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The Water Room

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Water Room (2004) Christopher Fowler

The second Peculiar Crimes Unit finds everyone at loose ends until the Met assigns them new cases, as they set up their new offices. Afraid that they’ll lose the few people they have if they aren’t kept busy, Bryant and May give them errands based upon requests friends and acquaintances have made: An old woman found fully dressed in her apartment–and drowned, and a local expert on the underground rivers who may be getting into some illegal business.

While Bryant remains Bryant.

The patented helpless look suggested innocence but didn’t wash with Longbright, who was familiar with her boss’s ability to cause malfunctions in the simplest equipment. Bryant was no longer allowed to touch the computers owing to the odd demagnetizing effect he had on delicate technology. His application to attend an IT course had been turned down six times by those who feared he would cause a national meltdown if let loose near PITO, the Police Information Technology Organization.

I tried calling you when I got out, but your mobile wasn’t answering.’ ‘No, it wouldn’t. It got wet, so I tried to dry it out in Janice’s sandwich toaster. The toaster and the phone sort of—melded—into a single appliance, scientifically interesting as a new mechanical life-form but utterly useless for communication.

I found the idea of a woman drowning on dry land quite fascinating. Especially since she didn’t drown in bath water.

‘It’s Thames water, all right, but extremely stagnated.’

‘Does it taste bad?’

‘Really,’ Finch complained, ‘how would he know a thing like that?’

‘Oh, absolutely vile,’ said Kershaw, happy to answer the question. He turned to Finch. ‘Naturally I did a taste test to see if she could possibly have ingested it by mistake, but I think it’s highly unlikely.’

the Fleet should really correspond to Phlegethon, the river of fire—but perhaps it would be better associated with the Styx. Acheron, the river of woe, would fit the Tyburn, which led to a place of death, the gallows of Tyburn Tree.

Of course, all that immediately brought to mind the Rivers of London series, which I adore.

I too am fascinated by the ideas of the lost rivers of London–rivers pushed underground so the city could be built on top of them.

Interesting words:
Fortean
vulpine
plummy
Quisling
crepitation
Primus stove
fulgent
Weil’s disease
ginnel
hod
trilby
copping off
bodger

Plus: John Snow! Borad Street Pump!

The cholera epidemic killed two thousand Londoners a week until Dr John Snow discovered it was spread in water, and closed the infected pump in Golden Square.

Also: One of my theories of living:

What’s the point of having a home where you don’t use every inch of space? You’re simply depriving others of room to live.

‘You know we could get into serious trouble,’ whispered May.

‘When you’re old, you can afford to take risks,’ Bryant whispered back. ‘It seems perverse to become more safety-conscious just when you have less to lose.’

I really like this series, but sadly, the next ebook is ridiculously expensive, so I’ll have to hold off on rereading.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Bantam

Categories: 8/10, British, Mystery, Police, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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