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Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders: Oscar Wilde Mystery: 1 Paperback – 10 Jan 2008
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Praise for Gyles Brandreth and Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders (-)
'Brandreth has poured his considerable familiarity with London into a witty fin de siecle entertainment, and the rattlingly elegant dialogue is peppered with witticisms uttered by Wilde well before he ever thought of putting them into his plays' (Sunday Times)
One of the most intelligent, amusing and entertaining books of the year. If Oscar Wilde himself had been asked to write this book he could not have done it any better.' (Alexander McCall Smith)
Genius . . . Wilde has sprung back to life in this thrilling and richly atmospheric new novel. . .The perfect topography for crime and mystery . . . magnificent . . . an unforgettable shocker about sex and vice, love and death (Sunday Express)
Very funny (Independent on Sunday)
Gyles Brandreth and Oscar Wilde seem made for one another . . . There is much here to enjoy . . . the complex and nicely structured plot zips along. (Daily Telegraph)
This is to be a series and if they're all as enjoyable as the first, they'll all be surefire best-sellers . . . The plot races along like a carriage pulled by thoroughbreds . . . So enjoyably plausible (The Scotsman)
Both a romp through fin-de-siècle London . . . and a carefully researched portrait of Oscar Wilde . . . Very entertaining (Literary Review)
Brandreth has the Wildean lingo down pat and the narrative is dusted with piquant social observations. A sparkling treat for fans of Wilde and Sherlock Holmes alike (Easy Living)
Wilde as detective is thoroughly convincing. . . . The period, and the two or three worlds in which Wilde himself moved, are richly evoked . . . Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders is an excellent detective story. I'm keenly looking forward to the rest of the series (The District Messenger, Journal of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London)
In OSCAR WILDE AND THE CANDLELIGHT MURDERS, the first in Gyles Brandreth's acclaimed Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries series featuring Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle, the brutal murder of a young rent-boy puts Oscar in grave danger... 'Intelligent, amusing and entertaining' Alexander McCall SmithSee all Product description
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It wears all its inspiration on its sleeve, from the author's own admiration of Oscar Wilde to the huge the debt to the Baker Street detective.
I'm very lazy with whodunnits and prefer to let them roll on without worrying about the final reveal, so if I was able to spot the murderer it must be pretty obvious. This doesn't spoil the book, though, and probably wasn't ever really the point, which is an enjoyable amble in the company of the author and his literary alter-ego, scattering allusions and bon-mots as they go.
I snatched up the whole series, which t the writer or publisher's credit seems to be permanently available at a generously affordable low price.
I would say that basically this is a murder mystery, played out in the style of Sherlock holmes, but the characters are a great addition.
Wilde is written brilliantly and expertly, there is no doubt that the character is Oscar Wilde, even right from the start. Brandreth has done an amazing job of capturing this character. As a fan of Wilde's work, and having read several books on him, and having watched the film, Wilde, I would say that brandreth could not have got a more accurate depiction of Wilde if he had tried! An excellent job indeed!
The character of Conan Doyle doesn't appear nearly as much as I would have thought, but this is in no way a hinderance to the story.
The tale is told from the point of view of Robert Sherard, who I believe was the great-grandson of William Wordsworth. Who was, in reality, a great friend of Wilde's. He is also a great friend of his in this book, and is an utterly brilliant character.
But enough of the characters! The murder mystery storyline itself must be discussed!
Honestly, it was brilliant! A compelling story, I was hooked and had to read it in one sitting. However, my main issue was that, while reading it, there seemed to be very little relating to the murder in the first half of the book. In the first pages, Oscar finds the body of Billy Wood, there is some discussion of him over the next 150 or so pages, but really very little to do with trying to solve the murder. I found this quite frustrating, and I nearly gave up on the book! But suddenly about halfway through, it picks up, and action happens left, right and centre until the very end of the book!
So if you are willing to persevere, then this book is a fantastic read! A cleverly considered story, and a wonderful cast of characters. I was not dissappointed, my 4 stars instead of 5 is simply because of the lack of stuff happening in the first half. But otherwise, this is one of the best 'crime' stories i have read, and I highly recommend it.
I also recommend the Lucifer Box series by Mark Gatiss, not as well written storyline wise, but the characters and writing have a similar style.
I also enjoyed the lurking presence of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson very much. To quote the Queen Mum - with whome Mr Brandreth was no doubt acquainted - "such fun".