Bryant & May: Strange Tide: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
Ali arrives alone in London, a refugee who sailed precariously from Libya. Scorning legitimate paths to respectability, he teams up with a young woman in a series of ventures, becoming a magician, then a popular if questionable touchy-feely practitioner. But is he responsible for the bizarre murders surrounding him? Enter the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit), headed by elderly police detectives Bryant and May, eager as ever to investigate crimes that are seemingly impossible to solve.
May is still the stylish gent, the voice of reason, and an ideal foil for his partner. Bryant endears with his street market clothes, ill-fitting dentures, and a devoted housekeeper who preaches her Christian behavior as she fixes sardine sandwiches for him.
Bryant & May: Strange Tide alludes to the other major player, the River Thames. Bryant’s boundless arcane knowledge draws together the ambiguity of the river’s historical past, legend, and postwar building. In an unusual reversal, facts are translated to fiction. May and the rest of the PCU endeavor to restrain Bryant as he draws in characters from the fringes of society, most of them already familiar to the series’ dedicated readers.
Almost the antithesis of American detective and mystery fiction, the series is quintessentially English, with discreetly horrifying murders and assorted mystics. This Christopher Fowler’s best yet.