In the third part of Whispers Under Ground, things get murkier than ever. Also, more dangerous…
… I still have no bloody idea what’s going on here, though after these chapters I am more eager than ever to find out!
So Peter is on the trail of whoever is supplying the deadly earthenware, and also trying to figure out how James Gallagher could have ended up where he did if there are really no secret entry points to the Underground. Spoiler: there are. And I want to talk about those because I really enjoyed the mention, and the explanation, of London’s ‘fake’ houses – the empty facades that are used to conceal a bunch of giant vents, I suppose, above the London Underground system. They go back to the first days of the system, when we were still using steam trains but the Underground’s engineers were too impatient to wait a few decades for electricity to come along. So they put steam trains underground. Part of me sees the utter stupidity of it, but another part of me loves the idea.
Anyway! To sum up, Peter takes Sergeant Kumar of the BTP on an underground adventure, and naturally it all goes hair-raisingly wrong when they’re attacked in the sewers by … Who was that? Or perhaps ‘what’ is a more appropriate question? I DON’T KNOW. I mean, their attacker is described as being strange-looking, and the fact that he/it uses a very outdated weapon (I had to google Sten guns) could maybe point to the existence of someone or something living down there that doesn’t come up very often and has been down there for a long time…?
But then they do re-emerge, the fight continues (by the way, just what the heck is Agent Reynolds’s game really? HOW MUCH DOES SHE KNOW?) and Peter ends up trapped (literally) under the ground, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute because oh my GOD the claustrophobia, this week. The entirety of the underground investigation scene was creepy to me in a way many things aren’t, because I get so easily freaked out by deep, dark, confined spaces. Imagining being down there was an exercise in uncomfortable squirming, let me tell you.
So I went through all of that, and I STILL don’t understand much more about what’s going on here. Peter speculates about their killer somehow possibly being connected with the currently evasive Faceless Man, but I’d be happy just finding out who or what this killer actually is!
Then came the apparent burial of Peter Grant. Reader, I needed so much tea during this. ‘Deeper and darker’ isn’t just a literal description of events here; I’m pretty sure this takes us to new depths of creepiness in the series. And as for Peter’s ‘hallucination’ – was that all it was, or was it a real time-jump? I suspect it was real, in a sort of out-of-body/near-death experience kind of way. And the hints that Punch is somehow still important to the larger story arc here … That is not comforting, Aaronovitch. It’s not comforting at all!
Sooooo yes. I don’t blame him at all for ending Friday with a hard nap. I would too. Jesus.
So many questions remain. How many will the finale actually answer? I NEED TO FIND OUT.