Bryant and his partner, John May, are an unusual pair. They are in their eighties and have been solving London's oddest crimes for years. They are an anachronism, solving cases the old fashioned way (with Sherlock Holmes-like detection) rather than with modern technology. The Home Office has been trying to close their unit for years.
While walking home from a gathering, Bryant sees what turns out to be one of the victims leaving a pub, The Victoria Cross. When they later go back to investigate, there is no pub there. The property in question is now a grocery, the Victoria Cross has not existed for eighty years. This does not bode well for Bryant's employment status, the Home Office will definitely use his apparent hallucination as a reason to disband the unit. The case must be solved satisfactorily to preserve the PCU.
The entire team at the PCU is quirky and interesting. They work together well despite their totally divergent personalities. There is a creative mystery that has a satisfying resolution.
Embedded in the narrative is a lovely homage to the classic old London pubs, which are fast disappearing due to high property values and development schemes.
"The pubs of London are taken almost completely for granted by those who drink in them. Every single one has a unique and extraordinary history...these places hold the key to our past, and therefore present. They're and unappreciated indication of who we are, and a sign of all we've lost and remember fondly."This is the sixth, and I think final, entry into the Bryant & May mystery series. I'll be going back to read the first five, this last one peaked my interest. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the adventures of these unusual detectives.
My thanks to the Library Thing Early Reviewers program for sending me this book!
The Victoria Vanishes is published by Bantam Dell. ISBN 978-0-553-80502-4
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