Choice quotes from Ben Aaronovitch: Foxglove Summer

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 Five: Foxglove Summer
(the latest, where the protagonist takes a break from London)

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On the Theory of Evolution:

“Above and behind me the unicorn snorted its frustration and stamped the ground. I was fairly certain it wasn’t going to attempt such a steep slope.

This is where the whole ape-descended thing reveals its worth, I thought madly, sucks to be you, quadruped. Opposable thumbs – don’t leave home without them.”

* * *
On the [mis]use of Latin phrases and the allusion to The Game of Thrones:

“Hail the conquering hero,” said Beverley and held up her bottle to clink.

“sic transit Gloria mundi,” I said, because it was the first thing that came into my head – we clinked and drank. It could have been worse.

I could have said “Valar Morghulis” instead.

* * *
My personal favourite, experienced daily as a civil servant…on Official-Speak:

“I made a mental note to wheedle the list of old codgers out of Nightingale and get it properly sorted into a database. Hugh’s “grapevine” might be a useful source of information. If I’d been about four ranks higher up the hierarchy I’d have regarded it as an opportunity to realise additional intelligence assets through enhanced stakeholder engagement. But I’m just a constable so I didn’t.”

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Choice quotes from Ben Aaronovitch: Broken Homes

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 Four: Broken Homes

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A commentary on the state of surveillance:

“The problem with the so-called bloody surveillance state is that it’s hard work trying to track someone’s movements using CCTV – especially if they’re on foot. Part of the problem is that the cameras all belong to different people for different reasons. Westminster Council has a network for traffic violations, the Oxford Street Trading Association has a huge network aimed at shoplifters and pickpockets, individual shops have their own systems, as do pubs, clubs and buses. When you walk around London it is important to remember that Big Brother may be watching you, or he could be having a piss, or reading the paper or helping redirect traffic around a car accident or maybe he’s just forgotten to turn the bloody thing on.”

* * *
Elephant and Castle: most people know it as the location of the Imperial War Museum, or, more likely, the Ministry of Sound, but I knew it first as the address of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. If Mettab is unfamiliar to you, perhaps the names of the late preacher Charles Spurgeon, or the incumbent Peter Masters, would ring a bell. Prolific Christian writers they are – stocked up my Christian bookshelf with a number of their books upon visiting the Mettab in-house book store.

(I realise it is rather incongruous to speak of Christian writing in light of fangirling over a book on magic so i shall stop here.)

My salient memory of Elephant and Castle is not the church though, but the seemingly endless tunnels one trudges through in order to get to your destination. Odd, but better this than waiting for the lights to turn in your favour.

Choice quotes from Ben Aaronovitch: Whispers Underground

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 Three: Whispers Underground

This book focuses on the tube, and was actually the first book of the series that i came across.

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The classic English complaint about the weather:

“The media response to unusual weather is as ritualized and predictable as the stages of grief.

First comes denial: “I can’t believe there’s so much snow.”

Then anger: “Why can’t I drive my car, why are the trains not running?”

Then blame: “Why haven’t the local authorities sanded the roads, where are the snowplows, and how come the Canadians can deal with this and we can’t?”

This last stage goes on the longest and tends to trail off into a mumbled grumbling background moan, enlivened by occasional ‘illegals ate my snowplow’ headlines from the Daily Mail, which continues until the weather clears up.”

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

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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.

Choice quotes from Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London

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 1: Rivers of London (or, Midnight Riot in the US)

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The reader’s introduction to the Folly:

“The address I wanted had a noticeably grander flight of stairs than its neighbours, leading to double mahogany doors with brass fittings. Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST.

Science points east, I wondered. Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?”

* * *
Some relationship advice from PC Peter Grant:

“I wanted to watch her tuck her long legs under the dash, but I figured the temperature was high enough already. My dad had once told me that the secret to a happy life was never to start something with a girl unless you were willing to follow wherever it leads. It’s the best piece of advice he’s ever given me and probably the reason I was born.”