Similar to Helen Smith’s short story from last year – called “Real Elves“– “Bryant & May and the Secret Santa” tells a holiday story set in the uniquely British local of a department store Santa’s Wonderland.

“Bryant & May and the Secret Santa” is written by Christopher Fowler and features his series detectives as they continue to investigate peculiar crimes. As in the novels, the banter between these two senior detectives is what makes this short story so delightful. Fowler is a master at putting humor into the dialogue between his characters, so that even during a serious case such as this one, the reader can’t help but smile.

In this story, Bryant and May are called in to investigate the death of an eleven-year-old boy who suddenly fled the Santa’s Wonderland within Selfridges department store only to be struck by a car on the street outside. In an attempt to determine what spooked the child, Bryant and May must interview all those at the scene – from elves and employees to Santa himself.

Being a holiday story, readers may be expecting something a bit less serious than the story actually provides. The investigation leads to such grave topics as school-yard bullying and revenge, but because of its brevity, it still works well as a distraction during the holiday madness. It is a quick read and for those unfamiliar with Christopher Fowler’s writing, it provides a nice introduction to the series characters. Fans of holiday-themed short stories should certainly check it out.


Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.