Thursday, 30 April 2015

Bryant & May: The Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

Bryant & May : The Bleeding Heart
Christopher Fowler
Series: Bryant & May #11

Published by: Bantam (12 March 2015)
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: DEAD GOOD BOOKS CLUB - April (Goodreads & Publisher)



It’s a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. 
Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...
Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls…

Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it’s even discovered hidden in the PCU’s offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial.
Rich in strange characters and steeped in London’s true history, this is Bryant & May’s most peculiar and disturbing case of all.

My Thoughts:
This is my second outing with the eccentric duo Bryant & May.

The Bleeding Heart begins, as it did with The Burning Man, the cast of characters listed on the 'staff roster', and is accompanied by another memo from the disgruntled PCU Chief, Raymond Land.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit has been moved from being part of the Metropolitan Police to the City of London Police.
Orion Banks, The City's Public Liaison Officer has been assigned, on what the team believe to be an advisory role, to the PCU, but it soon transpires that she has power to grant or withhold permission to investigate any particular line of enquiry as she sees fit.
The units first case involves two teenagers who apparently see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park, soon after this one of them is killed in a hit and run incident.  However much to Bryant's annoyance instead he has been assigned to another case, that of the stolen ravens from the Tower of London
Being of the old school of policing Bryant and May find it difficult taking orders from this young addition to the PCU who also happens to be a woman. In light of this they choose to investigate in their own unique way and ignore Banks' presence. 
As always this involves talking to a host of strange and bizarre people, including a benevolent warlock, a herbalist, a witch, and a modern day Burke and Hare group of body snatchers.
The Bleeding Heart is another story with a clever plot, lots of twists, and turns and misleads, and out of the two books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most.
Probably as with most of the series there is a predictable tying up of loose ends, but come on, this is 'cosy crime' at its best.  Brilliant in its character development, fun and with hugely likeable characters and humorous story lines. 
The Bleeding Heart was a fun read and suitable for anyone to enjoy without bad language or grizzly descriptions of any nature.
Another highly entertaining humorous crime thriller accompanied by Bryant's interesting historical facts and anecdotes about London.  I definitely recommend it to established readers and newcomers to the world of Bryant & May.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this motley crime unit.

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