Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review - The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler

Genre: English Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Dell
ISBN: 978-1-60285-378-2

A serial killer is preying on middle-aged women at some of England's best known pubs. When the killer starts leaving clues at the crime scenes, Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, start to take this killer personally. Another thing is the unique way he kills his victims. All in a crowded pub and all seem to have a pin prick on their body, first the victim goes numb and then they slumber off to death. A gentle but cunning serial killer and nobody really takes notice of him, as he moves in and out of pubs leaving well placed clues. It takes Arthur Bryant's reconigtion of one victim and remebering that he saw her moments before her murder at a pub that no longer exsists and has been closed for more than eighty years and torn down before everyone realizes just how peculiar these murders really are.
Making matters worse each woman murdered is not what she seems to be and has a lot to hide. The PCU has their own problems because their high up poltical bosses wants to close the unit down. We find that May and Bryant are battling their own personal hell as one who is losing his memory and the other one has mortality issues that are very much pending. Both men are legends in the PCU John May believes in old fashioned police work and he doesn't leave anyone out of an investigation as he dogs his suspects. Arthur Bryant doesn't believe in rules and really doesn't care about politics he wants to know why a serial killer wants to be caught and why the number seven keeps cropping up at every turn.
The whole units back is against the wall they are running out of time and if they don't come up with some answers they may soon find themselves ousted all in the name of progress.
the VICTORIA VANISHES is a mystery so engrossing that I felt like a spell had been cast over me. I couldn't read fast enough and I certainly felt compelled to know what would happen next. I care about May and Bryant, and the PCU more than any mystery I've read in the past two years the characters, setting and plot leaped off the page and into my heart as it did flip flops to a conclusion I NEVER suspected would play out the way it did, pure genius is what the VICTORIA VANISHES portrays.
Christopher Fowler has kicked all modern, traditional mystery authors out of the way and cleared his own path with the most well written, excellent plotted, and time honored mystery of the decade to date. He has written a sure-to-be classic english mystery that has more atmosphere than any London Street, he has mastered the genre and earned his niche in the ranks of the Masters Of Mystery.
Pamela James ( I ususally only give ten stars as my high ranking but this one gets twenty), yes he's that good.

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