The Strings of Murder
1888: A violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief.There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man’s maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself.Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason—but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping...
Sherlock Holmes meets the X-Files in de Muriel's standout debut, a creepy and atmospheric whodunit set in 1888. Scotland Yarder Ian Frey's career appears to be over when his mentor, Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, is forced from office by Lord Salisbury, the British prime minister, after Frey's failure to apprehend Jack the Ripper. Then Frey gets an unexpected reprieve from Salisbury, who appears in his rooms and asks him to travel to Edinburgh to probe the murder of Guilleum Fontaine, a virtuoso violinist. The prime minister is concerned that Fontaine's death will spark fears that the Ripper has inspired imitators poised to strike all over Great Britain. Frey's presence in Scotland is to be explained by his ostensible assignment to a special police unit that investigates ghosts and goblins, headed by the eccentric Inspector McGray, known as Nine-Nails. Frey and McGray quickly develop an uncomfortable working relationship, premised on trading insults, as they look into the grisly and puzzling murder. Fontaine was eviscerated in a locked room the same day he was heard playing an eerie melody popularly attributed to the devil. De Muriel matches the intricate mystery with a clever solution.