Building Vocabulary with Bryant and May

I am finally getting back to reading – and writing about it! – after a couple weeks of big schedule stuff! i just finished my second Bryant and May book by Christopher Fowler: The Water Room. These are wonderful books about London, so if you love London (I do) these are for you! The first one is Full Dark House, and it introduces us to John May and Arthur Bryant (who is maybe dead…) and the Peculiar Crimes Unit, a specialty force of the Metropolitan Police. One quickly learns just how “specialty” they are, and the delightful quirks of these two elderly detectives keeps you turning the pages. (And you want to know if Bryant is dead!) The Water Room explores the hidden depths (literally) of London’s ancient rivers that run under the city. The Fleet is the most notable, having sluiced its way through London’s underground for centuries. The Water Room explores not only London’s underground river system, but also Victorian art history and the ongoing tension between Christian and pre-Christian religion.

I titled this “Building Vocabulary with Bryant and May” because in these books I am continually looking up words! Fowler’s vocabulary is huge, and he also uses words in new and interesting ways. He’s a good, if complex, writer, and his plots have the same layers of complexity. He also drops in the occasional Latin phrase without translation, so that also sends me to the dictionary. This is where the blessings of Kindle or other e-readers comes in handy so you can just highlight the word and get the definition. Fowler also has some really good thoughts, like When you’re old, you can afford to take risks. … It just seems perverse to become more safety-conscious just when you have less to lose, and I think we’ve lessened the aura of sanctimonious monotheism, but we can’t get rid of the damp. And then there’s the lovely Do you remember before you had to be grownup every second of the day, John? How it always felt like morning? Do read Bryant and May and develop your vocabulary and your perspective on life. Here they are in order:

Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1)
The Water Room (Bryant & May, #2)
Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, #3)
Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, #4)
White Corridor (Bryant & May, #5)
The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, #6)
On the Loose (Bryant & May, #7)
Off the Rails (Bryant & May, #8)
Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood (Bryant & May, #9)
The Invisible Code (Bryant & May #10)
The Casebook of Bryant & May (Bryant & May, #10.5)
Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May, #11)
Bryant & May and the Secret Santa (Bryant & May, #11.5)
Bryant & May and the Burning Man (Bryant & May, #12)
London’s Glory (Bryant & May, #12.5)
Strange Tide (Bryant & May, #13)

Full Dark House


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