Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile
Simon and Schuster, Sep 1 2009, $14.00
Following his American tour (see OSCAR WILDE AND A GAME CALLED MURDER).Wilde sails home to England on the SS Bothnia in December 1892; musing that he still is all style and substance though solving a homicide does add luster. On board with the playwright is the French acting troupe, La Compagnie La Grange.
In Liverpool, customs officer find a dead poodle inside a trunk filled with dirt that Wilde thought were books. Soon afterward on the way to Paris, members of the troupe become victims of a serial killer with an obvious grudge or perhaps that person disdain Hamlet. Wilde and his companion journalist Robert Sherard investigate La Compagnie La Grange in order to uncover the identity of the murderer.
The third Oscar Wilde mystery (see OSCAR WILDE AND A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE) is a fabulous late Victorian whodunit with several neat plot devices including the star sending the mystery to Doyle in 1890. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Wilde meets the actors and never slows down. With Sherard, who was a real friend of the author and his biographer, adding realism to the mix, Gyles Brandreth provides a superb entertaining historical murder mystery.