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The Invisible Code: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery    by Christopher Fowler Amazon.com order for
Invisible Code
by Christopher Fowler
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Arthur Bryant and John May arenít getting any younger and their Peculiar Crimes Unit is still raising a few eyebrows in the way they go about solving London's most challenging crimes, but the two detectives and their staff continue to prevail against all the odds.

Early on in this 10th mystery in the popular and long running series, Arthur May observes that the case his unit is working on 'feels like we're pulling on threads that may unravel something big'. Indeed, never has the detective been so right.

And when asked what exactly he means, May replies. 'I don't know, something that'll probably come down and crush us all.' He's also all too correct about that!

When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride's Church with no obvious signs of trauma, this would seem to be an investigation that would be handed over to the Peculiar Crimes Unit but, inexplicably, it remains with the city police.

Then an even more puzzling event occurs. Bryant and May are called in by Home Office security head Oskar Kasavian, a long time and bitter adversary, and asked to look into a highly personal matter. Kasavian's wife Sabira has been acting quite irrationally and he needs to discover why she is teetering on the brink of madness.

As is so often the case, there's a method to the distraught woman's behavior. When a second odd death reveals there's a link between Sabira and the first dead woman, the stakes get much higher and once again everyone at the PCU is placed in jeopardy.

From Bedlam hospital to historic Bletchley Park, the case will take May and his partner to some rather unusual places as they are drawn into a world of encrypted codes and symbols, hidden rooms and high-society clubs.

As the investigation becomes more complicated, a frustrated May says to Bryant, 'We're talking about conspiracy to murder, cover-ups, perverting the course of justice and God knows what else. Don't you see what's happening? We've finally come against something that's utterly impervious to investigation. All we can do is react to each new disaster.'

Will Arthur stand down and back away from the case? Of course not! 'No traditional approach can possibly work against something like this,' he replies. It is full speed ahead then, relying on the bizarre and unorthodox methods that he is so famous for.

In The Invisible Code Christopher Fowler once again takes the opportunity to strut his stuff as one of the most original, clever and eccentric mystery writers working today. And, as always, the result is a remarkable and highly entertaining read.

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