Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

BookBrowse Reviews The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Strings of Murder

by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel X
The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2016, 412 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2017, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A violinist's murder takes a displaced London detective and his Scottish fellow cop through the lovely streets of Victorian Edinburgh.

As Jack the Ripper eludes the police at Scotland Yard in London and all efforts to catch the most terrifying serial killer of the Victorian Age come to nothing, heads must roll. Inspector Ian Frey is minor casualty in the subsequent political upheaval within the metropolitan police force. He fears he will lose his job entirely, but instead finds himself shipped north to Edinburgh to investigate the murder of a violinist. The crime scene suggests that a copycat killer might be emulating the infamous Ripper and there is concern at the highest level of government that widespread panic will ensue — unless the mystery is promptly solved.

A punctilious and slightly foppish Englishman, Frey reacts badly to Edinburgh ways and Edinburgh weather. He finds himself paired with a gruff, plain-speaking Scotsman, Nine Nails McGray, who is as unimpressed with Frey as Frey is with him. Nevertheless, this ill-assorted pair must work together to solve the mystery of Guilleum Fontaine's death — a mystery compounded by the facts that the violinist's badly mutilated body has been discovered, marked with satanic symbols, in a locked room.

At first the two detectives have more questions than answers. In his will, Fontaine had bequeathed several violins to fellow musicians. One of these instruments was said to have belonged to Antonio Stradivari and used as a model for the violins he became famous for making. This legendary violin is called the Amati Maladetto: Amati being the name of the family who made it and Maladetto, an Italian word which means cursed or damned. When the man inheriting it also dies, the detectives, particularly McGray, fear that there may be truth in the old stories about this violin being cursed.

The sparkling dialog and the relationship between the two detectives, really elevate this murder mystery. Great wit and humor are on display as the cops gradually learn to appreciate each other's skills and intelligence, all the while sparring with great gusto. A humorous mixture of name-calling and sarcasm provides much entertainment. McGray calls Frey a lassie — the Scottish name for a girl — while Frey questions McGray's approach to interviewing and his belief in the occult.

Frey and McGray are both enjoyable characters with very different flaws and foibles. McGray has a personal connection to an inmate of the Edinburgh Insane Asylum and dark secrets in his family's past. Frey, on the other hand, tries to avoid eating haggis and is fighting for his career and the approval of his family. Frey cannot afford for this investigation to fail. Added to this mix is an entertaining cast of minor characters — Frey's housekeeper Joan, the young pathologist Dr Reed and the mysterious gypsy, Katerina.

The other star in this entertaining novel is the city of Edinburgh. De Muriel vividly and accurately captures the sights and smells of the Scottish capital in 1888 as McGray and Frey race from the historic neoclassical New Town area to the medieval Old Town (see 'Beyond the Book'), from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood, and from the docks at the Port of Leith to the heathery hills of Arthur's Seat.

With such a colorful background, intriguing characters and a satisfyingly twisting plot, The Strings of Murder is a pleasure to read.

Reviewed by Kate Braithwaite

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in June 2016, and has been updated for the May 2017 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Strings of Murder, try these:

  • See What I Have Done jacket

    See What I Have Done

    by Sarah Schmidt

    Published 2018

    About this book

    In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

  • The Convictions of John Delahunt jacket

    The Convictions of John Delahunt

    by Andrew Hughes

    Published 2016

    About this book

    Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself.

We have 6 read-alikes for The Strings of Murder, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Oscar de Muriel
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Last Murder at the End of the World
    The Last Murder at the End of the World
    by Stuart Turton
    The island is the only safe place left on Earth. Since a deadly fog overtook the planet, the ...
  • Book Jacket
    A Kind of Madness
    by Uche Okonkwo
    The word "madness," like many others that can be used to stigmatize mental illness — e.g., "...
  • Book Jacket: Long After We Are Gone
    Long After We Are Gone
    by Terah Shelton Harris
    Terah Shelton Harris's marvelous family drama Long After We Are Gone begins with the death of the ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhibit
    Exhibit
    by R O. Kwon
    Exhibit, R.O. Kwon's sophomore novel (after The Incendiaries, 2018), introduces readers to Jin Han, ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Book Jacket
Look on the Bright Side
by Kristan Higgins
From the author of Pack Up the Moon comes a funny, romantic, and moving novel about life's unexpected rewards.
Win This Book
Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.