The Water Room
Originally built to house the workers of Victorian London, Balaklava Street is now an oasis in the heart of Kentish Town and ripe for gentrification. But then the body of an elderly woman is found at Number 5. Her death would appear to have been peaceful but for the fact that her throat is full of river water. It falls to the Met's Peculiar Crimes Unit, led by London's longest-serving detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, to search for something resembling a logical solution.
Reviewed on 21st September 2014
It's been almost two years since I read the first Bryant and May novel, and it was with some trepidation that I picked up book two, with the first having mostly slipped from my memory and not being recalled as one I'd absolutely loved. The second book follows the peculiar crime sunlit in the modern day as it investigates some unusual deaths and a man who won't tell his wife what he's up to.
I didn't find the book particularly easy to read, and I'm not sure I can put my finger exactly on why. It's long and the narrative feels stodgy, like wading through treacle. Ultimately I think it's because I don't find the characters particularly engaging - they have foibles, but they don't leap off the page as characters whose heads I can get into.
The plot sounds interesting, but ultimately I find it disappointing that nothing more interesting comes of it - I'd thought that peculiar crimes was going to have a slightly more fantastical bent to it, but really the series seems to be about finding run of the mill criminal explanations for events that seem supernatural, and I'm not sure that's as much fun in fiction.
Overall I'm still not quite sold on this series - I've already got book three, so I expect I will read it at some point, but it may not be for another couple of years.