The Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London Police tackles the odd crime, solving them, much to the dismay of the Home Office and other branches. Pretty much a self-contained unit, the leading characters include Arthur Bryant, an intuitive detective and a relatively old throwback to former times, pretty much untouched by modern technology, and his partner, John May, staid and logical. They all, however, act as a team.
This latest episode (it is the tenth in the series) begins when a young woman is followed by two young children playing a game, trying to identify a “witch,” and annoying her. So she leaves a park bench where she was eating her lunch and enters a church where she suddenly keels over and dies. Bryant wants to pursue the case but the chief of security at the Home office looking to eliminate the Unit forbids it. Then the chief’s wife starts acting oddly, and the chief asks Bryant and May to quietly investigate the reasons for her behavior. And one thing leads to another.
The novel is a British mystery with many a twist. To begin with, Bryant is as conversant with the occult as he is with investigative techniques. The plot is really unlike anything else this reviewer has read, combining the elements of a traditional murder mystery with, essentially, witchcraft and the supernatural. The characters are well portrayed. And the twists and turns keep the reader interested right up to the final pages.