BRYANT & MAY OFF THE RAILS by Christopher Fowler


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London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit has exactly a week to solve a case that promptly blossoms into two cases.

After killing PC Liberty DuCaine, the deadly Mr. Fox (Bryant & May on the Loose, 2009) has made his escape from a holding cell and is once again at large. Because he has a mysterious tropism for King’s Cross station, senior detectives John May and Arthur Bryant are certain that he’ll return there. But that’s all they’re certain of. No sooner has Home Office liaison Leslie Faraday given them a deadline for recapturing Mr. Fox than beautician Gloria Taylor is thrown to her death down a staircase in the King’s Cross underground station, and Tony McCarthy, a junkie who gave Mr. Fox aid and comfort, is skewered in the neck. Bryant and May use a sticker with a stylized “K” affixed to Gloria’s cardigan to link her to both Mr. Fox—whose latest communication is a note reading, “Mr. Fox was born below in Hell and now there will be Kaos”—and Cassie Field, the artist who designed the K logo for the Karma Bar. From this point on, matters get wilder and woollier, culminating in the disappearance of a sozzled housemate of Cassie’s ex-lover from a train moving without a pause between King’s Cross and Russell Square.

Bryant and May don’t shine as detectives, and the unguessable solution depends on some whopping coincidences. But the culprit is well drawn, the PCU staff sterling company and the encyclopedic information about the London Underground irresistible.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-553-80720-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2010


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