|The Rivers of London is Ben Aaronovitchs
first foray into fiction outside the BBCs Doctor Who universe; he was a scriptwriter
for the series and has penned some tie-in novels. The Rivers of London is
also published by Del Rey (Random House) under the title Midnight Riot.
Rivers of London is crime story and a fantasy, or a fantasy and a police
procedural, or its an urban fantasy. Whichever way one looks at it The Rivers
of London is firmly set in a London where ghosts exist, genus loci manifest and
maintain a life and very, very odd things can happen: especially if one happens to be a
junior police constable about to transferred to the career graveyard world of the Case
Progression Unit (CPU).
Peter Grant, a constable shortly to be assigned to the CPU, is guarding a murder scene
when he meets an eye witness who demonstrates hes a ghost. Detective Chief Inspector
Nightingale, of a very select crime unit of one (him), learns of Peters conversation
and the CPU is sidestepped and Peter discovers theres more to life than he thought
possible. Peters life gets very complex, at discrete intervals mayhem and murder
abound, and as part of his policing duties besides deal with a murderer Peter has to
broker a peace between the families of Father and Mother Thames (no relation).
This was a fun read, with likable characters and a very tongue in cheek style. Often I
can be heard complaining that an author should be reminded that less can be more. Mr
Aaronovitch has taken that motto to heart and has delivered a sparsely written book with
nary a word wasted. And a real pleasure it was to read too.
The Rivers of London is the start of series the draws on the wealth of
historical oddities that have accumulated to London and its environment. The next book, Moon
Over Soho (same title by Del Rey too), is already on the shelves and yes, I will
be buying it. Just when I was despairing of fantasy a cluster of bright lights, Ben
Aaronovitch being one, have come to the rescue with some toothsome new works for
which I am ever so grateful. Now to find Moon Over Soho.