In the first Bryant & May mystery, Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler, the duo embark on a strange investigation involving a string of mysterious murders at the Palace Theatre in London during the midst of World War II. After establishing a Peculiar Crimes Unit at the North London police headquarters, Bryant & May are tasked with finding the killer wreaking havoc on the theatre and cast members. Intertwined with the story of the origins of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, is a present day narrative by May as he tries to uncover the person responsible for Bryant’s recent murder, which occurs at the beginning of the novel.
While the storyline is certainly creepy and compelling, I felt the constant back and forth of the flashbacks became a little tedious. The story does have some intriguing twists and surprises, but also starts out a little slow before it begins to build momentum about a ¼ of the way through the book.
I particularly enjoyed the description of London during the height of the war. Fowler writes with a sense of realism that immerses you in the story and gives brings each character to life. I most enjoyed Fowler’s character development of Bryant, as his moodiness and detached approach to life makes him a complex character sure to have tragic or mysterious past. Sure enough, Bryant’s great tragedy is revealed in detail toward the end the book.
Most surprising was the surprise ending and revelation of what actually happened to Bryant.
- Did you feel that the ending was believable and were you satisfied with the explanation of what actually happened to Bryant
- What do you think about Bryant & May as a team and are their conflicting viewpoints and personality’s part of what makes them a good team?
- What did you think of the pacing of the story and the flashbacks? Do you think this is part of what made the story intriguing or could it have been written in a different way with the same effect?