Friday, March 23, 2012

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders-Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders

Gyles Brandreth

Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, May 8 2012, $14.00

ISBN 9781439153734

In 1892, suffering from exhaustion on account of his publisher demanding he respond to all the letters sent to Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wonders if fame and fortune is worth the cost. Needing R&R, Holmes takes a ten day respite at a spa in Homburg, Germany though the notes to Holmes come with him. When the popular writer enters his hotel, he encounters Oscar Wilde who should be in Mayfair not in the foothills of the Taunaus Mountains.

Oscar offers to assist Holmes with the letters that came with Arthur on his respite. The pair finds much more than correspondence as some of the envelopes postmarked Rome contain a severed finger with a papal ring and a hand. Realizing that Doyle has been macabrely requested to come to Rome, he and Wilde travel to Italy to learn why and who owned the ringed finger.

The latest Oscar Wilde amateur sleuth (see Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders, and Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers) is an entreating whodunit that has the protagonist and his Watsonian sidekick investigating Vatican murders. Fast-paced from the moment the two Brits meet in Germany, fans will enjoy this entertaining late Victorian whodunit although the denouement is not quite as strong as the jaunty journey getting to the solution.

Harriet Klausner

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