… the continued wanderings of a newly minted librarian

Christopher Fowler – my newly discovered author

While walking past some books as I performed my library closing duties (shutting gates, looking for hiding students, etc.) I spotted an intriguing looking cover and pulled the book. It looked good (beyond the cover). It was The Victoria vanishes: a Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery by Christopher Fowler.

I like mysteries (I was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan as a child), and I like London and this book filled my need of a fun, fast read. The characters are wonderful… old time lead detectives are eccentric to say the least. They consult witches, occult persons, museum curators who know everything there is to know about the pubs around London, etc. These folks think out of the box and get results and in the process are quite entertaining. The rest of the staff of the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit) are equally odd. All are quite human in that they have interesting bordering on annoying quirks. One is a constable who has his heart in the right place, but is clumsy beyond belief and is constantly tripping and stumbling while trying to perform the basics of his job.

I enjoyed this book so much I tracked down another of Fowler’s books, The White Corridor. This was the book published just before The Victoria Vanishes. The same characters are here and the plot involves two simultaneous mysteries. One is a peculiar death in the PCU’s morgue (the death of its medical examiner no less) and another possible murder who has come from the south of France into the Dartmoor countryside. The two aged lead detectives are trapped in a snowstorm along the motorway trying to solve both.

In both of the stories, an ongoing plot is the attempt of higher government officials to shut down the PCU for good. Thus far the quirky folks at the PCU prevail, and I have enjoyed two wonderfully funny and entertaining reads.

Now I am working on Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. Eco’s work is much heavier than that of Fowler, but I am quite enjoying Foucault’s Pendulum as well. I have previously read The Name of the Rose also by Umberto Eco and quite enjoyed that.