This is a collection of short stories only it's not. It's more than that, it's more like an "annual".
It contains an introduction by the author, an illustration of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, a list and brief back story of each of the characters, a list of all the cases so far and a list of the books in Bryant's library as well as 11 short stories. To follow this up with another "annual" could be a tough call.
The stories place, unashamedly, the PCU across different eras and show Bryant and May in crime scene scenarios that try to emulate the kind of mysteries of some famous crime writers of the past.
There is a "country house" mystery where Bryant leaves his own "patch" in London and we see him take a holiday to southern Turkey - on a yacht! There is a "closed room" mystery that is set outside in the open air. And there is one set in 1952 - and B&M are set as still their current age (after all they are Fowler's characters to do with how he pleases) - where Fowler uses the smogs of the time to good effect.
Each one is very different to the last and extremely entertaining. The book feels like Christopher Fowler has indulged himself and produced something that he wants to do rather than something that he needs to do, consequently this book is a real treat for B&M fans but it is also an extremely good introduction to B&M, and their eccentricities, for new readers who aren't quite sure yet.
The Guardian says "unbeatable fun" and they are most certainly right on this one.
Publisher - DoubledayGenre - adult fiction, crime mystery