Lovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth.
A young artist's model has been murdered, and legendary wit Oscar Wilde enlists his friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard to help him investigate. But when they arrive at the scene of the crime they find no sign of the gruesome killing -- save one small spatter of blood, high on the wall. Set in London, Paris, Oxford, and Edinburgh at the height of Queen Victoria's reign, here is a gripping eyewitness account of Wilde's secret involvement in the curious case of Billy Wood, a young man whose brutal murder served as the inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Told by Wilde's contemporary -- poet Robert Sherard -- this novel provides a fascinating and evocative portrait of the great playwright and his own "consulting detective," Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
(Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance was first published in the UK as Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders.)
The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
Burn to the socket.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
31 August 1889
On an afternoon ablaze with sunshine, at the very end of August
1889, a man in his mid-thirties -- tall, a little overweight, and certainly
overdressed -- was admitted to a small terraced house in Cowley Street, in the
City of Westminster, close by the Houses of Parliament.
The man was in a hurry and he was unaccustomed to hurrying. His face was flushed and his high forehead was beaded with perspiration. As he entered the house - No. 23 Cowley Street - he brushed past the woman who opened the door to him, immediately crossed the shallow hallway, and climbed the staircase to the first floor. There, facing him, across an uncarpeted landing, was a wooden door.
Momentarily, the man paused -- to smile, to catch his breath, to adjust his waistcoat, and, with both hands, to sweep back his wavy chestnut-...
Mystery fans of deductive reasoning will appreciate this first book in the series, especially knowing that there will be eight more opportunities to enjoy Oscar Wilde as amateur sleuth.
(Reviewed by Vy Armour).
Full Review (1203 words).
Did you know?
Although married and the father of two children, Wilde's intimate association with Alfred Douglas led to his trial on charges of homosexuality (illegal in Britain in 1895). Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor for the crime of sodomy. In spite of his fame as a successful playwright including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) and A Woman of No Importance (1893) he died penniless in 1900 in a cheap hotel in Paris at the age of 46. More about Wilde at the official website owned by CMG Worldwide, who appear to have a thriving business protecting the intellectual property rights of dead celebrities!
In The Death of No Importance, Oscar Wilde makes reference to Dr. Thomas Holmes, often referred ...
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