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2076: The American Tricentennial

Edward Bryant
Jo Ann Harper

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword: Coming Attractions - essay by Edward Bryant
  • Introduction: Flashforward to 2076 - essay by Peter S. Alterman
  • A Red, White and Blue Fourth of July - novelette by Karl Hansen
  • Escape Is No Accident - shortstory by Carol Emshwiller
  • Feminine Demystification - poem by Jo Ann Harper
  • The Dust of Evening - shortstory by Robert Crais
  • The Death of Sappho - novelette by Marge Piercy
  • Like Snow-Humped Fields Afraid of Rain - poem by William John Watkins
  • And I for an Eye - shortstory by James A. Stevens
  • Emissary from Hamelin - shortstory by Harlan Ellison
  • Corruption of Metals - poem by Sonya Dorman
  • Aztecs - novella by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • X-2076 - poem by Peter Dillingham
  • The Biological Revolution - shortstory by Robert E. Vardeman and Jeff Slaten
  • One Road to Damascus - shortstory by James Sallis and David Lunde
  • Welcome to the Tricentennial - novelette by Patrick Henry Prentice

A Sad Last Love at the Diner of the Damned

Edward Bryant

Stoker and World Fantasy Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in the anthology Book of the Dead (1989), edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector. The story can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection (1990), edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

Among the Dead and Other Events Leading Up to the Apocalypse

Edward Bryant

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: Loci - (1973) - essay
  • The Hanged Man - (1972) - shortstory
  • Shark - (1973) - shortstory
  • No. 2 Plain Tank Auxiliary Fill Structural Limit 17,605 lbs. Fuel-PWA Spec. 522 Revised - (1972) - shortstory
  • Adrift on the Freeway - (1970) - shortstory
  • Jody After the War - (1972) - shortstory
  • Teleidoscope - (1973) - shortstory
  • The Poet in the Hologram in the Middle of Prime Time - (1972) - shortstory
  • The Human Side of the Village Monster - (1971) - shortstory
  • Among the Dead - (1971) - shortstory
  • File on the Plague - (1971) - shortstory
  • The Soft Blue Bunny Rabbit Story - (1971) - shortstory
  • Tactics - (1973) - shortstory
  • Sending the Very Best - (1970) - shortstory
  • Their Thousandth Season - (1972) - shortstory
  • Love Song of Herself - (1971) - shortstory
  • Pinup - (1973) - shortstory
  • Dune's Edge - (1972) - shortstory

giANTS

Edward Bryant

Nebula Award winning and Hugo Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1979. The story can also be found in the anthologies Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Ninth Annual Collection (1980), edited by Gardner Dozois Nebula Winners Fifteen (1981), edited by Frank Herbert, and The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF (1994), edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. It included in the collections Wyoming Sun (1980) and Particle Theory (1981).

Particle Theory

Edward Bryant

Nebula Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 1977. The story can be found in the anthologies The 1978 Annual World's Best SF, edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Arthur W. Saha, Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Seventh Annual Collection (1978), edited by Gardner Dozois, Nebula Winners Thirteen (1980), edited by Samuel R. Delany, The Road to Science Fiction 4: From Here to Forever (1982), edited by James E. Gunn, and Modern Classics of Science Fiction (1991), edited by Gardner Dozois. It is included in the collection Particle Theory (1981)

Read the full story for free at Strange Horizons.

Particle Theory (collection)

Edward Bryant

A collection of many of Bryant's best works, including two Nebula Award winning short stories. "The stories in his collection Particle Theory showed me that science could be used metaphorically to illuminate human experience, and that the personal could reinforce the "big ideas" rather than compete with them. I discovered him when I was in college, at the same time I first started reading writers like William Gibson and Gene Wolfe and John Crowley. They all expanded my ideas of what SF could do, but the one whose influence on my work is clearest is Bryant." -- Ted Chiang

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: The Legacy of Hans Christian Sauropod - (1981) - essay
  • Particle Theory - (1977) - shortstory
  • The Thermals of August - (1981) - novelette
  • Hayes and the Heterogyne - (1974) - novelette
  • Teeth Marks - (1979) - shortstory
  • Winslow Crater - (1978) - poem
  • Shark - (1973) - shortstory
  • Precession - (1980) - shortstory
  • Stone - (1978) - shortstory
  • Strata - (1980) - novelette
  • The Hibakusha Gallery - (1977) - shortstory
  • giANTS - (1979) - shortstory
  • To See - (1980) - shortstory

Phoenix Without Ashes

Harlan Ellison
Edward Bryant

The Starlost: 2785 A.D.

They had banished Devon from the world of Cypress Corners because he dared to challenge the Elders. And when he defied them again, they hunted him like an animal.

Then Devon stumbled on a secret passage in the hills. His whole life changed in that moment. For Devon had accidentally discovered the giant ark that was ferrying not only Cypress Corners but all other Earth cultures to another planet.

What Devon did not know was that there had been a terrible accident aboard the spaceship. The gear had been damaged, the crew dead. And the ark and all its worlds were now headed straight for destruction.

Shark

Edward Bryant

Nebula Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in the anthology Orbit 12 (1973), edtied by Damon Knight. It can also be found in the anthology Nebula Award Stories Nine (1974), edited by Kate Wilhelm and the collection Among the Dead and Other Events Leading Up to the Apocalypse (1973).

Stone

Edward Bryant

Hugoa and Nebula Award nominated short story.

In the near future, the operator of the computerized emotional feedback circuit which mediates between audience and performer at concerts becomes emotionally close to the pop singer megastar on whose tour he works.

The story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1978. It can aslo be found in the anthology Nebula Winners Fourteen (1980) edited by Frederik Pohl and the collection Particle Theory (1981).

Strata

Edward Bryant

Nebula Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 1980. The story can also be found in A Spadeful of Spacetime (1981), edited by Fred Saberhagen, Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Tenth Annual Collection (1981), edited by Gardner Dozois, Fantasy Annual IV (1981) edited by Terry Carr, Dinosaurs! (1990), edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, and Strange Dreams (1993) edited by Stephen R. Donaldson. It is included in the collections Wyoming Sun (1980) and Particle Theory (1981).

The Cutter

Edward Bryant

This short story originally appeared in the anthology Silver Scream (1988), ediited by David J. Schow. The story can also be found in the The Year's Best Fantasy: Second Annual Collection (1989), edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. A chapbook edition of the story was published in 1991.

The Fire That Scours

Edward Bryant

Sturgeon Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in Omni, October 1994. There are no other known publications available at this time.

The Hibakusha Gallery

Edward Bryant

Nebula Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in Penthouse, June 1977. It can also be found in the collection Particle Theory (1981).

The Thermals of August

Edward Bryant

Hugo and Nebula Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1981. The story can also be found in the anthologies Dragons of Darkness (1981), edited by Orson Scott Card, amd The Best Science Fiction of the Year #11 (1982), edited by Terry Carr. It is included in the collection Particle Theory (1981).

Alice in Sunderland: An Entertainment

Bryan Talbot

Sunderland! Thirteen hundred years ago it was the greatest center of learning in the whole of Christendom and the very cradle of English consciousness. In the time of Lewis Carroll it was the greatest shipbuilding port in the world. To this city that gave the world the electric light bulb, the stars and stripes, the millennium, the Liberty Ships and the greatest British dragon legend came Carroll in the years preceding his most famous book, Alice in Wonderland, and here are buried the roots of his surreal masterpiece.

Enter the famous Edwardian palace of varieties, The Sunderland Empire, for a unique experience: an entertaining and epic meditation on myth, history and storytelling and decide for yourself - does Sunderland really exist?

Neon Twilight

Author's Choice Monthly: Book 7

Edward Bryant

Table of Contents:

  • 1 - Introduction (Neon Twilight) - essay
  • 7 - Waiting in Crouched Halls - (1970) - short story [as by Ed Bryant]
  • 25 - Pilots of the Twilight - [Berserker (Fred Saberhagen)] - (1984) - novella
  • 99 - Neon - short fiction

Bryant & May - England's Finest: Short Stories

Bryant & May

Christopher Fowler

The Peculiar Crimes Unit has solved many extraordinary cases over the years, but some were hushed up and hidden away. Until now.

Arthur Bryant remembers these lost cases as if they were yesterday. Here, then, is the truth about the Covent Garden opera diva and the 17th reindeer, the body that falls from the Tate Gallery, the ordinary London street corner where strange accidents keep occurring, the consul's son discovered buried in the unit's basement, the corpse pulled from a swamp of Chinese dinners, a Hallowe'en crime in the Post Office Tower and the impossible death that's the fault of a forgotten London legend.

Expect misunderstood clues, lost evidence, arguments about Dickens, churches, pubs and disorderly conduct from the investigative officers they laughingly call 'England's Finest'!

Bryant & May - London's Glory

Bryant & May

Christopher Fowler

In every detective's life there are cases that can't be discussed, and throughout the Bryant & May novels there have been mentions of some of these such as the Deptford Demon or the Little Italy Whelk Smuggling Scandal.

Now Arthur Bryant has decided to open the files on eleven of these previously unseen investigations that required the collective genius and unique modus operandi of Arthur Bryant and John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit - investigations that range from different times (London during the Great Smog) and a variety of places: a circus freak show, on board a London Tour Bus and even a yacht off the coast of Turkey.

And in addition to these eleven classic cases, readers are also given a privileged look inside the Peculiar Crimes Unit (literally, with a cut away drawing of their offices), a guide to the characters of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, and access to the contents of Arthur Bryant's highly individual library.

Full Dark House: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 1

Christopher Fowler

A bomb rips through present-day London, tragically ending the crime-fighting partnership of Arthur Bryant and John May begun more than a half-century ago during another infamous bombing: the Blitz of World War II. Desperately searching for clues to the saboteur's identity, May finds the notes his old friend kept of their very first case and a past that may have returned... with murderous vengeance. It was an investigation that began with the grisly murder of a pretty young dancer. In a city shaken by war, a faceless killer stalked London's theater row, creating his own sinister drama. And it would take Bryant's unorthodox techniques and May's dogged police work to catch a fiend whose ability to escape detection seemed almost supernatural-a murderer who decades later may have returned to kill one of them... and won't stop until he kills the other.

The Water Room: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 2

Christopher Fowler

How can an elderly recluse drown in a chair in her otherwise dry basement? That's what John May and Arthur Bryant of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit set out to discover in a city rife with shady real estate developers, racist threats, dodgy academicians, and someone dangerously obsessed with Egyptian mythology. Linking them all is an evil lurking in London's vast and forgotten underground river system-a killer with the eerie ability to strike anywhere, anytime, without leaving a clue.

It's a subterranean case of secrets, lies, and multiple murder that defies not only the law, but reason itself. Can Bryant and May bring a killer to the surface and stop the dark tide of murder before it pulls them under, too?

Seventy Seven Clocks: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 3

Christopher Fowler

A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a Pre-Raphaelite painting in the National Gallery. Then a guest at the exclusive Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by a marshland snake. Over the next several days, an outbreak of increasingly bizarre crimes will hit London-and, fittingly, come to the attention of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Art vandalism, an exploding suspect, pornography, rat poison, Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, secret societies... and not a single suspect in sight. The killer they're chasing has a dark history, a habit of staying hidden, and time itself on his side. Detectives May and Bryant are racing the clock and this time the bell may be tolling for them.

Ten Second Staircase: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 4

Christopher Fowler

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.

White Corridor: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 5

Christopher Fowler

It's the classic locked-room mystery-a member of the Peculiar Crimes Unit killed inside a sealed morgue populated only by the dead and to which only four PCU members had a key. To make matters worse, the Unit has been shut down for a forced "vacation," and Bryant and May are stuck in a van in the Dartmoor countryside during a freak snowstorm. Now they'll have to crack the case by cell phone while trying to stop a second murder without freezing to death. For among the line of trapped vehicles, a killer is on the prowl, a beautiful woman is on the run, and an innocent child is caught in the middle....

The Victoria Vanishes: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 6

Christopher Fowler

It's a case tailor-made for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. A lonely hearts killer is targeting middle-aged women at some of England's most well-known pubs-including one torn down eighty years ago. What's more, Arthur Bryant happened to see one of the victims only moments before her death at the pub that doesn't exist. Indeed, this case is littered with clues that defy everything the veteran detectives know about the habits of serial killers, the methodology of crime, and the odds of making an arrest. Now, with the public on the verge of panic and their superiors determined to shut the PCU down for good, Detectives Bryant and May must rise to the occasion in defense of two great English traditions-the pub and the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

That's easier said than done. A lost funeral urn, the eighteenth-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, the Knights Templars, the secret history of pubs, and the discovery of an astounding religious relic may be enough to convince one of the pair to take back his resignation letter. But with Bryant consulting a memory specialist and May encountering a brush with mortality, do the Peculiar Crimes Unit's two living legends have enough life left to stop a murderous conspiracy... and a deadly cupid targeting one of their own.

Bryant & May on the Loose: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 7

Christopher Fowler

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is no more. After years of defying the odds and infuriating their embarrassed superiors, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May have at last crossed the line. This is the twenty-first century and not even their eccentric genius or phenomenal success rate solving London's most unusual crimes can save them. While Bryant takes to his bed, his bathrobe, and his esoteric books, the rest of the team take to the streets looking for new careers - leading one of them to stumble upon a gruesome murder.

It isn't so much the discovery of the headless corpse that's potentially so politically explosive as where it's found. Still it takes the bizarre sightings of a great horned creature - half man, half stag - carrying off young women to convince Bryant that this is a case worth getting dressed and leaving the house to solve. The Home Office has reluctantly authorized the PCU to reunite for one last encore performance - in a rented office with no computer network, no legal authority, and a broken toilet. They've got until the end of the week to solve a murder with unlikely links to gangland crime, Slavic mythology, the 2012 London Olympics, and the sort of corruption only obscene amounts of money and power can buy.

It's the kind of case that Bryant and May live to solve - and it could be just the case that kills them.

Bryant & May off the Rails: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 8

Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit novels have been hailed for their originality, suspense, and unforgettable characters. Now Arthur Bryant, John May, and their team of proud eccentrics have been given only one week to hunt down a murderer they've already caught once-and who is now luring them down into the darkest shadows of the London Underground.

The young man they seek is an enigma. His identity is false. His links to society are invisible. A search of his home yields no clues. The Peculiar Crimes Unit knows only this: Somehow Mr. Fox got out of a locked room and killed one of their best and brightest. Facing a shutdown, Bryant and May learn that their man, expertly disguised, has struck again in the world's oldest subway system. But as their search takes them into the vast labyrinth of tunnels that tie the city together, they discover a fresh mystery as bizarre as anything they have ever faced....

As the city blithely goes about its way, as tales of ghost stations and Underground legends emerge, Bryant and May, men of opposite methods, are each getting closer to what lies hidden at the heart of London's celebrated Tube-and to the madness that is driving their man to murder.

Sophisticated, fast-paced, and confounding until its final twist, Bryant & May off the Rails is Christopher Fowler dead on track and at the height of his power to beguile, bewitch, and entertain.

The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 9

Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler's acclaimed Peculiar Crimes Unit novels crackle with sly wit, lively suspense, and twists as chilling as London's fog. Now the indomitable duo of Arthur Bryant and John May, along with the rest of their quirky team, return to solve a confounding case with dark ties to the British theater and a killer who may mean curtains for all involved.

For the crew of the New Strand Theatre, the play The Two Murderers seems less performance than prophecy when a cast party ends in the shocking death of the theater owner's son. The crime scene is most unusual, even for Bryant and May. In a locked bedroom without any trace of fingerprints or blood, the only sign of disturbance is a gruesome life-size puppet of Mr. Punch laying on the floor. Everyone at the party is a suspect, including the corrupt producer, the rakish male lead, the dour set designer, and the assistant stage manager, who is the wild daughter of a prominent government official.

It's this last fact that threatens the Peculiar Crimes Unit's investigation, as the government's Home Office, wary of the team's eccentric methods, seeks to throw them off the case. But the nimble minds of Bryant and May are not so easily deterred. Delving into the history of the London theater and the disturbing origins of Punch and Judy, the detectives race to find the maniacal killer before he reaches his even deadlier final act.

Whip-smart and endlessly entertaining, The Memory of Blood is an ingeniously intricate mystery from the deliciously inventive Christopher Fowler.

The Invisible Code: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 10

Christopher Fowler

London's craftiest and boldest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back in this deviously twisting mystery of black magic, madness, and secrets hidden in plain sight.

When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride's Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes this case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an eccentric team tasked with solving London's most puzzling murders. Yet the city police take over the investigation, and the PCU is given an even more baffling and bewitching assignment.

Called into headquarters by Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security, Bryant and May are shocked to hear that their longtime adversary now desperately needs their help. Oskar's wife, Sabira, has been acting strangely for weeks—succumbing to violent mood swings, claiming an evil presence is bringing her harm—and Oskar wants the PCU to find out why. And if there's any duo that can deduce the method behind her madness, it's the indomitable Bryant and May.

When a second bizarre death reveals a surprising link between the two women's cases, Bryant and May set off on a trail of clues from the notorious Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park. And as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, concealed rooms and high-society clubs, they must work quickly to catch a killer who lurks even closer than they think.

Witty, suspenseful, and ingeniously plotted,The Invisible Code is Christopher Fowler at the very top of his form.

Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 11

Christopher Fowler

London's wiliest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back on the case in this fiendishly clever new mystery... and when a cemetery becomes the scene of a crime, neither secrets--nor bodies--stay buried.

Romain Curtis sneaks into St. George's Gardens one evening with his date, planning to show her the stars. A centuries-old burial ground, the small, quiet park is the perfect place to be alone. Yet the night takes a chilling turn when the two teenagers spy a strange figure rising from among the tombstones: a corpse emerging from the grave. Suffice it to say that wherever there's a dead man walking, Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are never far behind.

As the PCU investigates the sighting, a second urgent matter requires their unusual brand of problem-solving. Seven ravens have gone missing from their historic home in the Tower of London, and legend has it that when the ravens disappear, England will fall. Bryant has been tasked with recovering the lost birds, but when Romain is suddenly found dead, the two seemingly separate mysteries start to intertwine and point to a plot more sinister than anyone could ever imagine.

Soon Bryant and May find themselves immersed in London's darkest lore, from Victorian-era body snatchers, to arcane black magic, to the grisly myth behind Bleeding Heart Yard, a courtyard long associated with murder. And as the body count spikes and more coffins are unearthed, they will have to dig deep to catch a killer and finally lay these cases to rest.

Bryant & May and the Burning Man: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

Bryant & May: Book 12

Christopher Fowler

No case is too curious for Arthur Bryant and John May, London's most ingenious detectives. But with their beloved city engulfed in turmoil, they'll have to work fast to hold a sinister killer's feet to the fire.

In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London's peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest. Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider trading, demonstrators are rioting outside the Findersbury Private Bank, chanting, marching, and growing violent. But when someone hurls a Molotov cocktail at the bank's front door, killing a homeless man on its steps, Bryant, May, and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in. Is this an act of protest gone terribly wrong? Or a devious, premeditated murder?

Their investigation heats up when a second victim is reported dead in similar fiery circumstances. May discovers the latest victim has ties to the troubled bank, and Bryant refuses to believe this is mere coincidence. As the riots grow more intense and the body count climbs, Bryant and May hunt for a killer who's adopting incendiary methods of execution, on a snaking trail of clues with roots in London's history of rebellion, anarchy, and harsh justice. Now, they'll have to throw themselves in the line of fire before the entire investigation goes up in smoke.

Suspenseful, smart, and wickedly funny, Bryant & May and the Burning Man is a brilliantly crafted mystery from the beloved Christopher Fowler.

Strange Tide

Bryant & May: Book 13

Christopher Fowler

London's most brilliant but unconventional detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, must plumb the depths of a particularly murky mystery.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit faces its most baffling case yet--and if Bryant and May can't rise to the challenge, the entire unit may go under. Near the Tower of London, along the River Thames, the body of a woman has been discovered chained to a stone post and left to drown. Curiously, only one set of footprints leads to the tragic spot. "The Bride in the Tide," as the London press gleefully dubs her, has the PCU stumped. Why wouldn't the killer simply dump her body in the river--as so many do?

Arthur Bryant wonders if the answer lies in the mythology of the Thames itself. Unfortunately, the normally wobbly funhouse corridors of Bryant's mind have become, of late, even more labyrinthine. The venerable detective seems to be losing his grip on reality. May fears the worst, as Bryant rapidly descends from merely muddled to one stop short of Barking, hallucinating that he's traveled back in time to solve the case. There had better be a method to Bryant's madness--because, as more bodies are pulled from the river's depths, his partner and the rest of the PCU find themselves in over their heads.

Fiendishly fun and rich in London lore, Bryant and May: Strange Tide is Christopher Fowler at his best, delivering more twists and turns than the Thames itself.

Wild Chamber

Bryant & May: Book 14

Christopher Fowler

Our story begins at the end of an investigation, as the members of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit race to catch a killer near London Bridge Station in the rain, not realising that they're about to cause a bizarre accident just yards away from the crime scene. And it will have repercussions for them all...

One year later, in an exclusive London crescent, a woman walks her dog--but she's being watched. When she's found dead, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Why? Because the method of death is odd, the gardens are locked, the killer had no way in - or out - and the dog has disappeared.

So a typical case for Bryant & May. But the hows and whys of the murder are not the only mysteries surrounding the dead woman - there's a missing husband and a lost nanny to puzzle over too. And it seems very like that the killer is preparing to strike again.

As Arthur Bryant delves in to the history of London's 'wild chambers' - its extraordinary parks and gardens, John May and the rest of the team seem to have caused a national scandal. If no-one is safe then all of London's open spaces must be closed...

With the PCU placed under house arrest, only Arthur Bryant remains at liberty--but can a hallucinating old codger catch the criminal and save the unit before it's too late?

Hall of Mirrors

Bryant & May: Book 15

Christopher Fowler

The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder...

The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May - undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen's evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they've got a decent chap on the inside who can help them - the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel 'Fruity' Metcalf.

The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end. The house's owner - a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat - is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can't solve the case. It's when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems...

So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!

The Lonely Hour

Bryant & May: Book 16

Christopher Fowler

In Which Mr May Makes A Mistake And Mr Bryant Goes Into The Dark

On a rainy winter night outside a run-down nightclub in the wrong part of London, four strangers meet for the first time at 4:00am. A few weeks later the body of an Indian textile worker is found hanging upside down inside a willow tree on Hampstead Heath. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. The victim was found surrounded by the paraphernalia of black magic, and so Arthur Bryant and John May set off to question experts in the field. But the case is not what it appears. When another victim seemingly commits suicide, it becomes clear that in the London night is a killer who knows what people fear most. And he always strikes at 4:00am. In order to catch him, the PCU must switch to night shifts, but still the team draws a blank.

John May takes a technological approach, Arthur Bryant goes in search of academics and misfits for help, for this is becoming a case that reveals impossibilities at every turn, not least that there's no indication of what the victims might have done to attract the attentions of a murderer that doesn't seem to exist. But impossibilities are what the Peculiar Crimes Unit does best. As they explore a night city where all the normal rules are upended, they're drawn deeper into a case that involves murder, arson, kidnap, blackmail, bats and the psychological effects of loneliness on Londoners. It's a trail that takes them from the poorest part of the East End to the wealthiest homes in North London - an investigation that can only end in tragedy...

Dealer's Choice

Wild Cards: Book 11

George R. R. Martin
Walter Jon Williams
Edward Bryant
Stephen Leigh

As the final battle between the Nats and Bloat rages on Ellis Island, the Turtle throws in the towel, Modular Man switches sides, Reflector faces defeat, and assassins reach Bloat's chamber.