Saturday, 10 January 2015

Book Review: THE STRINGS OF MURDER BY OSCAR DE MURIEL


My Thoughts on this tale of murder, mayhem and music ........


THE STRINGS OF MURDER
BY
OSCAR DE MURIEL


Published:  Penguin:  12 Feb 2015
Pages:  406  (Paperback Advance Reading Copy)


Jonathan Creek meets Jonathan Strange in this blistering crime debut set in Victorian Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, 1888.  A violinist is murdered in his home.  The dead virtuoso's maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night.  But with only one body in the locked practice room - and no way in or out - the case seems to be an impossible puzzle.

Fearing a national panic over another Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult.  However, Frey's new boss, Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray, actually believes in such supernatural nonsense.
McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason.  And once sometimes loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next .......

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The Strings of Murder is the first book in a new series following Inspector Frey and Detective McGray as they investigate crimes around Victorian Britain and if this tale is typical of them I will be adding them to my wish list!

Told in the first person by Inspector Ian Frey, who we learn has in the past started and abandoned both medicine at Oxford University and Law at Cambridge University but when he recently uncovers an infamous murderer in London he feels he has found his forte in the CID.

A mark on the wall, the contents of a wallet, a lock of hair ..... a glove carelessly left behind ... those tiny details of everyday life, things that the ordinary man would never normally ponder on, were our tools, and most of the time sufficient to allow us to draw a full picture of victims and aggressors.....in short, their innermost darkest secrets were at hand if one knew just how to read the world around.  
How thrilling, how fascinating that game was.  Finally, I'd found my place.  Proved my value.

But, a new man at the head of Scotland Yard sends Frey to Edinburgh as they fear another Jack the Ripper in Scotland.  He meets Detective Adolphus McGray and, to say they don't meet eye to eye is an understatement!  Frey thinks McGray's an idiot and McGray thinks he's a soft Southerner and proceeds to call him a lassie from then on.

Of course, they work well together, even though they are such opposite characters, to try and discover the perpetrator of several puzzling and gruesome murders, their exchanges were funny some of the time and some of McGray's contacts were dodgy most of the time.  With twists aplenty and a good strong plot featuring the occult, devil worship, a clairvoyant and an impossible puzzle, I really enjoyed this mystery and was constantly changing my mind as to who the murderer was.  I also loved the atmosphere of horror that the author conjured up.

I thought the book cover was perfect - it sums up the story very accurately to me.

This is Oscar de Muriel's debut book and he can be found at these places - his website - Facebook - Twitter

His book can be bought at these places - Amazon UK - Amazon US - BookDepository

I received an advance reading copy from Real Readers in exchange for an honest review.


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