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The Memory of Blood
A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery, No 9
Christopher Fowler

March 27, 2012 / ISBN: 0345528638
British Police Procedural [Review 1]

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

Fowler's ninth mystery involves a new theatre and a complicated cast of characters. The owners - and his trophy wife - are celebrating their current play, The Two Murderers. During the party, their son is murdered and all that's found in the locked room is a crib and a life size Punch puppet (Punch & Judy). Even weirder -- they do an autopsy-of sorts on Punch. Senior detectives (in more ways than one) Arthur Bryant and John May work together but with opposite theories.

The two follow a peculiar path set up by the killer, who leaves a PCU business card at the second murder. And with nary a break in the case, Bryant decides to throw a party…. Entwined in the current case are the ongoing threads of Bryant and his memoirs and pressure to close the unit. Fair warning: although the mystery is light in violence it has the occasional "macabre" moment.

The Memory of Blood is my introduction to the Peculiar Crimes Unit. I know, skipping through a series is not wise, but I was in desperate need of a "comfort read" and that's what a British mystery is to me. To say the book cover blurb looked promising is an understatement. After reading the "Undated Wikileaks document: A Guide to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, It's Staff and Aims" and the first chapter, I was in comfort heaven. The writing, the sly humor, the characters and the purpose of the Peculiar Unit all took me by surprise. It felt like I was back on my couch watching BBC America's long forgotten Monday Night Mysteries again. I did not want it to end. And even better I found the first eight in the series at a good price - a smorgasbord of comfort reads. I have to say this is an entertaining series with unique main characters. Bryant and May are seasoned, hard-to-forget characters. PCU is a crime unit you'll look forward to visiting again and again. Highly Recommended.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Full Dark House #1
The Water Room #2
The Memory of Blood # 9 [review1] [review 2] [review 3]
Invisible Code #10 [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewer's Note: Christopher Fowler was nominated by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the Dilys Winn Award, given to the book that booksellers most enjoyed selling. The Victoria Vanishes was also nominated for best novel by British Fantasy Society and won Crimefest's Last Laugh award for funniest mystery novel.

Reviewed 2012