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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book
So begins this, the darkest adventure yet for Fowlers geriatric investigators.

An awesome piece of fiction that trawls through this duo's past inadequacies and mistakes, only to have them mirrored by the events their present investigations create.

Faced with the yet again imminent threat of closure of the PSU, these two irascible opposites complement...
Published on 25 May 2006 by Mr. K. K. Etheridge

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg
This is the third Bryant & May mystery I have read, and I'm still in two minds about the series. With regard to the Ten-Second Staircase, the characterisation of the two leads was very good, their eccentricities being endearing. There was also a very good sense of place, particularly with regard to the influence London's past has on its present. And the whole set-up is...
Published on 10 Aug 2009 by P. Rees


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, 25 May 2006
So begins this, the darkest adventure yet for Fowlers geriatric investigators.

An awesome piece of fiction that trawls through this duo's past inadequacies and mistakes, only to have them mirrored by the events their present investigations create.

Faced with the yet again imminent threat of closure of the PSU, these two irascible opposites complement each other perfectly in their desire to solve the current series of murders committed by the elusive Highwayman. Together with the increasing knowledge of it's connections to the oft mentioned case, in previous novels featuring this duo, of the Leicester Square Vampire, they stumble back and forth from past to present aided by two generations of May's descendants, hindered by an equal number of generations evil.

Shrewdly skillfully crafted characters old and new. Fowlers appreciation of the darker side of humanity, together with the faltering innocence of his lead characters helps to bind the plot of the novel firmly within the bounds of possibility and indeed at times probability. His unique talent for combining factual historical events from the city of London's past, with the stubbornness and persistent inquiry into events old and new by Bryant & May beggars belief. An extremely well researched novel, which shows in the depth of minutiae that Fowler describes from his home cities ancient and more recent past. Almost chronological at times, but a valid historical record of the United Kingdom's capital city and the dark and evil denizens who shaped it's mythology and lore in the minds of their victims then, and now in the legend and doggerel that passes into the minds of children from their parents to this day.

Death runs rampant through this novel, as with all Fowlers previous ones detailing the exploits of these elderly crime solvers. Victims falling prey to the uncanny and downright strange in manners of demise so fiendishly ingenious as to make your blood freeze. The grim reaper under Fowlers guiding hand cuts a swathe through the degenerate and downright nasty with ease. There are casualties too though, not only from their past, but from their present firmament of esoteric and arcane aides.

If you've read any of Bryant and May's previous exploits, then you're in for another surefire treat. If you're a newbie to these gentlemen and their motley crew of stalwarts and equally bumbling associates, then all this reviewer can advise, is that you hold on tight. This novel is one hell of a ride. A gritty, dark and at times confounding piece of fiction that will make you gasp, make you cringe, and make you re-read many a paragraph so that the pure horror evoked by the novel grips you beyond reasoning. And you'll laugh. Oh you will most certainly laugh. Chris Fowler writes humor with the skill and deft precision of the Monty Python team. Combine that with the almost Greek tragedy-esqueness of the familial situations within the novel and you'll see that Fowler has hit on yet another winning formula.

Over the years, this reviewer has read all of Chris Fowlers novels featuring the exploits of Bryant & May, and has come to regard them as such unique characters within fiction, comparable only with Agatha Christie's inimitable Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. Now THAT would make for a team-up. Bryant / Marple and May / Poirot.

Not forgetting the loyal group surrounding Bryant & May. Mangeshkar, Bimsley, Banbury, Kershaw and Oswald Finch, and of course the most wonderful Janice Longbright. These characters alone would make any novel worth reading for their appearance alone.

A page turner of a novel. A masterpiece yet again from the imagination of Christopher Fowler.

Fowlers imaginative prowess is at its peak in this novel. He twists where you expect a logical turn, and warps your own understanding of the stories events at every page. In both the Leicester Square Vampire, and indeed the Highwayman, Fowler has created two extremely versatile and seriously fiendish antagonists. The revelations behind both these characters identities and seemingly impossible exploits had this reviewer trying to catch his breath as they unfolded. Magnifique!

Hesitant to say that this reviewer eagerly awaits the next novel in this series entitled `White Corridor', but eagerly looking forward to read Chris's revelation of the death of a major character in that novel. I can't wait!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg, 10 Aug 2009
By 
P. Rees "Paul Rees" (Whitstable, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) (Paperback)
This is the third Bryant & May mystery I have read, and I'm still in two minds about the series. With regard to the Ten-Second Staircase, the characterisation of the two leads was very good, their eccentricities being endearing. There was also a very good sense of place, particularly with regard to the influence London's past has on its present. And the whole set-up is so bizzare that it wins you over (the climax being well-realised). For all these reasons, this novel is well worth reading.

On the negative side, the plotting seemed rather sluggish at times, and some of the dialogue was rather stilted. There were several points where I found myself skim-reading because there seemed little actually happening. The Bryant & May series is a real curate's egg but worth persevering with as its good points outweigh the bad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Fowler novel, 16 Sep 2006
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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Ten-second Staircase is another of the Byant and May mysteries.

It is possible to read these novels individually, but I would recommend starting at the beginning so that you can fully appreciate all the characters and understand the references that run throughout the series.

If you haven't read a Christopher Fowler novel before I would recommend 'Darkest Day' or 'Full Dark House' as an introduction to Bryant and May, or 'Disturbia' if you just want a brilliant novel.

In The Ten-Second Staircase a controversial artist has been drowned in her own installation (a tank filled with formaldehyde and a number of aborted foetuses!!) The only witness to the crime is a young schoolboy who was sketching in the room at the time of the murder. He says the crime was committed by a Highwayman on a horse...

Following this a number of minor celebrities are also murdered and each time the witnesses claim to have seen a Highwayman.

Soon London is in the grip of Highwayman- fever, with the gutter press claiming that he is a hero. Will Bryant and May be able to discover the true identity of the Highwayman and stop any further killing?

This is a really typical Fowler novel. Quirky, good fun and creepy in all the right places. He also throws in a few bits of London trivia along the way (For example, I now know why Georgian railings often have pine cones adorning them)

As usual, highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb flight of forensic fiction, 27 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) (Paperback)
Actually it's far better than simple forensic fiction. The totally brilliant Bryant and May [the two detectives] don't so much strike a light in the murky world of London's darkening mysteries, as illuminate the essential qualities which make this series one of the truly great detective series. If you love London, English mysteries, seeing things from new perspectives, like English eccentrics, but above all want a cracking good read, then Ten Second Staircase is for you.

This is the third Bryant and May novel about the Peculiar Crimes Unit which I have read one after another. That shows that they are terrific thought provoking adventures, as well as first rate crime stories.

Read it, buy it, enjoy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More mysteries illuminated..., 29 Aug 2007
By 
R. Aherne (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) (Paperback)
Once again the wonderful Bryant & May continue to light up the page with a modern day twist on the Highwayman as folk hero leading to possibly the series' best denouement so far.

Add this to plot strands and sub-plots involving ancient religious orders, agoraphobic family members, feuding street gangs and the resolution of a case first mentioned in Roofworld and you'll find this very hard to put down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortality, at any cost?, 27 Oct 2006
By 
J. S. Bundy (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I am so glad that after the very disappointing Seventy Seven Clocks Christopher Fowler is back on form in no uncertain terms.

London once again provides an elegant backdrop to his latest novel. We are in the world of minor celebrity which is cleverly entwined with the capitals myths, including the 'bete noir' of the PCU, The Leicester Square Vampire. Janice Longbright once again adds glamour to the unit and May's grand daughter rescued in the previous novel joins the team.

There are few modern writers whose love of the city shines through in such a way, Christopher Fowler should be applauded for showing us London in all its guises, both good and evil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ten-Second Staircase, 22 Oct 2012
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Christopher Fowler is a fresh author to me and I'm enjoying his Bryant & May books with their quirky characters & odd mysteries. This plot was particularly ingenious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars recommended., 3 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) (Paperback)
Marvellous!! Here the intrepid B&M and the PCU find themselves faced with a murderer who appears to be dressed as a Highwayman and to top it all he seems to appear from nowhere and comit the most bizzare murders right in front of their noses. The unit are still reeling from the threat of closure and the L. Square Vampire has risen his ugly head once more. Armed with a host of historical information courtesy of Bryant's whacky friends, lots of boiled sweets and a lot of devious doings, the team set out to catch their foe. Another winner in this incredibly witty series, recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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Christopher Fowler at his best - and it filled in the gaps on a few things
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3.0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure whether I really enjoy these books, 3 July 2014
This review is from: Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) (Paperback)
I'm not sure whether I really enjoy these books. I'm going to try another to see whether that engages me
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Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4)
Ten-Second Staircase: (Bryant & May Book 4) by Christopher Fowler (Paperback - 2 July 2007)
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