If you review it, I will see if the plot sounds familiar.

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