Bombs from the Blitz echo in an incendiary blast that takes the life of an octogenarian detective in 21st-century London: a compelling kickoff to a new series. Detective Arthur Bryant has worked with Detective John May in the Peculiar Crimes Unit since 1940, when the two confronted their first peculiar crime together: At the historical Palace Theatre, a dancer in a sensational opera was poisoned and lost her feet. The regular police took one look at the dancer's Austrian connections, the producer's Greek background, and the potential effect on wartime London's morals and morale and immediately passed the case to the newly formed PCU. Bryant, an eccentric, brilliant thinker, saw mythological connections; May chased phantoms on motorcycles through the blackout. Bryant, now an old man, decides to write his memoirs, beginning, as May discovers while sorting through the wreckage of the blast that killed Bryant, with the Palace case. Did someone care enough about a 60-year-old mystery to stop Bryant forcibly? An architectural rendering of the Palace, preserved because absent-minded Bryant left it in a copying machine, provides a clue for May as he resolves the old crime once more and the new crime once and for all. Bryant and May's enduring partnership combines newfangled forensic science with old-fashioned occultism, imagination with derring-do, and a sense of mission with the devastating effects of chaos.