Saturday, February 1, 2014
Whispers Underground by Ben AaronovitchEach of
This is the third volume in Aaronovitch's urban fantasy series The Rivers of London.
Each of Aaronovitch's novels has focused on a particular London neighborhood; in this one we get to explore the London Underground --- both the famous underground transport service and the equally famous underground sewers.
It begins when a wealthy American art student, James Gallagher, is found stabbed to death with a shard of old-fashioned pottery, at the far end of the Baker Street tube station. Constable Peter Grant of the Specialist Crimes Unit is called in on the case because the surveillance cameras in the station don't explain how Gallagher and his killer got into the station or how the killer got out after the murder. Peter is the apprentice of Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the SCU is only called in on "uncanny" crimes. The pressure is on because Gallagher's wealthy and politically prominent father (a U.S. Senator) wants to know how his son wound up dead.
There are futher complications: Gallagher's slacker flatmate turns out to be Fae and as slippery as they come. An ambitious FBI agent (and a born-again Christian with strong views about magic and the supernatural) has been assigned to "assist" the Metropolitan police in their inquiries. Two of Mama Thames' demigoddess daughters are running an unlicensed rave club in the old tunnels. Then there's Peter's fellow constable and friend Lesley, badly disfigured in a previous encounter with the uncanny, trying to revive her once promising career by joining up with Nightingale and Peter.
A wonderful concantation of folklore, urban legend, fantasy and forensics.