It’s a multi-tasking “Bryant & May” duo – and thanks to The Independent for enlightening me!
I was seriously looking up something else when that link appeared. It was simply too inflammatory to ignore.
The article was written by the author of the series, Christopher Fowler. I may not have been aware of, let alone read the novels featuring the detective duo “Bryant & May”, but I found the article itself of great interest. It’s inspiring to start with…
First, Fowler engages us with a lead into how childhood reading can influence adult imagination, as seen through his eyes. Then, he analyses the current state of affairs in contemporary crime fiction protagonists and focuses on what makes a character “original” reading. Finally, he explores the inspiration and building thought that led him to create “Bryant & May”, his fictional duo.
And boy, do they sound different to anything that’s come before!
Snippets of light, from the article:
“So how does a writer create a memorable detective these days? I started out with a matchbox that read ‘Bryant & May – England’s Glory’. The label gave me their names, their nationality, and something altogether more vague and appealing, the sense of a national institution with roots in London’s sooty, dimly-lit past…”
“I decided that London would be the third character; not the tourist city of guidebooks but the peculiar London of invisible societies, hidden parks and drunken theatricals, the people and places I show to friends when they visit. Everyone remembers Soho’s Coach & Horses for its rude landlord Norman Balon, but fewer realise that it’s the drinking hole of the Prince Edward’s scenery shifters.”
“By making Bryant & May elderly, I could make them simultaneously behave like experienced adults and immature children. Bryant, I knew, came from Whitechapel, was tortoise-like, scarf-wrapped, esoteric, eccentric, bad-tempered and myopic. He would wear a hearing aid and false teeth, and use a walking stick. John May was born in Vauxhall, was taller, fitter, more charming, friendlier.”
“I stuck by my character outlines, even though a radio interviewer told me I should have made everyone younger, which would allow for more sex and violence – the very thing I did not wish to do. It wasn’t a matter of prudery; rather the fact that a sexual bout or a fist fight is too lazy an exit from an awkward scene.”
The article concludes with the following: “To order a copy of Christopher Fowler’s fourth Bryant & May mystery, ‘Ten Second Staircase’…”
The fourth? How on earth did I manage to miss this?
But for now, I have managed to locate the author’s website. (To navigate, click on the big words in the box in the upper right hand corner – then you’ll waste less time than me, unless you’re a website “pro”!)
It seems Fowler has quite a few books beneath his belt. He says that “Bryant & May” is a series of six novels.