The Invisible Code (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #10) by Christopher Fowler | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Invisible Code (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #10)

The Invisible Code (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #10)

3.9 15
by Christopher Fowler
     
 

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London’s craftiest and boldest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back in this deviously twisting mystery of black magic, madness, and secrets hidden in plain sight.
 
When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes

Overview

London’s craftiest and boldest detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are back in this deviously twisting mystery of black magic, madness, and secrets hidden in plain sight.
 
When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church—alone and showing no apparent signs of trauma—Arthur Bryant assumes this  case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an eccentric team tasked with solving London’s most puzzling murders. Yet the city police take over the investigation, and the PCU is given an even more baffling and bewitching assignment.
 
Called into headquarters by Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office security, Bryant and May are shocked to hear that their longtime adversary now desperately needs their help. Oskar’s wife, Sabira, has been acting strangely for weeks—succumbing to violent mood swings, claiming an evil presence is bringing her harm—and Oskar wants the PCU to find out why. And if there’s any duo that can deduce the method behind her madness, it’s the indomitable Bryant and May.
 
When a second bizarre death reveals a surprising link between the two women’s cases, Bryant and May set off on a trail of clues from the notorious Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park. And as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, concealed rooms and high-society clubs, they must work quickly to catch a killer who lurks even closer than they think.
 
Witty, suspenseful, and ingeniously plotted, The Invisible Code is Christopher Fowler at the very top of his form.

Praise for The Invisible Code
 
“Delightful . . . priceless dialogue . . . Fowler’s small but ardent American following deserves to get much larger. . . . The Invisible Code has immense charm. . . . Fowler creates a fine blend of vivid descriptions, . . . quick thinking and artful understatement. . . . Best of all are the two main characters, particularly Bryant, whose fine British stodginess is matched perfectly by the agility of his crime-solving mind.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
“Excellent . . . In the light of the challenges that Fowler has given his heroes in prior books, it’s particularly impressive that he manages to surpass himself once again.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
Praise for the ingenious novels featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit
 
“Witty, charming, intelligent, wonderfully atmospheric and enthusiastically plotted.”The Times (UK)
 
“A series of narratives that exert an Ancient Mariner–like grip on the reader . . . Christopher Fowler is something of a British national treasure.”Crime Time
 
“Quirky, ingenious and quite brilliant . . . If you haven’t indulged you are really missing out. . . . Wonderful, gently humorous stuff, so clever.”The Bookseller
 
“A brilliant series of impossible crime novels.”The Denver Post
 
Grumpy Old Men does CSI with a twist of Dickens! Bryant and May are hilarious. I love this series.”—Karen Marie Moning
 
“An example of what Christopher Fowler does so well, which is to merge the old values with the new values—reassuring, solid, English, and traditional. He’s giving us two for the price of one here.”—Lee Child

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…[Fowler's] strengths are humor and Holmesian cogitation…The Invisible Code has immense charm, but its plotting will satisfy serious mystery fans, too…Mr. Fowler creates a fine blend of vivid descriptions…quick thinking and artful understatement.
Publishers Weekly
★ 10/07/2013
London’s perpetually-in-jeopardy Peculiar Crimes Unit gets a reprieve in Fowler’s excellent 10th mystery featuring senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May (after 2012’s The Memory of Blood). Oskar Kasavian, the Home Office security supervisor who oversees the PCU, hires Bryant and May unofficially to deal with a personal problem. His much-younger wife, Sabira, has begun acting strangely, and with Kasavian due to take the helm of a major European antiterror initiative, it’s vital that any scandal be avoided. When Sabira insists that devils are out to get her, the two sleuths take her fears seriously. They look into a possible tie to the death of Amy O’Connor, who dropped dead in a church from unknown causes shortly after two children identified her as a witch and plotted to kill her. In the light of the challenges that Fowler has given his heroes in prior books, it’s particularly impressive that he manages to surpass himself once again. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Invisible Code
 
“Delightful . . . priceless dialogue . . . Fowler’s small but ardent American following deserves to get much larger. . . . The Invisible Code has immense charm. . . . Fowler creates a fine blend of vivid descriptions, . . . quick thinking and artful understatement. . . . Best of all are the two main characters, particularly Bryant, whose fine British stodginess is matched perfectly by the agility of his crime-solving mind.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
“Excellent . . . In the light of the challenges that Fowler has given his heroes in prior books, it’s particularly impressive that he manages to surpass himself once again.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
Praise for the ingenious novels featuring the Peculiar Crimes Unit
 
“Witty, charming, intelligent, wonderfully atmospheric and enthusiastically plotted.”The Times (UK)
 
“A series of narratives that exert an Ancient Mariner–like grip on the reader . . . Christopher Fowler is something of a British national treasure.”Crime Time
 
“Quirky, ingenious and quite brilliant . . . If you haven’t indulged you are really missing out. . . . Wonderful, gently humorous stuff, so clever.”The Bookseller
 
“A brilliant series of impossible crime novels.”The Denver Post
 
Grumpy Old Men does CSI with a twist of Dickens! Bryant and May are hilarious. I love this series.”—Karen Marie Moning
 
“An example of what Christopher Fowler does so well, which is to merge the old values with the new values—reassuring, solid, English, and traditional. He’s giving us two for the price of one here.”—Lee Child
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-08
Two cases, from different but equally unexpected quarters, emerge for the staff of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit. Beloved of fans but reviled by the Home Office, the PCU is being systematically starved for cases by Oskar Kasavian, the security supervisor hoping to diminish its capacity to bring scandal on her majesty's government. So naturally, Arthur Bryant, the irascible polymath who's one of the team's senior members, goes out hunting for cases on his own. He's fascinated by the death of Amy O'Connor, a part-time bar manager who was found in St. Bride's Church after suffering a fatal heart attack with no apparent cause. This is the sort of thing we should be investigating, he tells his more sedate counterpart John May. Before they can establish their authority to intervene in a case that's officially none of their business, another mystery arrives courtesy of none other than Oskar Kasavian, whose much younger Albanian wife, Sabira, is convinced she's being hounded by evil spirits. Promised the moon (honors and titles, long-range security, freedom from ritual attempts to shut them down or zero out their budget) if they can figure out what's tormenting Sabira, the PCU team sets to work. But Sabira's behavior becomes increasingly erratic--she keeps insulting the well-bred wives of her husband's Home Office colleagues in distressingly public settings--till she finally turns up dead in Sir John Soanes' House, the legendary London museum, beneath one of the paintings in William Hogarth's series The Rake's Progress without a mark on her to indicate how she died. What can her death possibly have to do with Amy O'Connor's? Mr. Bryant and a covey of diverse experts expatiate informatively on witchcraft, code-breaking and national defense. But there's less warmth or humor or real mystery than in The Memory of Blood (2012) and other recent PCU outings.
Library Journal
11/15/2013
In this latest volume of the adventures of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit (after The Memory of Blood), Detectives Bryant and May, who have been with the unit since its founding during the Second World War, are looking for a new case to work on. The unexplained death of a young woman in one of the city's many churches holds promise, but the elderly sleuths are summoned to the office of their unit's unsympathetic overseer. He is concerned about his younger immigrant wife. She is having "episodes," raving about witches and conspiracies, and drinking too much in public, none of which is to the benefit of a husband in the highest ranks of the civil service. The two sleuths cautiously investigate, expecting a trap, as they know their unit has made many enemies over the years. May begins interviewing suspects and collecting evidence while his partner uses a more holistic approach, visiting some of his more esoteric friends: amateur historians and a white witch among them. VERDICT Fowler continues his series of thoughtful and rollicking mysteries, providing twists and turns and much information about the offbeat history of one of the world's greatest cities. Newcomers to the series may struggle to catch up with the relationships among the characters, but longtime fans will be thrilled and satisfied by this latest offering.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345528650
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/17/2013
Series:
Peculiar Crimes Unit Series, #10
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Fowler is the acclaimed author of the award-winning Full Dark House and eight other Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries: The Water Room, Seventy-Seven Clocks, Ten Second Staircase, White Corridor, The Victoria Vanishes, Bryant & May on the Loose, Bryant & May off the Rails, and The Memory of Blood. He lives in London, where he is at work on his next Peculiar Crimes Unit novel.

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The Invisible Code (Peculiar Crimes Unit Series #10) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London Police tackles the odd crime, solving them, much to the dismay of the Home Office and other branches. Pretty much a self-contained unit, the leading characters include Arthur Bryant, an intuitive detective and a relatively old throwback to former times, pretty much untouched by modern technology, and his partner, John May, staid and logical. They all, however, act as a team. This latest episode (it is the tenth in the series) begins when a young woman is followed by two young children playing a game, trying to identify a “witch,” and annoying her. So she leaves a park bench where she was eating her lunch and enters a church where she suddenly keels over and dies. Bryant wants to pursue the case but the chief of security at the Home office looking to eliminate the Unit forbids it. Then the chief’s wife starts acting oddly, and the chief asks Bryant and May to quietly investigate the reasons for her behavior. And one thing leads to another. The novel is a British mystery with many a twist. To begin with, Bryant is as conversant with the occult as he is with investigative techniques. The plot is really unlike anything else this reviewer has read, combining the elements of a traditional murder mystery with, essentially, witchcraft and the supernatural. The characters are well portrayed. And the twists and turns keep the reader interested right up to the final pages. Recommended.
JaneiteTX More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading (yes, I am wasting my hours reading when there are perfectly good messes to clean) The Invisible Code. The Bryant and May mysteries are completely indescribable, impossible to fit into any particular genre. Let me just say that if you might enjoy books about two geriatric detectives running a police unit staffed by a group of people who are odd even for police officers (their office cat is named Crippen), who always find some supernatural element in their cases, and about whom the real protagonist is the city of London itself---well, then, I highly recommend Bryant and May. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ordered this book because it sounded like a different type of a mystery story.....and it was! Enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading more of the Peculiar Crimes Unit stories!
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
From the syntax, to the humor, and the subject matter, this is thoroughly British, not one of the washed out versions we are used to seeing portrayed by American television or books. Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May work for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. They get involved in cases that are, how shall we say, out of the ordinary. This is rather fitting for Detective Bryant, as he is a bit out of the ordinary himself. Unlike his partner May, Bryant is older, pushing the boundaries of retirement. He is subject to memory lapses and gastric eruptions. His thought processes are a mystery to most of his colleagues, but his successes in solving the strangest cases are legendary. He will need all of this as his long time nemesis, Oskar Kasavian, head of Home Office Security, has called him in on a private investigation. Kasavian's trophy wife, Sabira, is having manic episodes, lashing out at the wives of her husband's colleagues. She believes she is being stocked and that her life is in danger. . Detective Bryant is astounded that Kasavian would even consider asking the Peculiar Crimes Unit to help him, but Kasavian's job as head of Home Office Security is in the balance. Bryant also suspects there may be a connection with the mysterious death of a young woman in a local church. There are no clues to the cause of her death, but the woman was acting strangely just prior to collapsing in the church, a perfect case for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Are the two cases connected? Detective Bryant is sure to find out. The book is good fun with some winning characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, this is book number 10, and you can kind of follow it, but... Perhaps if I had read more of the series this would be better. It was an interesting story, but I didn't know the characters. There is too much interaction and backstory that you need to know to fully appreciate this story. That said, I did laugh out loud a few times.
nenris More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Fun story good mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is #10 in a humorous, yet intriguing series. Look forward to each new book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I think Bryant is more fleshed out, that could be just the way May's character is less idiosyncratic. I am glad to know more of them through each book. However the main character in every Braynt and May mystery is that most mysterious London. This particular outing is less "out there" then the others, but is enjoyable to read. It is not one of my favorites, but it continues a story thread that is of vast impotance to the welfare of the PCU; it is as ever at the brink of extinction. Will they still have the work Bryant needs to stay alive, or will retirement end his/their scolarly, violent, and action packed fairytale existance?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you've read any of the previous Bryant & May adventures of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, you already know that you're in for interesting plotting and characters (albeit quirky) and interesting London history. If you haven't read any of the others, then do not pass "Go", do not collect $200, just immediately buy "Full Dark House" and get started. If you don't read them in order, I think you'll miss too much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not greatest read but I struggled through to finish.
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beedyr More than 1 year ago
Haven't read, yet