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The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler

The Victoria Vanishes

by Christopher Fowler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bryant and May (6)

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5253619,248 (3.84)43
  1. 10
    The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Also British, humourous, historical and intelligent.

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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
'But seeing as you're here too, tell me, how long would it take a man to build a Victorian pub from scratch and then dismantle it again? Could he do it in a single night?'
Bryant explained his predicament.
Beaufort's initial look of surprise transmuted into concentration as he applied himself to the puzzle. 'It would be easier to go the other way around,' he said. 'Hide the pub behind a shop, because the Victorians built things to but. They used stronger mortar, thicker tiles, denser metals. But you could get a shop front up in an hour just by whacking a few sheets of coloured Perspex over the brickwork and holding them in place with a handful of screws. Cover the windows with posters, strip the interior furniture, hide the bar behind racks of magazines, hire some old guy to sit at a counter and fob you off with some story about how he'd been there for years. Pubs usually have the capacity to be brightly lit, because the lights are traditionally turned up after time has been called, so they wouldn't have to replace the lighting. I can see how that might just work.'
'I don't know, Bryant admitted. 'It sounds loopy even to me.'
'I didn't say it was a sane idea, just that it's possible.
There's one way to find out, said Beaufort. 'I've got a crowbar in my car.'

When several middle-aged women are murdered in London pubs without anyone noticing what is happening, the Pecular Crimes Unit are called in, and Arthur Bryant's knowledge of arcane public house history soon leads them to a likely suspect. But were the victims really chosen at random or is there something else behind it?

The Home Office are still out to close the PCU down and rid themselves of the troublesome detectives, and things are looking bleak by the end of the book, but The Victoria Vanishes is book 6 in a series containing 15 novels and some short stories, so something must happen to save them in the next book. ( )
  isabelx | May 8, 2018 |
The agents of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit are investigating the sudden death of a middle-aged woman in a local pub when a second middle-aged woman dies in another pub, then a third. There are too many similarities for them to be unrelated, but lead investigators Bryant and May can't see how the women are connected and how someone is killing them in crowded pubs yet getting away unseen.

I've had this one, and a few others, on my shelf for awhile, so I grabbed the one that was earliest in the series. This seems to be a series that should be read in order and I wished I'd had the first. I think this is the sixth, and it's pretty far along in terms of character relationships. Bryant is past retirement age in this story and there are numerous mentions of previous cases, but I found it gripping anyway, and really well-written. Bryant and May, and their unit, are likable and the premise is unique, so now, great, another series I need to continue. ( )
  mstrust | Feb 24, 2017 |
This is my first mystery by Mr. Fowler. I found his Characterizations brilliant especially that of Arthur Bryant and John May, the aging detectives. However, I can't say the same about some of the plot... at least the final one third of the novel. Up until then I was having an engaging and funny read. Even so, I want to read more of Mr. Fowler's work. Like another reviewer, I think I will try to read the PCU mysteries chronologically. ( )
  ebeach | Feb 5, 2015 |
Tried to read twice but could not stay interested in the characters or the story. ( )
  jamespurcell | Sep 23, 2014 |
This is easily my least favourite of the Bryant and May mysteries. While I love the cast of characters that populate the Peculiar Crimes Unit, I found it difficult to focus on the case at hand. There was so much going on that didn't make sense to even the detectives, so I was even more at sea. I did like the idea of a story focused on the traditional English pub, and I liked seeing May's granddaughter, April, play a quietly useful role in the investigation, but overall this is one I had to push myself through.

It also occurs to me that this is perhaps a series I *should* actually be reading in order. Maybe someday I'll do a chronological reread and see how that compares. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
There’s always a serious point to Fowler’s drolly mannered mysteries, and here it’s the future of London’s historic drinking establishments — many of them visited in the course of this devious puzzle.
added by y2pk | editNew York Times, Marilyn Stasio (Nov 14, 2008)

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fowler, ChristopherAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coleman, SarahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, Jamie S.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man,
that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary,
most men are disguised by sobriety."

--Thomas de Quincey,
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
For Steven, my brother and friend.
First words
She had four and a half minutes left to live.
"It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety." Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553589563, Paperback)

Murder doesn’t get more peculiar than this. A lonely hearts killer is targeting middle-aged women at some of England’s most well-known pubs. What’s even more peculiar, Arthur Bryant happened to see the latest victim only moments before her death—at a pub torn down eighty years ago! It’s only the beginning of a case littered with clues that defy everything the veteran detectives know about the profiles of serial killers and the methodology of crime.

What do the Knights Templars, the secret history of English pubs, and the discovery of an astounding religious relic have to do with this recent crime spree? More important, do the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s two living legends have enough life left in them to stop a murderous conspiracy…and a deadly cupid targeting one of their own?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Returning to the Victoria Cross pub hours after witnessing the murder of a woman, Detective Arthur Bryant is stunned to discover that the pub itself has vanished and the street around it has mysteriously aged, and calls in the Peculiar Crimes Unit to track down a killer who is stalking London's oldest watering holes.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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