The Victoria Vanishes: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
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It’s a case tailor-made for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. A lonely hearts killer is targeting middle-aged women at some of England’s most well-known pubs—including one torn down eighty years ago. What’s more, Arthur Bryant happened to see one of the victims only moments before her death at the pub that doesn’t exist. Indeed, this case is littered with clues that defy everything the veteran detectives know about the habits of serial killers, the methodology of crime, and the odds of making an arrest. Now, with the public on the verge of panic and their superiors determined to shut the PCU down for good, Detectives Bryant and May must rise to the occasion in defense of two great English traditions—the pub and the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
That’s easier said than done. A lost funeral urn, the eighteenth-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, the Knights Templars, the secret history of pubs, and the discovery of an astounding religious relic may be enough to convince one of the pair to take back his resignation letter. But with Bryant consulting a memory specialist and May encountering a brush with mortality, do the Peculiar Crimes Unit’s two living legends have enough life left to stop a murderous conspiracy…and a deadly cupid targeting one of their own.
went in as autophobics—afraid of being alone—and came out as claustrophobics. Why did you ask about Mrs Curtis, do you know her?’ ‘No. I’m helping to investigate her murder.’ ‘My God, I had no idea.’ ‘She was in a pub.’ ‘Not this one?’ ‘The Seven Stars in Carey Street, just down the road from here. She probably went there to meet a friend.’ ‘And you think it might have been someone she met here?’ ‘It’s a long shot.’ April had already told him more than she’d intended to. ‘Maybe not so
getting people out of bed. Nobody goes home tonight.’ A collective groan rose in the room. The staff clambered from their perches and started to disperse. ‘It still doesn’t feel right,’ said Bryant, shaking his head as the office emptied.‘We’re looking at the victims instead of the victimiser.’ ‘You’re trying too hard, Arthur,’ said May.‘You always do.’ ‘No, this time my gut instinct is valid. I think—’ He rolled his eyes to the ceiling, as if searching for ideas in the dusty cornicing.‘I
OIL DO NOT AGREE WITH CRIPPEN, AS THE PERSON WHO STACKED THEIR OUTGOING MAIL NEAR HIS LITTER TRAY WILL DISCOVER TO THEIR DISADVANTAGE. 1 Asleep in the Stars She had four and a half minutes left to live. She sat alone at the cramped bar of the Seven Stars and stared forlornly into her third empty glass of the evening, feeling invisible. The four-hundred-year-old public house was tucked behind the Royal Courts of Justice. It had been simply furnished with a few small tables, wooden booths
the vial’s contents were mistaken for something made of wood.’ ‘The blood of Christ. You really think that’s what it is?’ ‘There’s only one man who might hold the answer, and now I don’t suppose I’ll be able to get anywhere near him,’ replied Bryant. ‘What if the flaw is so tiny that the vial’s contents are only oxidised on its surface?’ May found himself sweating despite the chill in the museum. ‘My God, I see what you mean. It’s an analysis sample. We’d be able to conduct the ultimate
328 Gray’s Inn Road WC1 The Queen’s Head & Artichoke 30-32 Albany Street NW1 The Cross Keys 31 Endell Street WC2 The Bloomsbury Tavern 236 Shaftesbury Avenue WC2 The Exmouth Arms 23 Exmouth Market EC1 The Clock House 82 Leather Lane EC1 The Magpie & Stump 18 Old Bailey EC4 The White Lion 24 James Street WC2 The Hope & Anchor 74 Crowndale Road NW1 The Hope 94 Cowcross Street EC1 The great traditional pubs of London are disappearing as rapacious property developers move in. Some on the