Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth

Title: Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders
Author: Gyles Brandreth
ISBN: 9780719569302
Publisher: John Murray Publishers
No. of pages: 355
Rating: 7/10

Synopsis (from
This work is set in London, 1889. Oscar Wilde, celebrated poet, wit, playwright and raconteur is the literary sensation of his age. All Europe lies at his feet. Yet when he chances across the naked corpse of sixteen-year-old Billy Wood, posed by candlelight in a dark stifling attic room, he cannot ignore the brutal murder. With the help of fellow author Arthur Conan Doyle he sets out to solve the crime - but it is Wilde's unparalleled access to all degrees of late Victorian life, from society drawing rooms and the bohemian demi-monde to the underclass, that will prove the decisive factor in their investigation of what turns out to be a series of brutal killings. The Oscar Wilde Murders is a gripping detective story of corruption and intrigue, of Wilde's growing success, of the breakdown of his marriage, and of his fatal friendship with Aidan Fraser, Inspector at Scotland Yard! Set against the exotic background of fin-de-siecle London, Paris, Oxford and Edinburgh, Gyles Brandreth recreates Oscar Wilde's trademark sardonic wit with huge flair, intertwining all the intrigue of the classic English murder mystery with a compelling portrait of one of the greatest characters of the Victorian age.

If Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle had ever teamed up in reality, then this would have been exactly how it happened! Brandreth has captured the essence of both these astounding authors and combined their characters to superb effect in a crime novel that is every bit as clever and witty as the protagonists of the story.

The story is exciting and so full of twists and turns that the reader is kept on the edge of their seat from start to finish, and it’s so well written that once could really believe one was listening to Oscar and Arthur first hand. Their interaction and escapades remains faithful to both and the historical context is superbly represented.

If you like historical crime fiction, then please, do not hesitate to pick up this novel, especially if one admires the works of Wilde and Doyle - you will be in for a treat!


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