Friday, March 11, 2011

Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders-Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders
Gyles Brandreth
Touchstone, May 3 2011, $14.00
ISBN 9781439153680

In 1890 the elite of English aristocratic society attend a party hosted by Duchess Albemarle. The next day, the news reported the Duchess died over night from a heart attack.

In fact the press was fed false information to avoid a panic. Albemarle was found in the telephone room partially naked with cuts all over her body and two puncture holes in the jugular vein area. The Prince of Wales directs fellow attendees Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle to investigate the murder discreetly to prevent a scandal. While reporter Robert Sherard makes inquires as he believes the media has been duped, the two writers encounter theater manager Bram Stoker and artist Rex LaSalle who insists he is a vampire.

The latest Oscar Wilde late Victorian investigation is an engaging whodunit but the rotating perspective makes the story line more difficult to follow than the previous mysteries (see Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile, and Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder). Wilde and Doyle are a fascinating match-up as two witty writers who have a different vision of Victorian England. They make the tale fun in spite of the seemingly unnecessary complicated changes in viewpoint.

Harriet Klausner

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