Such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for the 15th (!!) book in the Bryant & May series, titled Hall of Mirrors by author Christopher Fowler. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity. I was unfortunately unable to find a gap in my schedule to read this one but I do have a fun extract to share with you all.
Author : Christopher Fowler
Title : Bryant & May : Hall of Mirrors
Series : Bryant & May #15
Pages : 400
Publisher : Transworld
Publication date : March 22, 2018
The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder. . .
The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf. The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end.
The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…
So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!
A few minutes later, John May knocked on the bedroom door.
Arthur Bryant opened the door and took a step back. ‘My word, you scrub up well. I would never have recognised you.’
May was wearing a double-breasted evening jacket with black silk lapels and a black bow-tie, his hair thickened and combed with a fringe. ‘One has to make an effort,’ he said. ‘I see you didn’t.’
Bryant’s clothes looked as if they had been tossed onto him from a distance. Nothing fitted properly. His pinstriped blazer and grey Oxford bags had possibly last seen duty in a touring production of Salad Days, or at the Windmill Theatre, where he might have passed as a low comic between nude tableaux. A pair of wide striped braces had pulled his trousers halfway up his chest, and a partially unravelled polka-dotted bowtie had become marooned around the side of his neck.
‘I can’t get this blooming thing to stay done up.’
‘Come here.’ May tackled the bow. ‘Right over left, left over right, fold it back and pull it tight. There. My dad was in an orchestra. I used to have to tie his bow-tie for him every night. Let’s go downstairs and see what we’re up against.’
They started to walk. May raised his hand and stopped Bryant. ‘What is that?’
‘That clicking noise.’
‘I don’t hear anything.’ Bryant continued on.
May halted him and looked down. ‘It sounds like you’re wearing tap shoes.’
Bryant stopped and raised one foot. ‘I am,’ he said apologetically.
‘They’re not going to be much good if we need to creep about this place in silence. We’re undercover, remember?’
‘Sorry, they came from the actors’ wardrobe bag.’
‘Tap shoes on a stakeout,’ said May. ‘Incredible.’ He headed toward the stairs. ‘From now on we can’t let afford to our witness out of our sight.’
Tap shoes! 😂
I don’t know about you but that sure whet my appetite! I may just have found another series to get caught up with. Hopefully, this takes your fancy as well and you’ll follow one of the links below to grab yourself a copy!
Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.
He lives in King’s Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide inspiration.