Playwright and raconteur Oscar Wilde embarks on another adventure as he sets sail for America in the 1880s on a roller coaster of a lecture tour. But the adventure doesn't truly begin until Oscar boards an ocean liner headed back across the Atlantic and joins a motley crew led by French impresario Edmond La Grange. As Oscar becomes entangled with the La Grange acting dynasty, he suspects that all is not as it seems. What begins with a curious death at sea soon escalates to a series of increasingly macabre tragedies once the troupe arrives in Paris to perform Hamlet. A strange air of indifference surrounds these seemingly random events, inciting Oscar to dig deeper, aided by his friends Robert Sherard and the divine Sarah Bernhardt. What he discovers is a horrifying secret -- one that may bring him closer to his own last chapter than anyone could have imagined.
As intelligent as it is beguiling, this third installment in the richly historical mystery series is sure to captivate and entertain.
Oscar Wilde once again makes a convincing detective in Brandreth's excellent third whodunit to recreate the late Victorian age (after 2008's Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder). Framed as a puzzle posed by Wilde to his friend Arthur Conan Doyle in 1890, this adventure concerns a series of mysterious deaths plaguing a French acting troupe, the Compagnie La Grange, which Wilde encounters aboard ship in 1883. The first death is of a poodle, Marie Antoinette, whose body a customs officer in Liverpool unearths in a dirt-filled trunk that Wilde believed to be full of books he was bringing home from America. Human victims follow, forcing Wilde and his Watson, real-life journalist and Wilde biographer Robert Sherard, to untangle the complicated nest of emotions at play among the members of the Compagnie La Grange. John Dickson Carr fans will be gratified to find echoes of his style in several places, including the use of false endings.
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Love this series
This, the 3rd in the series, continues to delight and inspire. Oscar Wilde makes the perfect detective, and the scenarios are poetically formed. A guilty pleasure driven by fine biography and literary history to lessen the guilt.