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Having read the first two books in this series, I naturally plodded on to the third - the Dead Man's Smile. As other reviewers have said, this book goes further back in time and is set in a decade which preceeds the previous two volumes' settings. Also, the story is removed (relatively) far away from the streets of London and based primarily in Paris. For me, part of the charm of the previous books was the way Brandreth used his first hand knowledge of London - a city many English readers will be at least vaguely familiar with - to recreate street-by-street detail. Those familar, or au fait, with the urban layout of Paris may really enjoy a simialr aspect in this third volume, but for me (despite having visited Paris a fair few times), I quite missed the familiar and intruiging Victorian London setting. At the same time, hats must be taken off to Brandreth for doing something different and sharing experience of his time in France with the reader. Now, as for the plot/substance of this novel, it would have been rather difficult to guess the outcome and identity of the murderer from reading the first 90% of the novel. Very few clues are given. I quite like that, however, as it leaves the reader free to come up with their own idea; not from clues in things said or done, but from the more general impression one gets from the characters. This is where Brandreth excels, in my opinion. His books are not merely a game whereby the observant reader spots references to the odd object/quote here and there, and pieces together clues in their own head. Brandreth is very strong at creating characters - not always transparent or easy to understand - but often complex/realistic enough to give the plot some extra dimension. That being said, I can think of one or two characters in this book who seem to be as animate/complex as your average ammonite (Eddie Garstang - the lone American in particular). All in all, this was a very enjoyable read and the fact that I instantly ordered the fourth volume on my Kindle, a matter of seconds after finishing this, is testament to the quality of the entire series.
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on 15 September 2014
I am becoming annoyed with the author of these stories. I liked the first couple I read, but the author is breaking all the 'rules' of a good mystery writer. The main character makes accusations against people, convincing everyone in the book, as well as the reader, that someone is guilty, and someone else isn't because s/he couldn't possibly have...... whatever. And at the very end, suddenly the tables are completely turned. All of the 'clues' provided throughout the book are swept aside as meaningless and the reader is left wondering how the main character worked this out! There's a lot of useless dialogue that might be witty, but means nothing as far as solving the crime. The books are nice period pieces and I enjoy the Wilde witticisms, but the 'mystery' element is not handled well.
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on 17 September 2012
How wonderful to read yet another book in the series, where Gyles Brandreth brings together the genius of Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle in a retrospective murder mystery. The depth of writing is indicative of a great degree of research on the part of the author. I have read this series of books. Whilst a further book would be welcomed, it is appreciated that there would be a finite timeline; a lack of fresh material. I would re-read the series of books; a rarity for me.
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on 12 July 2016
Gyles Brandreth is an intelligent writer and these books are well researched and gripping.
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on 2 August 2017
As promised.
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on 13 January 2013
I did not enjoy this as much as the other books in the series.I did not like the characters verymuch and
possibly because it was not set in London. I like to see how familiar places have changed.
There was not enough action and too much description.
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on 23 February 2016
Excellent read yet again by Gyles Brandreth.
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on 19 October 2016
Brilliantly written and utterly gripping!
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on 23 December 2015
Ss advertised. Thank you
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on 7 December 2014
Fantastic.
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