3 Novenber 2016.
ISBN: 978 0 575 13255 9 (HB)
Another outing for Police Constable Peter Grant of the Falcon Squad, the highly unusual branch of the Metropolitan Police whose remit is to investigate possibly criminal situations which may involve the paranormal. The squad has only two members, Peter and his boss Thomas Nightingale, and their task is to keep the Queen’s Peace amid the strange phenomena which inhabit the streets of London (and elsewhere, see the review in Mystery People of Foxglove Summer), they being among the few humans who understand and can match the powers of those phenomena. However, this story begins with a request that seems straightforward enough: Peter’s girlfriend’s oldest sister’s daughter Olivia is being questioned by the police in relation to the death by a drugs overdose of her friend Christina Chorley and her mother wants her daughter kept out of the investigation. Not that easy to do, thinks Peter, even if her mother is Lady Tyburn, the goddess of the Tyburn River, now invisible but still flowing underground from Hampstead via Regent’s Park and under Buckingham Palace to the Thames, old Mother Thames being the mother of both Lady Ty and Peter’s own girlfriend, Beverley Brook, goddess of another hidden stream in south-east London. (The Tyburn River gave its name to the village of Tyburn and the two roads that met at the cross-roads, then Tyburn Road and Tyburn Lane, now Oxford Street and Park Lane respectively. Where the roads met at what is now Marble Arch was a place of public execution, the infamous Tyburn gallows, also known as the Hanging Tree, hence this book’s title.)
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.