I've just finished my second Christopher Fowler novel, The Water Room, and am certainly looking forward to reading another. He is the most amusing, witty and original author I've had the fun of reading for quite awhile. Highly recommended. Fowler features two older detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May, who head up the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit), in London, loosely associated with MI7.
"Bryant & May’s investigation of a secret world beneath London begins when a woman is found in a dry basement with her throat full of river-water. In the quiet street where she lives, the residents are unsettled by the sound of rushing water. Further impossible deaths reveal a connection to the lost underground rivers of London, and a disgraced academic hunts an ancient secret that will soon be lost within the forgotten canals. Meanwhile it won’t stop raining, there’s a flood coming, and nobody’s house is safe as Bryant and May head beneath the city to stop a murderer from striking again."
And from the media: ‘An imaginative fun-house of a world where sage minds go to expand their vistas and sharpen their wits’ – New York Times
All that aside, you can believe me when I insist this book is FUNNY, with a peculiar, dry British humor. Just for example, the dead woman's son (who knows Bryant from an earlier case) comes to see them: "'I came to you Mr. Bryant,' said Benjamin Singh, 'because you have such an incredible capacity to be annoying.' 'I can't imagine what you mean,' said Bryant, stuffing his bentwood pipe with a mixture of Old Holborn and eucalyptus leaves. 'I mean you can get things done by badgering people. I don't trust the regular police. They're distracted and complacent. I'm glad you are still here. I thought you would have retired by now. You are so very, very far past retirement age." Some of us might relate to that.
The vegetables would be up to you, and what is seasonal. This one has sliced zucchini, slightly caramelized onion, my sweet cherry peppers, our tropical spinach, sage, parsley and a bit of pepperoni, which any vegetarians could leave out. I used a basic pastry dough, laid it flat on a parchment lined baking tin, then added the cooled down, briefly sauteed veggies and herbs, with clumps of feta cheese on top, inside 1 1/3 " of the edge. Now you crimp up the edges around your pastry, enclosing the filling, and bake at 400F for about 30-40 minutes. There should be a nice golden brown crust.
Great for a light summer supper, with perhaps a bit of tangy salad. Will be shared with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads. Join everyone there for some lovely dishes on the weekend.