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Magic and Mystery in the detective series Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Updated on February 23, 2017

The Author:

Ben Denis Aaronovitch (born 1964) is the London-born British author of the best selling Rivers of London series of novels. His writing career extends back to 1988 writing two episodes for Dr Who.

He has since written several tv / radio programs and several books before embarking upon the Rivers of London series.


Rivers of London series:

  1. River of London
  2. Moon over Soho
  3. Whispers underground
  4. Broken Homes
  5. Foxglove Summer

Why choose the 'Rivers' series?

I have always enjoyed any story with an element of mystery, from being small child listening to my grandmother reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five series of mystery stories, through to adulthood with adventure mysteries and detective novels, set in any period.

The River of London series of novels encompass detective work in two worlds. The modern world with the new young detective and his older mentor from a bygone age of Sherlock Holmes style detection, mixed with magical, mythical creativity that somehow is explained as fact using 'some science' to make it logical and possibly.....possible!

Here's a guide to the series so far:


1.Rivers of London

This first novel is an exciting adventure with a smattering of humour all through, that shows you London as you've never seen it before. A rookie cop (P.C. Peter Grant) is guarding what seems like a fairly standard murder scene, right up until a ghost approaches him having witnessed the crime. Our hero enters into a world more different than he can comprehend at first but he quickly realises he wants to be a part of it, of magic and mayhem where the Metropolitan Police has a wizardry unit and London's rivers come alive.

2. Moon over Soho

Now a member of the 'special' unit for magical activity ensconced in its own building known as The Folly, London constable and apprentice Peter Grant suspects sorcery when Soho area musicians drop dead, autopsies of their brains show magical damage (residue). Victim Cyrus left girlfriend Simone, who beds Peter, who may be playing with fire?. His dad "Lord Grant" taught him jazz but why are musicians dying this way? His mentor, mage DCI Nightingale still recuperates, and a Pale Lady bites off essential bits for an animal chimera slave ring! What is going on. Bad magic abounds and Peter feels out of his depth. He needs Nighingales help and fast.

3.Whispers underground

A body has been discovered. On this occasion its an American exchange student with a wealthy, politically powerful family who is found brutally murdered at the far end of the Baker street tube station.

With the pressure of an American Senator on his back, London constable and sorcerers apprentice Peter Grant has his work cut out as investigations lead him through the darkest depths of the largest and most dangerous subway system in the world.

4. Broken Homes

A mutilated body in Crawley. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer? Next thing PC Grant knows, a town planner falls under a tube train and a stolen book of magic are adding to his case-load. Where will we be led next in this evolving tale?

5. Foxglove Summer

A jaunt into the English countryside? His latest case involves the disappearance of children in the small village of Herefordshire, and the local police are unwilling to admit there might be a supernatural element involved. Now Peter must deal with them, local river spirits, and the fact that all the shops close by 4 P.M.

6. The Hanging Tree

The Hanging Tree in the story is the Tyburn gallows which stood where Marble Arch stands today. Oxford Street was the last trip of the condemned on their final journey to the gallows.

In "Whispers Underground" Lady Tyburn saved Peter's life with the understanding that she would be calling in the debt, which she does. Her daughter Olivia is in trouble with the police and Tyburn would like her out of trouble, PDQ. Poor Peter has to untangle Olivia without getting himself into trouble for corruption, higher ups are becoming more aware of Falcon, the Faceless Man is back, and Leslie is back. The question is, what is really going on?

Which is your favourite novel of the series?

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© 2014 hawley


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