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Rivers of London is a comic book spinoff of the book series of the same name by Ben Aaronovitch. The comics are co-written with Andrew Cartmel and published by Titan Comics.

Volumes in the series are:

  • Body Work
  • Night Witch
  • Black Mould
  • Detective Stories
  • Cry Fox
  • Water Weed
  • Action at a Distance
  • The Fey and the Furious (begins November 2019)


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: In Cry Fox, children are being kidnapped for a sadistic hunting game. This happens to Abigail Kamara and Anna Yakunina after the former is tricked into approaching the latter.
  • Alliterative Title: Water Weed and The Fey and the Furious.
  • All Just a Dream: Bonus story "Sleep No More" is revealed at the end to be a nightmare Stephanopoulos had. So she chucks the book that apparently gave her the dream (The Rainbow Guide to Lesbian Fostering and Adoption) in the bin and goes back to sleep.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: At the beginning of Night Witch, Aleksandr, one of the mobsters who attacks the truck carrying Tamonina, loses his right arm in her counterattack.
  • Art Shift: In Night Witch, a flashback to Varvara getting stoned in The '70s does one to the art style of Robert Crumb.
  • Badass in Distress: In Night Witch, Nightingale is taken prisoner by goons working for Nestor Yakunin via the means of a family being held hostage in Russia that will be killed if he tries to escape, with a live video feed transmitted to a TV in his cell. He's only able to escape after the family is rescued.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Cry Fox begins in a demimonde pub that Reynard Fossman apparently has a habit of departing from via the window in the gents. He's unable to do so this time because the window has been replaced.
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  • Bedsheet Ghost: In Body Work, Peter references the trope while looking at the dust sheet Nightingale removed from the haunted Bentley.
    "Cut out some eye-holes and we could go trick or treating."
  • Book-Ends: The opening and closing narration of Body Work has the same saying:
    Beginning: They say that life is something that happens while you're making other plans. Unfortunately... so is death.
    Ending: That was the plan. But they say that life is what happens while you're making other plans. So is death. But fortunately... so is Nightingale.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Body Work, Guleed muses to herself while going through a list of people who were sold parts from a haunted car:
    "I could have been chasing war criminals... or bankers. Or war criminal bankers..."
  • Burn the Witch!: In Body Work, both instances of possession, in the present and 1929. have origins related to this. The possessed BMWs in the present come about because the Mapstone sisters and their friends burned an old ducking chair that a woman drowned in while being tried for witchcraft, and the 1929 incident came about because four wizards made an impulsive attempt to dispel a haunting at a monument to people who died by burning.
  • Call-Back:
    • A minor plotline in Black Mould involves Nightingale and Thomas Debden dealing with an ice-cream truck containing the last part from the haunted BMW from Body Work, an MP3 player.
    • Cry Fox kicks off with the kidnapping of Ludmila Yakunina's daughter, now in foster care, for a ransom, done via supernatural means. And at the beginning, Peter, Nightingale and Varvara go into a demimonde pub to deliver a warning to people trying to hire fae to attack the Night Witch that she's under the Folly's protection. As well, Reynard Fossman's role in the story mirrors Lesley May's role in Night Witch, including ending up with the ransom for a kidnapped child, but the police know he was involved in this incident, although they have no proof they can give to a court of law.
  • Call-Forward: In the last casefile of Detective Stories, set before the first book, Inspector Neblett tells an officer from CID that he's trying to get Peter out of his desire to join that unit because he believes that Peter's true skills lie in administration.
  • The Cameo: Reuel McBeene-Smith, the posh drug dealer from Body Work, makes an appearance in Night Witch bonus strip "Carnival Fireworks" having a brief run-in with Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina, who lights a joint he and a friend are smoking.
  • Catapult Nightmare: In bonus story "Sleep No More", Stephanopoulos wakes up this way from the nightmare she just had.
  • Character Title: Night Witch.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Cry Fox, Anya Yakunina is carrying a stuffed toy in her knapsack when she's kidnapped, which goons Velvet and Veins decide to let her keep since she's going to need it. It turns out that Ludmila Yakunina's diamonds, which are used as the ransom, are hidden inside.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The first casefile of Detective Stories ends with the reveal that Tony Harden, the man who set the goat on fire, learned the magic to do so from another employee of Bock, Loup & Stag named Patrick Gale, a former Little Crocodile. Gale plays a more substantial role in the novel Lies Sleeping, published later.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The further, illustrated adventures of Peter Grant and company.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Body Work: When Peter mentions that Nightingale wants him to be more discreet, Guleed reminds him that he knocked down a tower block and set Covent Garden on fire.
    • Night Witch:
      • Sounding out the notes of Peter's ringtone when his phone goes off reveals it to be the Imperial March, which he'd said was his usual ringtone in Foxglove Summer.
      • Tamonina got awarded a Hero of the Soviet Union medal in the seventies for dealing with a compromised official who'd been visiting the first Faceless Man's twisted Soho nightclub.
    • Cry Fox: Molly serves Abigail ice cream from the ice cream maker in the haunted ice cream truck from Black Mould, which the owner didn't want back after the haunting was dealt with.
  • Covert Distress Code: In Night Witch, Nightingale uses one in a Hostage Video he's forced to appear in that he learned working in India before World War II, involving specific words which mean certain things, and according to the man who taught it to him works best against people who are not native English speakers.
  • Crying Wolf: In Cry Fox, Ludmila Yakunina gets some of this from DI Stephanopoulos when she reports that her daughter Anya has been kidnapped, due to the fact that one of the crimes for which she is in jail is staging the kidnapping of said daughter. However, the police investigation quickly finds that Anna Yakunina is actually missing, confirming Ludmila's statement. Peter, Nightingale and Stephanopoulos speculate that the abductors were intentionally trying to invoke this to buy themselves time, but were just a little bit too clever.
  • Crystal Ball: In Body Work, after Nightingale removes a supernaturally-contaminated windscreen from one of the possessed BMWs, he uses magic to compress it into a perfect sphere. Debden immediately wonders if it's possible to see the future in it.
  • Demonic Possession: In Body Work, this is what drives the plot. The Mapstone sisters and their friends burned an old, hated antique at a picnic, which was actually a ducking chair used for witchcraft trials that a woman died in. This releases a vengeful entity which possesses Celeste Mapstone's new car and her sister Kimberly, the only person not drinking or taking drugs that night. A similar incident in 1929, where four young wizards attempted to dispel a haunting at a monument to people executed for witchcraft, led to another haunted car and the possession of the only sober wizard present, who later hung himself. Then, after Celeste notices the effect the car is having on her sister, she brings it to a scrapyard to be destroyed, but the mechanic, not knowing the full story or the existence of the supernatural, simply breaks it up for parts and installs said parts in several other cars of the same make...
  • Dramatic Irony: In Night Witch, only the readers know the full extent of the involvement of Lesley May and her boss the Faceless Man in the plot. Peter and Nightingale find out that Nestor Yakunin has business ties to County Gard, one of the Faceless Man's front companies, but they and the other police don't know that Nestor decided to try going to the Faceless Man for help after Tamonina declined to do so, letting him, his wife and their associates be manipulated by his proxy Lesley before she steals the ransom money. The comic even ends on Peter and Nightingale wondering who stole the ransom...
  • Driven to Suicide: In Body Work, it is revealed that in 1929 Archie Boatright, a Folly magician and friend of Nightingale, killed himself after being driven mad through possession by a vengeful entity.
  • Faked Kidnapping: In Night Witch, the missing girl has in fact been tucked away in a secluded house by her mother, Ludmila Yakunina, who intends to leave her husband and return to Russia with her daughter, because she misses her homeland and thinks her daughter is becoming too English. Ludmila just needs the hefty ransom from Nestor in order to have a nest egg for her new life. It would have worked if she hadn't decided to claim that a magical creature had been the abductor...
  • Finger Snap Lighter: Tamonina does this in a Night Witch bonus strip to light a spliff being smoked by Reuel McBeene-Smith and his friend.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Night Witch, Ludmila Yakunina distrusts the police and tries to persuade her husband to not get the authorities involved in the disappearance of their daughter. This is because Ludmila is the one responsible, as she wants to leave her husband and take her daughter to Russia.
    • In Detective Stories, after the first casefile, Peter gets a text from Lesley advising him to tell DI Chopra about the "digital flasher". For the last casefile, he does.
  • Framing Device: Detective Stories is framed as Peter recounting some of the strangest cases of his career while undergoing an examination to officially become a detective.
  • Genre Savvy: In Cry Fox, Abigail figures out what her captors plan to do with her, despite unfamiliarity with The Most Dangerous Game, because her mother's favourite movie, a poster of which is displayed in Alaric's library, was inspired by the story. She also realizes, prior to this, that her captors probably don't plan to let her leave alive because they let her wander over most of the estate and have stopped wearing face-concealing clothing.
  • Gratuitous Russian: The covers of Night Witch all have the title in Russian on the front since the titular character, Tamonina, is Russian (Ночные Колдуньи, Nochnye Koldunyi). This does not extend to the trade paperback, sadly.
  • Groin Attack: In Cry Fox, Abigail kicks Alaric Robinette in the groin after being saved from his attempt at human hunting. Nightingale sharply reminds her that they don't treat their prisoners like that.
  • History Repeats: Body Work is about an incident involving possessed automobiles in the present day that echoes something that happened in 1929.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Night Witch, Ludmila Yakunina's plan to leave her husband and return to Russia with her daughter, the ransom money paid by her husband and, hopefully, her lover goes sideways thanks to her decision to initially claim that she'd seen the signs of the abduction being perpetrated by a leshy, a Russian forest spirit. This leads her husband Nestor to try and recruit the aid of practitioners in solving the case: first Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina, which gets the Folly involved; and then the Faceless Man, who sends Lesley May. This leads to the ransom money being stolen by Lesley after she and her boss manipulate the conspirators into a bad position, and Ludmila's arrest after she tries to shoot her husband during a robbery attempt and her lover takes the bullet for Nestor. (Nestor is also arrested for, among other things, kidnapping a police officer.)
  • Hostage Situation: Night Witch has this more than once.
    • Lesley May advises the Yakunins that the best way for them to put pressure on the Folly is with one of these, and suggests the civilian Beverley Brook because she's Peter's girlfriend. However, Lesley is perfectly well aware that Beverley, as one of the Rivers, is more than the Yakunins' Russian Mafia thugs will be able to handle. Her true intent in this is to place the Yakunins in a position where whatever they do next will be beneficial to her, which works perfectly.
    • After the above first try fails, Nestor Yakunin pulls a twofer by capturing Nightingale via having a family in Russia held hostage and shown to him via live video, with the threat that they will be killed if he doesn't submit. Ultimately, Tamonina is forced to make a call to a former comrade in Russia to ensure the family's rescue, thus allowing Nightingale to escape.
  • Hostage Video: Night Witch has two instances:
    • After Nightingale's abduction, Peter is e-mailed a video of him explaining the kidnappers' demands, in which he's inserted a code message using specific words to give Peter instructions about what he wants him to do.
    • Nightingale is kidnapped in the first place by being shown a live broadcast of a family being held hostage in Russia, with a guard under orders to kill them if Nightingale escapes or resists capture.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In Cry Fox, Abigail and Guleed are abducted to take place in a sadistic human-hunting game run by a wealthy mother-and-son duo. The son, Alaric Robinette, is actually obsessed with The Most Dangerous Game and has a collection of every separate instance of the story in print he can get his hands on, as well as movies based on it. As for why those two specifically were kidnapped? Reynard Fossman's attempt at revenge on the Folly.
  • I Have Your Wife: In Cry Fox, Reynard Fossman forces a talking fox to lie to Abigail, as part of a plan to lure her and Anya Yakunina into a trap, by holding his mate and child hostage.
  • Imagine Spot: In Night Witch, Nightingale outlines exactly how he would escape from where he's being held and how long he expects it would take him. However, he doesn't dare because of the family being held hostage with their lives in danger if he tries.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In the first casefile of Detective Stories, Peter realizes that James Slack's lawyer Jack Doyle knows more about the burned goat than he seems because he mentions a "rooftop barbecue". Peter points out to DI Chopra that none of the police had mentioned cooking anything when stating why they'd brought Slack in.
  • Information Broker: In Night Witch, Peter and Varvara visit a Russian expat described with those exact words for information on what's been going on in Russia that could lead to the Yakunins' daughter being a kidnapping target.
  • Interquel: Body Work, the first story, is set between previously-published novels Broken Homes and The Hanging Tree.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: In a very mild example, in the bonus strip "Carnival Fireworks", Reuel McBeene-Smith and friend's reactions to seeing Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina light their joint with a flame from her finger is to conclude that "This is great weed!"
  • Mugging the Monster: Some Russian mobsters try to infiltrate the home of Beverley Brook in Night Witch. Unsurprisingly, they end up cleaning the house instead of doing any harm.
  • Mundanger: In Night Witch, the twist is that this trope applies. There was no leshy involved. Ludmila Yakunina was responsible for her daughter's disappearance and lied as part of her plan. However, this lie led to her husband attempting to enlist assistance from practitioners, which results in the Folly and the other police being a Spanner in the Works to her plan to take her daughter back to Russia.
  • Never Heard That One Before: In Night Witch, a run in with Varvara has left a Russian mobster's arm as forensic evidence. Peter asks the forensic investigator on sight if anybody's told the joke; "Well, I guess he's 'armless", yet. The investigator rolls her eyes and says everybody has told the joke. This becomes a running gag when Walid asks the same question at the lab.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In Body Work, the reaction of Kim Mapstone's friends when she starts driving towards the pond near her house and won't stop, when they pull her hands off the wheel only to find the vehicle is driving itself, when a crowd of angry people from the 1600s in full Burn the Witch! mode appear in the car windows, and finally when the car goes in the water.
    • Cry Fox:
      • Abigail and Anya's reaction when they realize that they're being kidnapped.
      • Abigail and Guleed's reactions when they're told they're being forced to be targets in a human hunt. During the hunt, they then get this again when after removing their tracking bracelets, the hunters still seem to know where they are, and they discover that the letter opener Abigail stole to saw off the trackers also has a tracker hidden inside it.
  • Playing Drunk: In bonus strip "General Vodka", Peter and Nightingale pretend they're passed-out drunk as Varvara boasts of having won the drinking contest they were all partaking in.
  • Playing with Fire: In the first casefile of Detective Stories, Tony Harden knew enough magic to be able to set a goat on fire, but he didn't know how to do magic without giving himself brain damage, resulting in his death not that long afterward.
  • Pop the Tires: At the beginning of Night Witch, one of the mobsters uses an expandable spike strip against the truck carrying Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina so the van with the rest of the Russian Mafia members can force the truck to stop.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Alaric Robinette from Cry Fox is obsessed with re-enacting The Most Dangerous Game with himself as General Zaroff, something his mother is equally keen on. And he definitely comes off as childish in aspects of his behaviour.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In the third casefile in Detective Stories, a ghost and an old woman give conflicting accounts of the events leading up to the ghost's murder. It is not made clear who's telling the truth, but it's hinted that it might be the old woman.
  • Removed from the Picture: In Night Witch, Lesley May has a photo of herself and Peter from their graduation from the police academy with her own face scribbled out, implied to be because of some internal conflict over her decisions and trauma over what happened to her face.
  • Revenge:
    • In Black Mould, the mould was unleashed by a woman who wanted revenge on the slumlord whose filthy properties killed her husband.
    • The plot of Cry Fox turns out to have been orchestrated by Reynard Fossman as an attempt to both net himself a windfall (which works, via Anna Yakunina's ransom, paid in diamonds) and to get back at the Folly by trying to get Abigail and Guleed, the most vulnerable associates, killed (which nearly succeeds, but Nightingale arrives just in time).
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: Water Weed kicks off when Chelsea and Olympia Thames hijack the boat of a drug courier on the river.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Cry Fox has a relatively understated version of this with Alaric Robinette's library. It looks relatively normal until you notice that all of the books are copies of The Most Dangerous Game and magazines and anthologies it was published in, and the movie posters from adaptations of said short story and movies inspired by it, hinting at Mr. Robinette's particular sadistic fantasy.
  • Self-Restraint: In Night Witch, Varvara Tamonina points out that she's perfectly capable of escaping from the prison she's serving her sentence in any time, but that she hasn't says something about her.
  • Series Continuity Error: In Detective Stories, PC Purdy from Moon Over Soho is given the first name "John". In the book, his first name was Philip.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: The final casefile of Detective Stories concerns Peter and Lesley's hunt for a male flasher wearing one of these who's been exposing himself to women in the area. It turns out the flasher is actually fully-dressed under his coat and was using a special apron to project a digital image of a naked body.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: In Night Witch, Tamonina expresses the idea that doing good gets you nothing, speaking from how she became a POW in World War II.
  • Stab the Salad: In the "Tales from the Folly" vignette "Red Mist", Molly is seen wielding a knife ominously while red stuff sprays everywhere and someone whimpers. Naturally, she's just chopping tomatoes, and the whimpering is Toby begging for a sausage.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: In Body Work, Nightingale is looking for Peter, who isn't answering his phone. So he goes and asks Beverley Brook and Nathaniel the troll, neither of whom know where Peter is either. The latter, however, tells Nightingale that he should just ask the other police, and suggests that Nightingale didn't think of that because until recently he usually worked alone.
  • Sword Cane: Nightingale has one in Black Mould.
  • Taking the Bullet: At the end of Night Witch, Semyon Petrovich is killed protecting Nestor Yakunin this way. The shooter, Ludmila Yakunina, is very upset as she had been hoping he would come with her back to Russia.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: In Cry Fox, Ludmila Yakunina is delivered a mobile phone in prison with which she is contacted by her daughter's kidnappers. At the end of the conversation, she is advised to throw the phone into the toilet as it's been rigged to self-destruct with acid on command.
  • Torture Porn: Tony Harden, from the first casefile of Detective Stories, decorated his flat with this kind of still life artwork in a deliberate attempt to desensitize himself to others' suffering.
  • Tracking Device: In Cry Fox, Abigail and Guleed get ankle monitors when they're kidnapped by a group of sadistic rich people who want to hunt them. Abigail steals a letter opener and some wires to mislead the pursuers, but it turns out they put a tracker inside the letter opener as well, leading the hunters to nearly catch up with them before Nightingale turns up.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: Body Work kicks off with Euan Ferguson drowning after his car plunges into the Thames. At the end, the same fate nearly befalls the possessed Kimberly Mapstone and her two friends after the entity possessing her makes her drive the last of the possessed automobiles into a duck pond, but fortunately Nightingale arrives and rips the top off of the car, allowing them to float right up.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In Body Work, Kimberly Mapstone's account of the drugged-out picnic and what happened afterwards turns out to be skewed by the fact that her status as the only person who stayed sober that night led to her possession by the same entity that also inhabited her sister's car.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Night Witch starts off with an attempt to "rescue" Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina from a prison transport van. She refutes the offer with an ice attack, as she just wants to finish her sentence and live in peace.
  • Vehicular Assault: Body Work is about cars attacking people. They're all BMWs repaired with replacement parts from a specific BMW possessed by a vengeful entity released by the burning of an old ducking stool, which the owner attempted to have destroyed after she realized there was something wrong with it. The car that got the engine drives its owner into the Thames, and the one with the windshield causes the driver to hit the owner of the original car by making him see her as a soldier he saw committing war crimes in Bosnia. The last car, once driven by the possessed Kimberly Mapstone, makes her drive into the ducking pond before she and her friends are rescued by Nightingale.
  • Vehicular Kidnapping: In Night Witch, Nightingale is made to get into a van and is driven away after being shown a live broadcast of hostages who will be killed if he tries to resist or escape.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Part of the backstory of Body Work. Julie Goring poured water into the fuel tank of her ex Euan Ferguson's car in an attempt to get him to take her back. He didn't press charges because she knew a place where the repairs could be done cheap — Thomas Debden's scrapyard. This led to Ferguson's death, as the new engine came from a car possessed by a malign entity, leading to his car going into the Thames, where he drowned.
  • Woman Scorned: In the backstory of Body Work, Julie Goring poured water into the fuel tank of her ex-boyfriend Euan Ferguson's car in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to take her back. This ultimately led to Ferguson's death when Julie offered to pay for the repairs because she knew a mechanic who'd do it for cheap, and he installed the engine of a car of the same make that he'd broken down for parts, which had, unfortunately, been possessed by a malign entity, leading the car to drive into the Thames with Ferguson inside.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In Cry Fox, DC Guleed is kidnapped when she tries to stop a fake mugging perpetuated by Veins and Ms. Robinette, at which point she's hit with a sleep dart.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In Night Witch, the Faceless Man advises Lesley over the phone that people are unreliable, so it's hard to get them to do what you want. Instead, the trick is to arrange things so that whatever someone does is ultimately in your benefit. The story itself has elements of this, as Lesley manipulates the Yakunins and company so that they're both arrested while Lesley scarpers off with the ransom money, with the police unaware at the end that she was ever involved in the first place, by telling Nestor Yakunin that the best thing to do to put pressure on the Folly was to try and hold Beverley Brook, a goddess with the power of glamour, hostage.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In Night Witch, it turns out that Ludmila Yakunina has apparently been cheating on her husband at least part of the time with his chief of security Semyon Petrovich. Part of her plan to return to Russia involves inviting him along, as she hopes they can be together. However, he wasn't aware of her plans.


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