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Ten-Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

Ten-Second Staircase

by Christopher Fowler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bryant and May (4)

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4681422,128 (3.82)22



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Peculiar Crimes Unit. ( )
  laureyd | Mar 27, 2016 |
'The debunking of phantoms and bogeymen is what you do best,' said Land. 'You had a clear remit; to stop the general public from panicking, to protect the vulnerable, to remove danger from the streets. Admit it, you lost sight of your duties.'
'We had to look at the bigger picture. Our job is to help keep the city in equilibrium between myth and reality.'
'I don't hold with all that spiritual holy-water-sprinkling demon-summoning nonsense, Bryant. You're a policeman, you can't afford to hold eccentric views.'

It is May's agoraphobic granddaughter April's first day working in the unit, and she soon shows her worth in research and making connections, but a Home Official is gunning for the Peculiar Crime Unit and they are challenged to solve the closed case of the Leicester Square Vampire by the end of the week or face closure.

As they are also working on the case of a man dressed as a Highwayman who kills fading minor celebrities in elaborate ways, Bryant and May have to split their resource between the two cases. Bryant sees both criminals as embodiments of London myths, linked via the psychogeography of the city to older crimes and monster such as Springheel Jack, the Radcliffe Highway murders and even the Knights Templar, but I found the Highwayman's identity and motivation frankly unbelievable, although maybe it would take callow youth to think that a woman's decision to go through with a pregnancy meant that her pro-choice campaigning must be hypocritical. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 20, 2016 |
This is more like it. Again the mystery is current with roots in the past. The solution is somewhat ingenious, though I figured it out long before the police did and wonder why they were so dim. The antics of Arthur Bryant are getting a bit repetitive, which is a risk with series mysteries. Of course, the repetitiveness is more noticeable reading the series so close together, but thankfully it's nothing like the egregious Kinsey Millhone's cutting her hair with fingernail scissors which she did in every book from A to K when I quit reading that series. I sometimes wonder if she went to a hairdresser in L, N, or Z (has she come to Z yet?) ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Nov 22, 2015 |
This story is a modern one that includes some details about the division between the kids and scholars of a posh boys' school and the lives and motivations of those less-privileged people living in the estate on the adjoining property. It's not the main focus but I found it to be some of the most interesting bits of this book. The mystery was a good one too (of course) and Bryant and May were their standard non-conforming selves. We even get more of May's granddaughter April in this one. I'll probably pick up book five pretty soon because I just can't resist.

http://webereading.com/2014/06/a-three-story-trip-through-london.html ( )
  klpm | Jun 27, 2014 |
I feel like the twist at the end was substantially less surprising to me than it should have been...but what the hell, I enjoyed it anyway. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Apr 19, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Fowlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duha, OndřejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553385569, Paperback)

It’s a crime tailor-made for the Peculiar Crimes Unit: a controversial artist is murdered and displayed as part of her own outrageous installation. No suspects, no motive, no evidence—but this time they do have an eyewitness. A twelve-year-old claims the killer was a cape-clad highwayman atop a black stallion. Whoever the killer really is, he seems intent on killing off enough minor celebrities to become one himself. As “Highwayman Fever” grips London, Bryant and May, along with the newest member of the Unit, May’s agoraphobic granddaughter, April, find themselves sorting out a case involving artistic rivalries, sleazy sex affairs, the Knights Templars, feuding street gangs, and a decades-old crime spree that split up their partnership once before—and threatens to end it again…with murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Detective John May and his partner, Arthur Bryant, find themselves tackling a bizarre serial killer nicknamed "The Highwayman," whose crimes bear a striking similarity to other murders spanning London's history.

» see all 5 descriptions

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