rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my first Bryant & May mystery, but it won't be my last. So funny.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) is assigned case of a woman who was dunked into a vat of formaldehyde filled with floating fetuses. This was her provocative art piece, and provoke it did. The PCU is in danger of being closed down, but if they can solve this case, they can stave off closure. Their only witness, a young boy who was at the museum on a school trip, describes the killer as a 19th century highwayman on a horse. Which makes no sense.
But the highwayman keeps striking minor celebrities throughout a section of London . This patch of London has history that goes back to the Knights Templar, and was where they brought back a jar of Chirst's blood from the holy land.
There is nothing to do but enlist the powers of logic, white witches, cat burglers, police sergeants with a fetish for dressing like 1950s pinups, hackers, and every other loony they can find to stop the highwayman before he can kill again.
I did find some of the social commentary overly pessimistic, but it worked well with the plot.
Bryant & May are both well beyond the normal age for retirement, and are dedicated eccentrics. Bryant is haunted by his past over-reliance on mystics and mumbo jumbo. And toothbrushes. May is haunted by the loss of his daughter, used as bait to capture a vampire (as described by the press). Both have to get beyond their pasts and solve the case before it's too late.
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