England’s Finest (Bryant and May) by Christopher Fowler

Book Blurb

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. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember yesterday, so the newly revealed facts could come as a surprise to everyone, including his exasperated partner John May.

Here, then, is the truth about the Covent Garden opera diva and the seventh 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. All of the unit’s oddest characters are here, plus the detectives’ long-suffering sergeant Janice Longbright gets to reveal her own forgotten mystery.

These twelve crimes must be solved without the help of modern technology, mainly because nobody knows how to use it. Expect misunderstood clues, lost evidence, arguments about Dickens, churches, pubs and disorderly conduct from the investigative officers they laughingly call ‘England’s Finest’!

My thoughts

Just to come clean straight away this is the first book from Christopher Fowler that I have read! He has written prolifically including more than sixteen Bryant and May books. I have to say that I think this – England’s Finest – is an excellent place to start. A collection of short stories, lost cases put aside or lost for a while but now collected together for the pleasure of not only Bryant and May fans but for those of us who are new to this author.

Bryant is old school, old fashioned and not very ‘politically correct’ but fascinating in the way in which his mind works, not necessarily good with people but caring and determined to seek the truth of the matter. He’s a reader, always good in my book! He grows on you.

May is the foil, keeps Bryant in this world – literally on occasion – and is the glue in the team.

The team are themselves a good group, loyal to Bryant and May. Supportive but capable of their own investigations, their own detective work and ready to do what is required of them even if that means dealing with rather disgusting bins! Equally passionate about solving the problem and finding the truth.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit (The PCU) is a wonderful place that combines the new with the old and brings the best from both into their combined love of solving mysteries. Peculiar, unusual mysteries that no one else wants but that they are absolutely suited, formed to resolve and delight the reader.

Humour ripples throughout but it is the mystery and it’s resolution that holds the attention in these perfectly proportioned stories.

The stories are wonderful, well written – I so enjoyed picturing the settings and reading the historical facts within these mysteries – and well worth reading.


My thanks for the invite from Emma at #damppebblesblogtours and to Doubleday for an eCopy of England’s Finest by Christopher Fowler.

Blog Tour: Bryant and May – England’s Finest by Christopher Fowler

Do take a look at the rest of this terrific Tour…

#BryantandMayEnglandsFinest @Peculiar @DoubledayUK @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours (@DamppebblesBTs)


Published in hardcover and ebook formats by Doubleday on 31st October 2019

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Christopher Fowler is the author of more than forty novels (sixteen of which feature the detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit) and many short story collections. A multiple award-winner, including the coveted CWA ‘Dagger in the Library’, Chris has also written screenplays, video games, graphic novels, audio plays and two acclaimed memoirs, Paperboy and Film Freak. His most recent non-fiction book is The Book of Forgotten Authors. Chris divides his time between London’s King’s Cross and Barcelona.

You can find out more by visiting his website and following him on Twitter.





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