Book review : Ten-Second Staircase

Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May 4)Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ten-Second Staircase is another cracking read from the pen of Christopher Fowler and featuring the superb pairing of Arthur Bryant and John May, the elderly founders of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (which always lives up to its name).

It features some very peculiar crimes indeed (an artist drowned in her own installation) as well as some just horribly brutal ones as well. Aside from the main crime that they have to solve in this book they are also thrown back into a previously unsolved case from the nineteen seventies which had often been mentioned in the previous books as one that got away from them despite their best efforts at the time and they also have to do this with the home office threatening to close the unit down as they are not impressed with the methods of the unit, which are not standard policing methods. Of course that is what makes these books so interesting to read as they don’t play by the rules, but usually get the right results and it is great fun seeing them get into scrapes of their own making and rooting for them all the way to get out of the scrape and go and catch the bad guy or girl.

The story in this book was reasonably complex (but not as complex as some of the others in the seris have been) and kept me guessing right until the end when I realised that the person that I had been suspecting cannot have been the culprit. Once again all of the regular characters of the PCU shone out amongst the dramatis personae in the book even amongst the myriad of possible suspects and the murder victims themselves and you find yourself really wanting them to get the job done and angry at the people who are trying to stop them doing what they do best.

In fact though Bryant and May are easily the best characters in the books I do have a soft spot for Janice Longbright a woman who manages to keep the unit going almost singlehandedly and who is also a fascinating character with a fixation on looking and acting like a 1950s glamour puss as well as being a thoroughly capable police officer and an excellent ally for Bryant and May to have.

I have really been enjoying this book and look forward to reading more of the PCU adventures.



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