A delightful side adventure in the Peter Grant universe. I found myself chuckling, highlighting as a went, enjoying Grant’s wry observations of the city and it’s denizens.
All the elements that make the series so remarkable, lovable and familiar are here: the humor, the sudden realization that Peter has gotten himself in over his head, references to destroyed landmarks, strange and remarkable Rivers, Molly’s sinister looming and her cooking experiments, Toby’s reluctance to obey, Peter’s inevitable distractions into research, notes on police procedure and interview techniques, commentary on casual racism, and further observations on Nightingale’s remarkable dress code and his failure to modernize.
“Normally these days we shunt files back and forth as email attachments, but the Folly prefers to do things the old-fashioned way. Just in case someone leaks our emails, and also because only one of us currently lives in the 21st century.”
Written as a novella, it’s a little more streamlined than the average Peter Grant book. Kumar, with his willingness to work with ‘weird bullocks’, has contacted Peter for assistance. There have been ghost sightings on the Metropolitan Line of the Tube train and passengers have been strangely unable to remember any details.
“Okay,” said Jaget after a pause. “That’s the second most freakiest thing you’ve ever shown me.”
I snapped off the werelight. “That was really odd,” I said.
“Yeah, even by your standards of odd that was odd,” said Jaget. “What next?”
As usual, the clever social commentary, self-depreciation and genuine curiosity had me chuckling, underlying a bit or two every few pages. I adore the way Aaronovitch is able to make me chuckle without resorting to absurdity, although there is that too. Although I kind of wish he’d stop referencing all the fabulous ‘ethnic’ places to eat, because I was hungrier than usual eating this one, especially when he snacked on crab with ginger and spring onions. But that provides a nice contrast to some more emotional moments, particularly one where Peter recognizes “it isn’t about your personal convictions. It’s about what the person standing on the edge needs.”
The story is remarkably well balanced with a minimum of digressions, so it may be even more palatable than the novels for some. Weaknesses were minor, with the most glaring being a quick wrap-up. I rather think Aaronovitch would just keep writing, but someone has to cut him off. At any rate, it’s not that bothersome. I just flipped back to the beginning and re-read it. Absolutely delicious although I’m not sure how it compares with the Chinese crab-ginger dish. Can’t wait to hear it read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.
Many, many thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for giving me an advance peek!