Lovers of historical mysteries will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. The first in a series of fiendishly clever historical murder mysteries, it casts British literature’s most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth.
A young artist’s model has been murdered, and legendary wit Oscar Wilde enlists his friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard to help him investigate. But when they arrive at the scene of the crime they find no sign of the gruesome killing—save one small spatter of blood, high on the wall. Set in London, Paris, Oxford, and Edinburgh at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign, here is a gripping eyewitness account of Wilde’s secret involvement in the curious case of Billy Wood, a young man whose brutal murder served as the inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Told by Wilde’s contemporary—poet Robert Sherard—this novel provides a fascinating and evocative portrait of the great playwright and his own “consulting detective,” Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
Oscar Wilde makes a stylish sleuth in this clever series debut from Brandreth, a British author best known as a biographer (John Gielgud: An Actor's Life, etc.). Narrating the tale from his old age, poet Robert Sherard enjoys recalling the summer of 1889, when his friend Wilde was still celebrated and happily married. After discovering the butchered body of handsome young Billy Wood, Wilde fetches Sherard and his new friend Arthur Conan Doyle, but upon returning to the scene, they find neither body nor blood. Wilde and Sherard urge charismatic Scotland Yard Det. Insp. Aidan Fraser to investigate, but without concrete evidence, Fraser refuses to act until another murder occurs. Undeterred, Wilde interviews suspects from Wood's stepfather to his pimp, and sets a trap that helps reveal the truth. Brandreth blends history and invention, integrates a nicely complex solution with entertaining subplots and delivers the whole in witty, precise prose. This tale should please readers partial to period mysteries, literary heroes and deft writing.