There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.
Enter PC Peter Grant junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying the crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.
Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.
And time is running out to save them.
With this new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.
From Publishers Weekly:
“Aaronovitch’s novella featuring PC Peter Grant of London’s Special Assessment Unit (aka the Folly), which has the brief of investigating “disruptive phantasmagoria,” is an excellent entry point to the Peter Grant series for newcomers who like their urban fantasies rendered with a light touch.”
From RT Book Reviews (Top Pick):
“Though it be but little, this newest adventures of PC Peter Grant (technically book 5.7 in the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series) is fiercely entertaining; the endlessly imaginative Aaronovitch is in top form. Perhaps because there is so much intrigue, ghostly action and unique characterization packed into such a comparatively small space, the deft blend of supernatural adventure and police procedural is particularly impressive here, as Grant is called upon to use all the tools at his disposal, both the magical and the mundane.”
The Furthest Station (exerpt)
“So you can lure ghosts,’ I said.
“You have yourself,” said Nightingale. “The ritual you used to summon Wallpenny at Covent Garden, remember?”
“I remember almost getting sucked into a pit,” I said. And then bouncing off a tree.
“That was a particularly difficult situation, and an oversight on my part,” said Nightingale. “I misapprehended the nature of the threat. What we shall do tomorrow is literally child’s play.”
“You’ve done this before?”
“Back at my old school,” he said. “During the summer term when it was light in the evenings.”
The younger boys would sneak off the grounds and into the adjacent woods, build a campfire and see what they could attract in the way of the local supernatural.
“And swap comics and tuck of course,” he said. “Everybody did it, and the masters must have been aware. Because there could be as many as five campfires going in the woods on some nights.”
Each one a group of boys from a different year. As they got older, the focus used to change – with the older boys drinking and smoking and occasionally playing pranks on the younger.
“Did it work?” I asked.
“Oh, undoubtedly,” said Nightingale. “Ballantine junior and I once managed to induce the whole of 3B to wet themselves by pretending to be werewolves. Matron was not pleased, and I was caned by the headmaster personally.” Which apparently was a great honour because the headmaster was known to have progressive views and to be against caning in principle. Although obviously not in practice.
“I meant attracting the supernatural,” I said.
Nightingale shook his hand from side to side.
“Mixed results there, I’m afraid,” he said. “I’m sure Spotty was hoping for a wood nymph. And there were always rumours of giant spiders and centaurs. I would have liked to have met a centaur, still…” he caught my expression and quickly added. “But any number of ghosts. They must have been the best fed spirits in the whole of England.”
“You didn’t start this tradition, right?”
“Lord no,” said Nightingale. “Squirts had been out in the woods since the school was founded, and they were still at in 1939.”
When I had a spare moment there was definitely going to have to be a field trip with Toby and my surveying gear to what I suspected was the most magic-saturated spot in England.
“So bright and early tomorrow morning,” said Nightingale. “Might be an idea to bring a thermos. Do you think Sergeant Kumar can get us in there before the trains start?”
I said it would be no problem.
Nightingale glanced over to where Toby the wonder dog was asleep in his basket.
“When was your last set of detection experiments?”
“Last month.” It had been proving increasingly hard to persuade Toby to take part in any magic detecting. Since then I’d been trying to teach myself to use a spectrograph I’d discovered while cleaning up the lab.
“In that case,” he said. “It might be time to unleash the hounds.”
- Ben Aaronovitch
- eBook Edition