Review: White Corridor, by Christopher Fowler

White CorridorThe Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Bryant and May and all the other wonderfully quirky characters at the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

But: I didn’t get into the book until about a third of the way.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: If, like me, you have difficulty getting into the book initially, stick with it – when the plot lines take off, they really take off, and you’ll find yourself unable to put the book down.

The Full Review of White Corridor

In White Corridor, the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) faces yet another “impossible” crime, this time involving one of their own: a member of the PCU is found dead inside a locked autopsy room to which only PCU members have a key.

But detectives John May and Arthur Bryant aren’t around – these two delightful senior detectives (both in rank and in the age sense of the word) are snowbound in a van in the Dartmoor countryside, on their way to a spiritualists’ convention (all Bryant’s doing, that).

There’s also the intriguing story of a beautiful, frightened woman, her ten year old son,  and the murderer who is pursuing them.

Bryant and May find themselves guiding Sergeant Janice Longbright by cell phone, and facing a second murder by a possible serial killer who is trapped with them in the snow.

To top things off, an administrative enemy of the Unit has arranged for a royal visit designed specifically to disgrace the PCU and put an end to its funding.

These are the ingredients to what turned out to be an exciting and lively read, but for some reason, I kept losing interest during the first third of the book. Luckily, though, I kept picking up the book and reading a bit more; it was a lot like going on a walk in the suburbs, and taking your next step only to find yourself plunging off a cliff. One minute things were still rather on the bland side, and the next, I found myself completely immersed in both of the plot lines. I couldn’t put the book down after that point, and ended up reading through to the end.

Bryant and May are wonderfully quirky, much as I remembered them from the last time I followed their adventures (in The Water Room). Tension abounds: the Unit must solve the locked room murder before the royal visit, and there’s the very real possibility of more murders occurring among the stranded travelers on the snowed-in Dartmoor road. The solutions to both mysteries are enjoyably complex.

The rest of the novel more than made up for my lagging interest at the beginning of the book, and now I’m eager to get to the other two Bryant and May mysteries I currently have in my TBR pile, Full Dark House (the first book in the series) and  The Victoria Vanishes (the latest book in the series). I can’t quite put my finger on why I had such a difficult time getting into White Corridor, but I’m very glad I kept picking the book back up. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: B+: Good Read Plus ?

11 thoughts on “Review: White Corridor, by Christopher Fowler

  1. Ms. Bookish Post author

    I would have given it higher except for the slow start. I forgot to mention in the review the wonderful humour and the lovely writing style.

  2. Ms. Bookish Post author

    Jeanette, I am reading the first book in the series right now (Full Dark House) and it’s really good. And next up will be The Victoria Vanishes, I think! It’s a very good series – I love the writing and the characters.

  3. Christopher Fowler

    I’m glad my novel won you over in the end. As the fifth book in a series, it was important to me to provide enough information for both new readers and fans, while at the same time setting up a complicated double plot. I also try to keep the books much shorter – in the style of classic murder mysteries as opposed to the modern habit of padding novels out so that publishers can make more money. I hope you enjoy the others!

  4. Ms. Bookish Post author

    Christopher, the setup for subsequent novels must be challenging in a series. Your characters are among the more memorable series detectives, definitely. I have quite fallen in love with Bryant and May and am enjoying Full Dark House immensely right now.

    Beth, I think you’ll enjoy this series. The twists are lovely to read and the characters are just delightful.

  5. Pingback: TSS: Currently Reading Fowler, Springer, Carr and Greene - Ms. Bookish

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