Choice quotes from Ben Aaronovitch: Moon Over Soho

I chanced upon the Rivers of London series while browsing the stacks; the cover art attracted my attention (fascinating map!) as did, of course, memories of London. This series accompanied me through my break up, and indeed the snarky writing was one of those rare things that made me laugh during those dark days. I think these books deserve way more attention than it is currently receiving, so I’m sharing my favourite quotes here. Enjoy!
(Genre: Urban Fantasy, Police Procedural)

From Book Two: Moon Over Soho


The snarky commentary on English history that make the series such a joy to read:

“Jason Dunlop lived in the half-basement flat of a converted early-Victorian terrace on Barnsbury Road. In previous eras the servants’ quarters would be fully underground, but the Victorians, being the great social improvers they were, had decided that even the lowly should be able to see the feet of the people walking past the grand houses of their masters – hence the half basement. That and the increased daylight saved on candles, a penny saved is a penny earned and all that.”

* * *

On the change of word connotations:

“Nightingale said, “It never occurred to me that the old days [of magic] might come back. Besides, we have Dunlop’s books so we know his teacher wasn’t from some foreign tradition – this is a home-grown black magician.”

“You can’t call them black magicians,” I said.

“You realise that we’re using black in its metaphorical sense here,” said Nightingale.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Words change what they mean, don’t they? Some people would call me a black magician.”

“You’re not a magician,” he said. “You’re barely even an apprentice.”

“You’re changing the subject,” I said.

“What should we call them?” he asked patiently.

“Ethically challenged magical practitioners,” I said.”

* * *

Aaronovitch’s take on the Trocadero Centre (the basement of which I visited periodically back while I was on exchange just to watch some awesome street dancing. I have just found out that it has since closed and is now being refurbished into a hotel)

“The central atrium at the Trocadero Centre is four stories high with an open basement that added another story to the fall. The space is crisscrossed at random intervals by escalators, presumably because the architects felt that disorientation and an inability to find the toilets were integral parts of the shopping experience.”

* * *

A particularly mournful song plays a huge role in this book – here’s Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse singing Body and Soul.


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