Christopher Fowler

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Christopher Fowler
BornChristopher Fowler
(1953-03-26) 26 March 1953 (age 69)
Greenwich, London, England
Notable worksBryant & May Mysteries

Christopher Fowler (born 26 March 1953) is an English thriller writer. While working in the British film industry he became the author of fifty novels and short-story collections, including the Bryant & May mysteries, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives in modern-day London. His awards include the 2015 CWA Dagger in the Library (for his entire body of work), The Last Laugh Award (twice) and the British Fantasy Award (multiple times), the Edge Hill Prize and the inaugural Green Carnation Award. His other works include screenplays, video games, graphic novels, audio and stage plays. He was born in Greenwich, London. He lives in Barcelona and King's Cross, London.[1]

Bryant & May Mysteries[edit]

Fowler is best known as the author of the Bryant & May mysteries, in which the two detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, are members of the fictional Peculiar Crimes Unit, based on a unit his father worked in during World War II. The series is also available in audiobook format, narrated by Tim Goodman. Characters from this series also appear in Fowler's Roofworld, Rune, Darkest Day, and Soho Black, although these books are not considered part of the series.

The Bryant & May series is set primarily in London, with stories taking place in various years between World War II and the present. While there is a progressive narrative, each of the cases stand alone as separate stories. The exceptions are Full Dark House, an origin story which focuses on May's reminiscence of the team's first case together during the Blitz; Seventy-Seven Clocks, framed as Bryant's retelling of a case from 1973; and On the Loose and Off the Rails, which continue characters and events across two books. Hall of Mirrors is set in 1969; at one point, the characters discuss the events of that summer: the Woodstock music festival, the Moon landing, and the Manson murders. There are two volumes of missing cases (short stories), London's Glory and England's Finest.

Fowler weaves many factual layers of London's history and society throughout the series. Most of the locations are recognisable London landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral, the Tate Gallery and various theatres. A major feature of The Water Room is the network of tunnels and underground rivers underneath the city. In Off the Rails they explore the London Underground network.

There are many references to other literary works throughout the series. Seventy-Seven Clocks contains references to Gilbert and Sullivan throughout the narrative, while The Victoria Vanishes has deliberate similarities with The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin. Although the books appear to have bizarre, uncanny elements, they are not in any way supernatural or fantastical. The unit in which they are set is based on real post-war London units.

Other novels and short stories[edit]

Fowler's book Rune is an update to a modern setting of the M. R. James story "Casting the Runes". It also features Bryant, May and several characters from that series.

His story "The Master Builder" was filmed as Through the Eyes of a Killer,[2] starring Richard Dean Anderson, Marg Helgenberger and Tippi Hedren. His tenth short story collection, Old Devil Moon, won the Edge Hill Audience Prize 2008. His short story "Left Hand Drive" was made into a film that won Best British Short. His stories "On Edge" and "The Most Boring Woman in the World" were both filmed. His novella Breathe won the British Fantasy Society Award for best novella in 2005.[3]

Put into different temporal settings, some elements of his original 2008 story "Arkangel" from Exotic Gothic 2[4] reappear in his 2012 frame-novel Hell Train (a book called "must read now!” by SciFiNow[5]), including the Polish town of Chelmsk, the physical descriptions of its white gold-rivetted damnation train Arkangel and the town's yokels.[6]

His memoir of a lonely 1960s childhood, Paperboy, won the inaugural Green Carnation prize, which celebrates fiction and memoirs written by gay men.[7] A sequel, Film Freak, charted his travels through the British film industry. His collection Red Gloves consisted of 25 new stories marking a quarter-century in print, two graphic novels and a Hammer horror radio play. He also wrote a Sherlock Holmes audio drama for BBC 7 entitled The Lady Downstairs and the War of the Worlds videogame with Sir Patrick Stewart, for Paramount. He is currently[when?] at work on a new thriller, Summer Dies, and a complete collection of his short stories from 1985 to the present.

Further works include:

  • Nyctophobia (2014) Solaris Books ISBN 978-1781082102, a haunted house novel set in bright daylight about a woman who is terrified of the dark
  • The Casebook of Bryant & May, a graphic novel illustrated by Keith Page
  • Menz Insana, a graphic novel illustrated by John Bolton

Forgotten Authors series[edit]

Fowler wrote a periodic column for The Independent titled Invisible Ink. In this series, he looked at a wide range of writers whose works, once popular, have now fallen out of the public eye. His book version, The Book of Forgotten Authors, is published by Quercus.[8]

Novels and collections[edit]

How to Impersonate Famous People 1984 ISBN 0-7043-3463-1
The Ultimate Party Book 1985 ISBN 0-04-793087-X
City Jitters 1986 ISBN 0-7221-3704-4
More City Jitters 1988 ISBN 0-4402-0146-2
Roofworld 1988 ISBN 0-7126-2421-X
The Bureau of Lost Souls (US: More City Jitters) 1989 ISBN 0-7126-2459-7
Rune 1990 ISBN 0-7126-3466-5
Red Bride 1992 ISBN 0-356-20805-2
Sharper Knives 1992 ISBN 0-7515-0152-2
Darkest Day 1993 ISBN 0-316-90534-8
Spanky 1994 ISBN 0-7515-0959-0
Flesh Wounds 1995 ISBN 0-7515-1431-4
Psychoville 1995 ISBN 0-7515-1664-3
Menz Insana (graphic novel) 1997 ISBN 1-56389-300-2
Disturbia 1997 ISBN 0-7515-1910-3
Soho Black 1998 ISBN 0-7515-2559-6
Personal Demons 1998 ISBN 1-85242-597-0
Uncut 1999 ISBN 0-7515-2644-4
Calabash 2000 ISBN 0-7515-3040-9
The Devil in Me 2004 ISBN 1-85242-768-X
Demonized 2004 ISBN 1-85242-848-1
Full Dark House B&M 1 2004 ISBN 0-553-81552-0
Breathe 2004 ISBN 1-903889-67-7
The Water Room B&M 2 2004 ISBN 0-385-60554-4
Seventy-Seven Clocks B&M 3 2005 ISBN 0-385-60885-3
Ten Second Staircase B&M 4 2006 ISBN 0-385-60886-1
Old Devil Moon 2007 ISBN 978-1-85242-925-6
White Corridor B&M 5 2007 ISBN 978-0-385-61067-4
The Victoria Vanishes B&M 6 2008 ISBN 978-0-385-61068-1
Paperboy (autobiography) 2009 ISBN 978-0-385-61557-0
Bryant & May on the Loose[9] B&M 7 2009 ISBN 978-0-385-61465-8
Bryant & May Off the Rails[10] B&M 8 2010 ISBN 978-0-553-80720-2
Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood B&M 9 2011 ISBN 978-0-85752-049-4
Hell Train 2012 ISBN 978-1-907992-44-5
Bryant & May: The Invisible Code B&M 10 2012 ISBN 978-0857520500
Film Freak (autobiography) 2013 ISBN 978-0857521606
The Casebook of Bryant & May (graphic novel) 2013 ISBN 978-1848634565
Plastic 2013 ISBN 978-1781081242
Bryant & May: The Bleeding Heart B&M 11 2014 ISBN 978-0345547651
"Bryant & May and the Secret Santa" (single short story) B&M 11.5 2015 ISBN 978-1101968970
Bryant & May and the Burning Man B&M 12 2015 ISBN 978-0345547682
The Sand Men 2015 ISBN 978-1781083741
Bryant & May: London's Glory (short stories) B&M 13 2016 ISBN 978-0857523457
Bryant & May: Strange Tide B&M 14 2016 ISBN 978-1101887035
Bryant & May: Wild Chamber B&M 15 2017 ISBN 978-0857523433
Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors B&M 16 2018 ISBN 978-0857523440
Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour B&M 17 2019 ISBN 978-08575-2568-0
Bryant & May: England's Finest (short stories) B&M 18 2019 ISBN 978-08575-2569-7
Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons B&M 19 2020 ISBN 978-08575-2570-3
Bryant & May: London Bridge Is Falling Down B&M 20 2021 ISBN 978-0-593-35621-0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Penguin Books".
  2. ^ Through the Eyes of a Killer at IMDb
  3. ^ "The British Fantasy Awards". Archived from the original on 5 December 2006.
  4. ^ Fowler, Christopher (2008). "Arkangel." Exotic Gothic 2. Ed. Danel Olson. Ashcroft, British Columbia: Ash-Tree Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-55310-109-3.
  5. ^ Morton, Sophi (2012). "HELL TRAIN: The ride of your life... or death". SciFiNow (62): 86.
  6. ^ Fowler, Christopher (2012). "Chapter 3: Arrival". Hell Train. Oxford, UK: Solaris Books/Rebellion Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907992-44-5.
  7. ^ Page, Benedicte (1 December 2010). "Paperboy wins inaugural prize for gay men's books" – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ "The Book of Forgotten Authors". Quercus. Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Bryant & May: Death Or Glory". The author's blog, 24 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Bryant & May Return in Two-Book Deal". The author's blog, 18 March 2009.

External links[edit]