Book Review: The Burning Man

A review of a book in a new find of mine, the Bryant & May series, with a few other bits.


Although the book review is the principal focus of this piece there are a few other bits that I will be sharing afterwards.


Those of you who follow my London transport themed website may recall that I posted a review of a book called Off The Rails which featured a team of oddballs collectively known as the Peculiar Crimes Unit (officially the Peculiar part of the title referred to the crimes being investigated as opposed to the investigators but one might think otherwise).

Since reading that book I have taken every opportunity to deepen my acquaintance with Arthur Bryant, John May and their team of oddballs, and The Burning Man is just one of a number of their adventures that I have recently read.

The story in this book features riots provoked in part by misbehaving bankers being used as a cover for a series of murders all of which involve the use of fire. The story has many twists and turns. There are also various subplots, principally the antagonism between the PCU and Superintendent Darren “Missing” Link.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as I have every book I have encountered in this series, and heartily recommend it. It is in that spirit that the following is offered (and I hope will be accepted)…


To set the stage, here is a photograph of the paragraph on page 144 that gave rise to the quibble:


How many of you can guess without reading on where my quibble arises?

If you guessed that it was the sentence “He worked with some crazy people, borderline-autistic tech-heads who were likely to turn up at the front door, find no-one home and climb through a window.” score yourself 10 out of 10.

The phrase borderline-autistic is meaningless given that autism is a spectrum condition, and the usage of such a phrase is indicative of what Richard Dawkins terms “the tyranny of the discontinuous mind”. I also take umbrage at the notion of an autistic person responding to finding no one at home by climbing through a window. Finally, as an autistic person who is skilled in the use of computers I still object to the conflation of autism and tech-headedness – while the two traits can go together they do not always do so. Finally, I find the entire sentence lazily reinforces damaging stereotypes about autistic people. To finish this section, although in one sense every post on this blog has an automatic connection to autism, you can find more posts in which I specifically deal with autism here.

In spite of my quibble with a paragraph on page 144 I thoroughly recommend this book.


The new information office at King’s Lynn bus station is a treasure trove. My latest find focuses specifically on West Norfolk…


I make no comment as yet on this scheme, which is still at a preliminary stage, just reproducing it in full…


NAS West Norfolk are holding a Positive Autism Awareness Conference at the Duke’s Head Hotel on Friday 15th April. One feature of this conference will be a photographic display by yours truly. I have mentioned this in a number of previous posts.


Author: Thomas

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

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