- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; Book Club edition (May 29 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553804502
- ISBN-13: 978-0553804508
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.7 x 21.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
White Corridor Hardcover – May 29 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Blending humor and brilliant detection, Fowler's excellent fifth novel to feature the engaging if bizarre exploits of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit (after 2006's Ten Second Staircase) offers two challenging mysteries for his pair of eccentric sleuths, Arthur Bryant and John May. While driving to an international spiritualists' convention, Bryant and May find themselves trapped on the road near Dartmoor in a blizzard. Lurking among the stalled vehicles is a man who may be a multiple murderer. At the same time, the two try to help via cellphone their colleagues back in London, who must solve the locked-room murder of a PCU member, retiring pathologist Oswald Finch, before the unit is finally shut down for good. The fair-play solution will particularly satisfy lovers of golden age mysteries. Once again, Fowler shows himself to be a master of the impossible crime tale. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Senior-citizen sleuths Arthur Bryant and John May have never been ones to play by the rules. As the most distinguished (read oldest) members of London's peculiar Peculiar Crimes Unit, the men pride themselves on cracking cases no right-minded detectives would attempt. This fifth offering (after Ten Second Staircase, 2006) finds the two stranded in a deadly blizzard en route to a spiritualists' convention. (Detective Bryant has long been both ridiculed and admired for his obsession with the occult.) In their absence, the unit's forensic pathologist, who had been having second thoughts about his imminent retirement, is found dead in the morgue. The room was locked from the inside, and only four members of the PCU had keys. Patchy cell-phone reception can't keep Bryant and May from participating in the investigation. Meanwhile, the snow (and plot) thickens when the duo encounters a young woman and her son seeking protection from a charming French drifter. Sherlock Holmes meets Inspector Clouseau in this mordant, award-winning series in which Fowler gleefully skewers religious zealots and government officials alike. Of one of the latter he writes: "It was . . . as if Countess Bathory and Vlad the Impaler had mated to create the perfect bureaucratic hatchet man." Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Simultaneously, while he's out of the office, mayhem is occurring there. A murder has taken place involving one of the staff. And, their nemesis, Oskar Kasavian, is once again trying to shut down their Peculiar Crimes Unit by having a Princess make a royal visit to inspect the place. What will she think of Arthur's marijuana plant? His staff must solve the crime, and clean the office before the Princess' visit or face possible closure.
This is tautly paced - with allowance for some of Arthur's usual foolishness - as two crimes are simultaneously being solved. Most of the action takes place outside of London. I read this during a cold snowstorm which added to the atmosphere of the novel.
There's enough surprises to keep this series fresh and keep the reader guessing. It's a delight and an addictive series.
What is unique here is the style, the pastiche and the wit of the writing. I've never quite read anything like it. Sort of an Ian Fleming in reverse. Not sophisticated. Not urbane in the sense that the paranormal is considered to be "bunk." We've got witches running around with detectives. And they actually seem to belong together.
So with all this flair, there is hardly a dull moment. The chapters are also short, which keeps the plots running at a fast pace. One can almost read this book as theatrical entertainment.
The two mysteries conclude very surprisingly. I personally didn't come close to guessing the resolution of either. In one a coroner is found dead in a locked room. In the other an abused child, now a grown man, tries to win the questionable hand of an elusive woman. Interspersed are massive snowstorms, seedy street scenes and a crew of professionals, many of whom have self doubts as to their actual abilities.
Unlike the books of Stuart M. Kaminsky, don't expect in-depth character depiction. Though one gets a kick out of the two elderly detectives, all of the cast of characters remain just on the edge of three dimensionality. But they don't get there.
Yet for a rip roaring good time, and an easy read of a very unusual work, this is the book.