Fear in Writing: My second take on Bryant & May

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My second take on Bryant & May

A few months ago I wrote this post on a book by Christopher Fowler.  His Bryant & May series had been highly recommended to me, but I found my first foray into the world of the Peculiar Crimes Unit a bit, well, disappointing.

But then something surprising and very cool happened.  Mr. Fowler commented on my post.  He encouraged me to read some of his other works.  So, I did.

Over Christmas week I read The Victoria Vanishes--and loved it!  Fowler's grasp of the history and changes that make London an fascinating town is impressive.  His use of bar culture as a commentary on the culture of Londoners and the social history that continues today is near-brilliant.  What better place to set a murder than in a bar?  And to tie in numerous pubs with names such as Crown & Anchor and Coach & Horses with murder and history makes for a great, and learned, read.  (For more on pub culture plus Mr. Fowler's own blog, click here.)

This time, I found the characters endearing and true to themselves.  Instead of conflict between age and action, Bryant & May directly deal with those maladies that come with getting older.  Then there are the other detectives.  They each have a personal life that adds to the plot, but doesn't detract from it.

I wish I had the book right in front of me to quote from it.  There are some really great passages that would make you laugh.  But, I leant it to my sister!  The more readers the better, right?

Have you ever given a writer a second chance?  Were you happy with your choice?  How about Christopher Fowler--who has enjoyed his unique mysteries?


  1. Michele - I know exactly what you mean! More than once I've been ready to give up on an author. But then, when I tried another book by the same author, everything was different. Sometimes, I think it's a function of the time in one's life that one reads a book. Sometimes it's a character in one or another book that either "hooks" a reader or puts the reader off. Sometimes it's something else. Either way, I know what you mean.

    And I love the idea of a murder in a pub.

  2. I've done exactly this same type of thing--read a book, been disappointed, then had someone recommend a different book in the series to me. And loved it!