I didn't do justice to this book. It's a slow mystery, but a good one. However, I was not in the mood to read it. I needed a fast-paced mystery to take me out of my life for a while. I started this months ago but put it aside until a week ago. Once I was able to concentrate on it, it went quickly and I had trouble putting it down.
John May and Arthur Bryant are older policemen, old-style detectives. They're members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit - which has recently been disbanded. When headless corpses and stag-headed men start appearing, they're called back to action, minus the resources of the regular police department. They reorganize their group, with former members who have retired or taken different jobs. All are eager to be back on the job.
A large development company is buying up all the properties around Kings Cross. With the government's approval, they are creating a new commercial and residential area. Some people are not pleased. Xander Toth, an environmentalist, stages protests and is determined to save what he can of the area. The company is missing one deed for a vital piece of property. A construction worker clearing houses for the company, finds it.
Fowler moves the plot along slowly, but not stagnantly. He lards the story with details of the history of London, in this case, with the ancient history of St. Pancras Old Church. I'm never sure whether or not to believe bits of history in fiction, but I've read that his historical detail is real.
The mystery is convoluted and layered. I thought I knew what was going on, until I realized I didn't. I have to warn you that the book ends without a resolution and is continued in the next in the series, Off the Rails.