I’ll be honest, I found this book a little difficult to get into at first, not really warming to the character of Arthur Bryant. He is a typical old school detective who is methodical to the point of being obtuse, is arrogant and refuses to embrace anything that has happened in the last thirty years. Bryant was just a little bit too annoying for me to enjoy reading the book. However, not one to give up on a book, I decided to start again after reading a few chapters and I’m very glad I did. Once I got used to the obscure character, I actually quite warmed to him. He kind of reminded me of Columbo (the TV detective), in that he wanders around in his own little world, seemingly with no objective, but seeing things that others don’t and having that strange imagination that makes anything possible. It was quite enjoyable to read his thought processes and to wonder where he was going with his investigations.
John May is the polar opposite of Bryant; he embraces all things modern; is gregarious and outgoing, in stark contrast to Bryant’s solitary style; and he is a bit of an old womaniser. To be honest, even though he is part of the duo, I thought he was a bit of a secondary character really. May‘s character fit in very well with Bryant, acting to tame the latter where others can’t and being able to handle him where others prefer to steer clear. The two obviously have a long standing partnership both in and out of work and it is this that makes them such a good twosome. I’d be interested to read the other books in the series to see whether May takes the lead in other stories as it would be nice to learn a little bit more about him.