As riots send London into flaming chaos, the Peculiar Crimes Squad fights to solve a series of daily killings that have slipped under everyone else’s radar.
The likely insider trading of Dexter Cornell, a slippery partner in the Findersbury Private Bank, has so incensed Londoners that they’ve taken to the streets and torched buildings. In the midst of it all, a Molotov cocktail that kills a man sleeping on the bank steps brings in the PCU, whose takeover by the City of London has tightened the screws once again (“no more pawning items from the Evidence Room until payday….No selfies at crime scenes”) on its free-wheeling senior detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May. The unit’s ramrod new liaison, Superintendent Darren “Missing” Link, insists that their help be limited to identifying the corpse, but once they’ve tagged him as Freddie Weeks, ironically dubbed “Lucky” by his friends, their involvement rapidly snowballs. Aided by the CCTV cameras that seem to track every furtive movement in the city, they soon realize that this first victim was deliberately targeted by someone who seems determined to add a new corpse to their workload every day, some of the victims linked to the despicable Cornell, all of their ghoulish deaths linked by fire. Even worse, Mr. May sees that Mr. Bryant has been acting even more erratically than usual, no mean feat given Bryant’s flamboyant history (Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart, 2014, etc.). As the calendar ticks down to Guy Fawkes Day, Bryant and May and their junior colleagues race to catch the killer.
Even though the ending fizzles this time, not even Arthur Bryant’s alarming behavior can dampen the 12th installment in the most joyously inventive mystery series of our time.