The Victoria Vanishes
Bantam, Mar 4 2009, $25.00
In popular London pubs, middle age women simply collapse and die. Initially there is no evidence of foul play; especially as all the witnesses insist nothing happened except the woman dropping dead and pathologist Oswald Finch recently died so no follow-up occurred.
Everything changes when Peculiar Crimes Unit senior detective Arthur Bryant claims he was with victim Carol Wynley just before she died outside the Victoria Cross; an edifice torn down over eight decades ago in 1925. Since the elderly sleuth misplaced Finch’s urn containing his last remains, everyone even his partner Senior Detective John May worries about his senility. Still they investigate while the brass considers closing down PCU starting with the sale of their building and the addition of by the standard operating procedures Sergeant Jack Renfield.
The latest PCU police procedural (see TEN SECOND STAIRCASE and WHITE CORRIDOR) is a fabulous single sitting thriller that hooks the audience throughout the exhilarating story line as fans like the cops will wonder if this is an urban fantasy or Arthur suffers from senility. The need to know what is going on makes for a delightful tale as the PCU members visit pubs and uncover a religious relic that frightens and elates their blood while beginning to connect the dots of a murderous conspiracy. Christopher Fowler provides a strong entry that lives up to the peculiar label of this sleuthing unit.