Friday, October 25, 2013

The Water Room: Review

The Water Room by Christopher Fowler is the second book in his Peculiar Crimes Unit series.  It stars John May and Arthur Bryant, the octogenarian leaders of a unit of detectives who handle all the cases that the regular detective forces won't touch or can't solve.  This one begins with a simple question: How can an elderly woman drown, fully dressed to go out, in her otherwise dry basement?  Their search will lead them through a maze of shady real estate men, racist threats, shy academic types with something underhand on the side, lectures on the city's undergound river system, and some lessons in Egyptian mythology.  There's a killer on the loose who leaves no clues and who is ruthless in a hunt for a valuable art treasure.  Bryant and May are out to locate the treasure and capture the criminal before anyone else has to die. 

The use of "water" in the title of this one is very a way.  Because this story is, quite frankly (in my opinion), duller than ditch water.  There are long explanatory, historical bits about the underground rivers.  There are repeated episodes with one of the characters hearing rushing water in her house, fighting off spiders, and thinking that someone is entering her house when she's not there.  There's a long time between the first murder (that no one except Bryant and May considers a murder for quite a while) and the next.  There's a lot of talk and not a whole lot of action.  The mystery could be a quite interesting one....if the story would just move along....

I read the first of this series quite a while ago (pre-blogging days) and all I can tell you about it is that I enjoyed it enough to snatch up a couple of the books when I got a chance.  But I honestly don't think I'll be reading any more.  This one just didn't do it for me.  One star.

1 comment:

Keen Reader said...

I tried one of these too and had the same reaction.