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Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death: Oscar Wilde Mystery: 2 Paperback – 1 May 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 May 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719569702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719569708
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.3 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,242,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Hugely enjoyable' (Daily Mail)

'Rather fun ...Brandreth unashamedly wheels out a cast of historical characters to die for' (Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times)

'A neat take on the big hitters in the book world just over a century ago ... Gyles is a joy to the nation' (Virginia Blackburn, Daily Express)

'A clever concept spiced with great Wilde epigrams' (Daily Telegraph)

'He has won great acclaim for his series of Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries ... as witty and entertaining as his hero, Gyles is renowned for his charisma and charm' (Daily Mail)

'The last novel I read was The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries ... it was very good' (Nicholas Parsons, Daily Telegraph)

'A carnival of cliffhangers and fiendish twists-and-turns' (Sunday Express)

An amusing and satisfactorily unlikely story (Jessica Mann, Literary Review)

One of the most enjoyable crime series around ... He slips easily into the 21st century, does this Oscar (imagine, if you can, an even higher-wattage Stephen Fry), just as, thanks to Brandreth, we as readers are able to travel effortlessly back to join him in his own age. It is well worth the journey - and I can't wait until the next one. (Scotsman)

'Brandreth's knowledge of fin-de-siecle London, of the social and political history of the period and, above all, of Wilde himself is most impressive. Wildean witticisms abound' (Brian Maye, Irish Times)

'Terrifically well researched, it all whizzes along and the reader can have fun identifying the real Wilde's witticisms from Brandreth's' (Scotland on Sunday)

'As much imaginative biography as murder mystery, this book paints a lively portrait of Wilde at the height of his fame' (Irish Examiner)

It's all mid-morning bracers, detections based on the shininess of shoes, hansom cabs and gems like "work is the best antidote to sorrow" as we gallivant around 1890's London. Wilde is a tough subject to make boring, but this is great escapism (Danny Wheeler, London Lite)

'Brandreth really has got the measure of his subject, catching the essence of the great man at almost every turn' (Yorkshire Evening Post)

[A] deservedly well-received series (District Messenger)

'Gyles Brandreth has done a great job with this continuing series...I'm wild about Wilde' (Birmingham Sunday Mercury)

'Sparking dialogue, as you would expect, mystery piled deliciously upon mystery, a plot with a pace and a panache and a London backdrop that would grace any Victorian theatre' (Steve Craggs, Northern Echo)

'That curious, uneasy shadowland of late Victorian London, where Society, Art and Popular Entertainment overlap, is richly evoked, and the details of Wilde's life are mentioned by Sherard ... in a perfectly natural, convincing manner: the man he presents to us is both the authentic Oscar and the authentic amateur sleuth' (District Messenger)

'A good read' (Woman's Way)

'Utterly charming caper of murder and wit . . . my reader loves them' (Bookseller)

'Brandreth characterises Wilde with great finesse and provides an unconventional and languid narrative to match' (Tangled Web (online))

'Brandreth writes with a light touch, but conveys a sense of the moral hypocrisy and oppressive class system of the time. What raises this book several notches above most mysteries is the authentic historical detail and the engaging portrait of Wilde ... sparkling bits of wit and wisdom' (Historical Novels Review)

'Highly acclaimed Oscar Wilde murder mysteries ... richly described background of fin-de-siecle London' (Greenock Telegraph)

'Engaging, entertaining and skilfully written' (The Sydney Morning Herald)

'One of the most enjoyable (series) around' (Diplomat Magazine)

'Gyles is a joy to the nation.' (International Express)

'Wickedly imagined and wildly entertaining' (Good Book Guide)

'An enjoyable read' (MX Magazine (Australia))

'Give a big, fat, sloppy kiss to the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, a sharply-written, deeply urbane and ongoing series' (QX International)

'Plenty of cliff hangers, and twists in the tale to keep even the most avid crime buff flicking pages 'till last in the night' (Birmingham Sunday Mercury)

Book Description

In OSCAR WILDE AND THE RING OF DEATH, the second in Gyles Brandreth's acclaimed Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries series featuring Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle, a parlour game of 'Murder' has lethal consequences... 'Intelligent, amusing and entertaining' Alexander McCall Smith

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As always Brandreth has produced two most original works .................... or has he ? beware, I bought two books from amazon one entitled " a game called murder " and one called "ring of death"
Goody, settle down by the fire two new novels to read.
Hang on they are identical.
I should have smelled a rat when the dog didn`t bark.
I think the law of public opinion (topical) should insist that messrs amaz** should make it clear they are selling the same book under two different names.
Buyer beware, I was taken once before when I bought a "New" John Grisham title It was in Spanish!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having devoured the first book in this serious, I felt compelled to try the second offering. And it was excellent. You can read this as a standalone book having never touched anything else from the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries series, as the series seems to jump around in dates/location and the books do not necessarily follow on from each other (this is a strength, rather than weakeness!).

Brandreth takes the reader across London and the UK in 1892, through a series of remarkable locations with a number of contemporaries; not least including Arthur Conan Doyle, but also Bram Stoker and many other familiar names. The book is peppered with Wilde's/Brandreth's witty epigrams, but not to the point of saturation. This is full of as many twists and turns as there are in the pebbled Victorian metrolpois in which the book is set. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really wanted to find something bad to say about the Oscar Wilde mystery series because I hate both Wilde and Brandreth. Wouldn't I just love to catch both out in a mis-quote. But try as I did, I couldn't find a flaw.

Oscar invites his friends at the Socrates Club to place the names of the one person they'd like to murder into a hat. The names are then drawn out. But what has Oscar done? The individuals whose names come out of the hat begin dying in suspicious circumstances, one by one.

The concept's absurd and over the top and so are the characters. But that's what makes it such rollicking good fun to read. Every bit as good as the first in the series, the Candlelight Murders. It would probably be more accurate to classify Brandreth's Wilde books as historical rather than crime fiction. His larger-than-life hero and his milieu, and atmosphere of fin de siecle London are the book's great selling points. Nevertheless, the murder mystery at the heart of the plot is sophisticated and as ingenious as you'd expect from a crime writer.

I will, however, reiterate the criticism which another reviewer makes - that the suspects are limited to those characters present at the Socrates dinner-party who do not have a real-life counterpart.
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Format: Paperback
More of the same in a book that is in some ways a match for Candlelight Murders (1st in the series) and in others an improvement.

The plot is certainly a good deal stronger. Here Wilde at a dinner for the Socrates Club, proposes a silly game whereby everyone must in secret write the name of who they would like to murder on a piece of paper. Arthur Conan Doyle finds the game in poor taste & is proved right as the victims nominated on paper slips are apparently being bumped off 1 by 1.
Wilde aided by his "Watson" Robert Sherrard and other friends must unravel the truth particularly as Oscar and wife Constance have been nominated for death too.

As before Wilde is well characterised as a bon vivant, ruthlessly witty and possibly feeling the need to live up to his reputation. Negative sides to his character are shown too e.g. his prejudice toward unnattractive people. He even seems relieved Sherrard and others are a little in love with Constance as noticing the changes age has wrought on her beauty, he has begun to find her less attractive.

He's clearly quite a drinker too as few chapters pass by without him stopping for a glass of something.

The cast of characters real and fictitious are good and the resolution ( I was half right) plays fair as one you can look back at the clues you missed.

I recommend this to those who enjoyed the Candlelight Murders and all who enjoy quirky detective stories.
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Format: Paperback
Oscar Wilde was very much a real person, but in Gyles Brandreth's series of detective novels he appears in fictional crime cases that contain some real people. In `Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death', Oscar finds himself investigating a series of murders that are all linked to a parlour game that he instigated. The cast includes, of course, Wilde, but also the likes of Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle. The influence of Conan Doyle is as pronounced as that of Wilde himself as the books read like Holmes novels with added wit. Wilde is able to use his keen intelligence and eye for detail to pick up on clues that most people would not see.

The book proved to be a pleasant read and Brandreth does seem very capable of capturing the late Victorian period and Wilde's role in it. However, the author almost appears to be having too much fun with the setting and characters, to the detriment of the actual mystery. The suspense of the book drops in and out as if Brandreth is only interested in crime when it suits him. This gives the book a slightly disjointed feel as it heads off on tangents on more than one occasion. The book is a decent enough read, but does not have the core story to really capture a crime fan's attention.
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