Seventy-Seven Clocks Review
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In London in 1973, two seemingly unrelated crimes reunite an unusual yet remarkable pair of detectives. John May is investigating the mysterious murder of a lawyer who was staying at the Savoy Hotel. Arthur Bryant is investigating the destruction of a painting in the National Gallery. As partners Bryant and May join together to make up part of London’s new experimental Peculiar Crimes Unit, they begin to discover that the two crimes aren’t as dissimilar as they thought. The murdered lawyer, who was killed by the venom of a snake, represented William Whitstable, the art vandal. But that’s only the beginning. As Bryant and May track down Whitstable, he, too, is killed. One by one, members of the Whitstable family—a family long respected in London society—are assassinated in the most unusual ways. And no one can figure out who’s responsible or why it’s happening—and it’s not helping the future of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

Seventeen-year-old Savoy employee Geraldine (Jerry) Gates also finds herself in the middle of the case—because she just happens to be nearby when some of the first murders take place. Intrigued by the Whitstables—who happen to be business associates of her father—Jerry starts doing some investigating of her own.

The case only gets stranger and stranger. Whitstables continue to die in unusual—even archaic—ways. And as May consults the facts and figures at the family’s guildhall, Bryant hunts down a white witch who may have a few insights of her own—and Jerry digs through hotel rooms and uncovers a new conspiracy or two. Meanwhile, the media continues to cover the case, and the people of London begin to pressure Bryant and May for answers they can’t seem to find.

Seventy-Seven Clocks is a fascinating read, filled with suspense and action that will easily hold a reader’s attention through all 500 pages—but we warned that the fast-paced action doesn’t necessarily make for a quick read. I found myself taking my time reading it, trying to keep track of all the details. Fowler may drop a few hints along the way, but the story that the two detectives (and their young helper) gradually piece together is so unusual and so old and tightly guarded that you’ll never be able to figure it all out without the help of Bryant and May—and even they aren’t able to work everything out until the end.

Fowler’s wildly inventive mystery has a little bit of everything—a century-old plan, a rich and powerful family, a touch of the occult, musical theater, and an unlikely pair of detectives to figure out how it all comes together. It’s a thrilling novel with a shocking outcome.

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