Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Memory Of Blood-Christopher Fowler

Memory Of Blood

Christopher Fowler

Bantam, Mar 27 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780345528636

In London, Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) senior (citizen) detective John May tells his geriatric partner Arthur Bryant that his buddy belonged in the nineteenth century rather than the information age. May insists Bryant wants a return to the days when kids climbed into chimneys as sweeps rather than climbed into a virtual chimney as a role player. Meanwhile the brass wishes the octogenarians would retire and PCU would expire. However, these seemingly dementia pair solves cases that require extraordinary measures.

The New Strand Theatre hosts a production of The Two Murderers. Those associated with the play throw a party. Soon afterward, the son of the theater owner falls from a sixth floor window. The case looks like a suicide, but the locals ask PCU to take a look at the locked room scenario. Bryant believes a murder occurred when a grotesque life sized Mr. Punch is on the floor. He explains to May that the opening scene in the Punch and Judy shows has the former throwing the baby out the window. The party attendees are all people of interest while the two ancient sleuths seek a motive along the lines of Punch and Judy. Meanwhile the Home Office tries to push PCU off the case as a government official’s daughter is a suspect.

This is a superb PCU police procedural as readers obtain a fascinating look at the macabre history of the Punch-and-Judy shows that is tied to the present day “Theatre of Blood”. With humor and a touch of satirizing those nostalgically wanting a return to a so called golden age that happened before they were born, this locked room entry is one of the best cases in a terrific long running series.

Harriet Klausner

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