Bryant and May Off the Rails is Christopher Fowler's eighth and latest offering in his Bryant & May series where he again recounts the misadventures of the Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London Metropolitan Police. An escaped killer is on the loose, and to make matters worse, he escaped from the PCU shortly after they apprehended him at the end of the previous novel in the series, Bryant & May on the Loose (2009). The octogenarian detectives and their department of cast-offs and misfits has one week to recapture the murderer known as Mr. Fox, or suffer the closure of their department. With their jobs, professional pride, and maybe even their lives at stake, they trace their suspect through a subterranean world of forgotten tunnels, crypts, and abandoned Underground stations beneath London.
To fully appreciate the history of the partnership between the curmudgeonly Arthur Bryant and the unflappably urbane John May, start with Full Dark House (2003), which describes the origin of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Formed in 1940, during the dark early months of World War II, the PCU was charged with the responsibility for quickly and definitively solving crimes that were sensitive or that authorities feared might lead to panic or poor morale on the home front and so undermine the war effort. Having a special unit to close these cases would, it was felt, prevent this from happening. While following along as the PCU investigates and solves some ingenious and baffling crimes, readers are treated to a history of London arcana as well as the ceaseless and hilarious bantering between Bryant and May. The rest of the novels in the series are: The Water Room (2004), Seventy-Seven Clocks (2005), Ten Second Staircase (2006), White Corridor (2007), and The Victoria Vanishes (2008).
Submitted by Chris G @ Bay View & Tippecanoe