Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

In the heart of the capital a different world hides…

Book blurb

My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden … and there’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.

My thoughts

This is a terrific book set in London it about a new Police Officer – Peter Grant – and how he comes to be apprenticed to Inspector Nightingale. The Inspector turns out to be a wizard! For Peter it’s just what he wanted – a way out of ending up pushing paper – isn’t it?

This is a terrific read. It’s quirky, funny and I loved the setting with all that you find out about London’s rivers and it’s tributaries along with the dispute between Mother Thames and Father Thames. The connection to Punch and Judy is fascinating as Peter and Inspector Nightingale investigate what is disrupting the peace (!) of London and the deaths that occur.

Peter is a good main character and I look forward to seeing him develop in the very competent hands of the author. The supporting cast of characters are equally as good.

If you like a smattering of otherworldliness and humour with your crime reads – or is that a smattering of crime with your otherworldliness – this is one for you. If your not usually into this sort of read I would give it a go, like me, you might just enjoy it.

This was the latest read for The Virtual Crime Book Club. You can check out what the book club had to say below.


Book: Purchased

This was our latest book club read. For all information about the Virtual Crime Book Club visit The Virtual Crime Book Club where you will find links to our zoom meetings, how to sign up and much more.

Next Book Club Read (28 Dec): The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. The book club is meeting on Monday 28th December at 8 pm GMT (UK time zone). You need to be signed up to the book club mailing list to get the password to join us. Sign up HERE. We’d love to see you!


Publisher: Gollancz (10 Jan. 2011) – an imprint of Orion Publishing

Buy: See links below | AmazonSmileUK | Your local bookshop | KOBO

Author: Before becoming a bestselling author, Ben Aaronovitch was a screenwriter for Doctor Who and a bookseller at Waterstones. He now writes full time, and every book in his Rivers of London series has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. He is published in 14 languages and has sold more than 2 million copies around the world. Aaronovitch is also a trustee on the board of Cityread London and is a long-time supporter of Nigeria’s premiere arts and cultural festival, The Aké Festival. He still lives in London, the city he likes to refer to as ‘the capital of the world’.


What Abigail did That Summer (Rivers of London Novella) 2021: ISBN-13: 9781473224360 | Tales from the Folly (Rivers of London Short Stories) 2020: ISBN-13: 9781473233119 | The Rivers of London Series (8 Books)

Rivers of London series: Rivers of London (2011) | Moon Over Soho (2011) | Whispers Underground (2012) | Broken Homes (2013) | Foxglove Summer (2014) | The Hanging Tree (2016) | Lies Sleeping (2018) | False Value (2020)


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