Excellent, well written mystery,
This review is from: Bryant & May and the Invisible Code: (Bryant & May Book 10) (Paperback)
THE INVISIBLE CODE is the first book I've read by author Christopher Fowler, and I thoroughly enjoyed his excellent writing and story telling accompanied with a nice sense of humor. Since I'm new to the Peculiar Crimes Unit series featuring detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, I found the staff roster at the beginning of the book especially helpful because it listed the nine people working in the unit and made it easier for me to know these characters and keep track of them when they appeared in the story. The very humorous memo from unit head Raymond Land at the beginning also nicely set the tone for what follows and makes the reader feel at home with the characters and the setting.
Fowler skillfully weaves many elements through surprising twists and turns in his narrative. He writes in the style of traditional British mystery authors, yet his stories and characters are unique. Here are some of the main threads Bryant and May follow as the case unfolds:
The story begins with two children playing a witch hunt game outside Saint Bride's church in London. Looking for an evil witch, they select an unknown stranger quietly reading outside at lunchtime, 28 year old Amy O'Connor. She soon goes into the church and is found dead from unknown causes only a few minutes after walking in, and surveillance cameras show that no one came near her while she was there. Bryant and May are interested in taking this case but it is not in their jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Home Office security supervisor Oskar Kasavian secretly hires Bryant and May to investigate the causes for his wife's strange behavior over the past six weeks. She behaved strangely and appeared delusional, insisting that she was being followed and harassed by an 'evil presence'. Bryant and May agree to take the case and Kasavian also gets the Amy O'Connor case assigned to the PCU because the events may be related. Kasavian is a prominent official concerned about his wife; he wants to avoid scandal yet also find out if there is any substance to her claims, though he does note that her family has a history of mental illness. Her erratic behavior continues and she is eventually placed in a private psychiatric clinic for observation and still insists that she is being followed and is in danger.
A media photographer who frequently photographed Kasavian's wife is found brutally murdered in a public park. On the day of his death he visited Saint Bride's church and surveillance cameras picked up a young girl with him at the time he was murdered. This made the detectives wonder if his actions were somehow linked to the Amy O'Connor case discussed above.
At a deeper and often unspoken level, this is also a story of friendship between the two elderly detectives. Their personality traits complement each other and they've helped each other in a friendship that has endured for over fifty years. The author gives us much humor and quirkiness in his portrayal of these two main characters.
This is book 10 in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series, and I enjoyed it so much that I will definitely get the other Kindle books as well. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good and unusual mysteries.