First published: UK, Doubleday, 2007
Good but not great Bryant and May. It takes a long time to get going—the murder isn’t committed until well after p. 100!—and the identity of the murderer in the Dartmoor snow is predictable.
On the other hand, the murder of Oswald Finch in a locked room is clever, highly original and ingenious, if extremely far-fetched.
Overall, however, the book lacks the richness and complexity of earlier books, possibly because Bryant and May are out of their element for much of the book. London suits them much better than the countryside.
In Which Mr Bryant Gets In A Jam
And Mr May Goes Below Zero
The unthinkable has happened at London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit. A key member of staff has been found murdered, and everyone who works there is suddenly a suspect. But Arthur Bryant and John May aren’t on hand to solve the crime. They’re stranded on a desolate snowbound section of country road. As the blizzard worsens, they attempt to solve the crime long distance using only their mobile phones.
Unfortunately, their situation is about to worsen. Unknown to the stranded detectives, an obsessed killer has travelled from the Riviera to Dartmoor, and is stalking the stranded vehicles, searching for one particular victim, coming closer with each passing minute…
As if it didn’t have enough trouble, the Peculiar Crimes unit is about to receive a demanding royal visitor, and the Home Office is preparing to shut the PCU down when the visit inevitably goes wrong…
Two murderers, two incapacitated detectives, just six hours to solve two crimes and save the unit. Armed only with their wits, woolly coats and a stack of dubious veal and ham pies, Bryant & May are bracing themselves for a day trapped inside the white corridor…
BRYANT: Look at the snow falling in the trees. It’s so postcard-pretty out there. I’d forgotten how much I hate the countryside.
MAY: That’s because you never spend any time there.
BRYANT: Why would I? Rural folk think they’re so superior just because they have a village pub and a duck pond.
‘Another triumph for the Peculiar Crimes Unit!’ – Independent On Sunday