I have finished the 115th book for the book challenge. It was The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler.
Bryant and Mays and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called to investigate the murder of an infant. Baby Noah Kramer has been murdered at a party given by his theater-owner father, Robert Kramer. The PCU are involved because the stage manager is Gail Strong, the daughter of the Minister of Agriculture, who has been involved in a few too many high profile things of late.
Noah was taken from his cot and shaken to death by a Mr. Punch puppet. Then he was thrown from the window into the courtyard below. Then the room was locked from the inside. The parents had to break down the door to reach the infant when they went to check on him and found the scene.
Bryant and Mays and the PCU know that the case hinges on the whereabouts of the guests at the party that night and who saw what. They interview all the guests over and over. Their prime suspects are the father, Robert Kramer, because this child was really not his child; the lead actor, whose child this was; the lead actress; Ray Pryce, the writer; the financial backer and partner; the property manager.
In another development, Anna Marquand who is editing Bryant’s memoires, is murdered. She had expressed concerned over some of the sensitive issues that his reminisces had raised and had deleted them, but they were saved on the CD with his original material. That CD has been lost. Janice is trying to hunt that CD down and also find the murderer of Anna. Janice is attacked and she does find the CD. She also finds who is after the information–The Ministry of Defence.
The financial backer is found hanged with a puppet near his body. The Punch puppets are making quite a statement in this case. Robert Kramer is still the prime suspect.
Then the leading actress is found dead with an apparatus on her face. She has choked on her own vomit. Apparently the killer meant to scare her but the stunt went wrong. Again, Robert Kramer is the main suspect.
Then Robert Kramer is ambushed and a body in the shape of his first wife is thrown at him. He is startled and the perpetrator throws a pitchfork at him. It sticks in his neck and he slips and the pitchfork goes through his heart and kills him.
Bryant and May decide to hold a final party for the cast and at midnight they will announce the murderer. Indeed, the party is held in The London Dungeon and everyone is there. With just seconds to go until midnight, Bryant reveals the murderer. It is Ray Pryce, the writer, who tries to escape, but is caught. Bryant explains how the murder of Noah was committed and also the other murders. It is all quite ingenious.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit is a fun police unit. They are an unique group of people who are quite a handful. Bryant drives everyone crazy. How the murder was committed is really amazing. It’s quite hard to believe. But that’s the fun part of the story.