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Fowler, Christopher - 'The Seventy-Seven Clocks' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Tim Goodman
Audio Cassette (2006) Publisher: Clipper Audio ISBN: 1845056205

Buy this from UK Audiobooks

Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series dips into the casebook of the long career of Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit. FULL DARK HOUSE was about how they met during World War Two, THE WATER ROOM was set in the 21st century and THE SEVENTY-SEVEN CLOCKS takes us back to the 1970s, the Heath Government and power shortages.

In THE SEVENTY-SEVEN CLOCKS, Bryant and May are ultimately tasked with protecting the middle-class Whistable family from an unknown killer or killers. Firstly, the Whitstable's lawyer dies of a snakebite in the Ritz hotel and that is just the start of the weird murder methods employed by those stalking the Whistable family. Shortly after the lawyer dies, Peter Whitstable defaces a painting in the National Gallery, and when the detectives track him down into the Tube system, he subsequently explodes.

Bryant knows that the family members are withholding information that could help solve the case but nothing will make them reveal it. The answers lie deep in the past and in a deadly arrangement set up by an ancestor to protect the family business.

As in the previous books, the story is complicated but informative, laden with London's history and Bryant and May are an exceptionally funny duo. Much of the humour coming from the fact that their characters are polar opposites. However as the Whitstables aren't particularly likeable it's hard to care about their diminishing numbers, only the death of a character close to May feels tragic.

I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous two books, I think mostly due to the annoying Whitstables, but there's still much to like - in particular Tim Goodman's continuing superb narration. I really wouldn't like to hear anyone else doing Bryant, May and Longbright. Roll on his recording of the TEN-SECOND STAIRCASE.

Karen Meek, England
April 2007

Karen blogs at Euro Crime.

last updated 23/03/2008 20:54