Summary and book reviews of Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

by Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth X
Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2008, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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. (UK title: Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders). Published in the USA simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.

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)
 

Chapter One
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-...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Discussion Questions

  1. Wilde theorizes on page 171, "'Suspense is everything! Only the banal -- only the bearded and the bald -- live for the here-and-now. You and I, Robert, we live for the future, do we not? We live in anticipation." How does the author build suspense throughout the story? In what ways, if any, does the tone of the book change as the characters get closer to solving the mystery?
     
  2. What is Oscar Wilde's concept of truth? How does he display this concept in his actions and his descriptions of other's actions? Begin by examining page 261.
     
  3. On page 38, Oscar says, "I have changed my mind since then. Consistency, as you know, is the last refuge of the unimaginative." ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 (691 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Sunday Times (UK)
A witty fin de siècle entertainment, and the rattlingly elegant dialogue is peppered with witticisms uttered by Wilde well before he ever thought of putting them into his plays.

Sunday Express (UK)
Genius...Wilde has sprung back to life in this thrilling and richly atmospheric new novel.... Magnificent...an unforgettable shocker about sex and vice, love and death.

Library Journal
Brandreth...spins a tale of human frailty and self-preservation...a promising start.

Publishers Weekly
Oscar Wilde makes a stylish sleuth in this clever series debut.

Booklist
Starred Review. A first-class stunner...[A] wow of a history-mystery...fascinating.

Author Blurb Anne Perry
I always wanted to meet Oscar Wilde and now I feel that I have done, and shared a terrific, bizarre and frightening adventure with him. I recommend the experience.

Reader Reviews

J. Woodcock

Wilde Times
This is a great series -- very authentic with real characters and a skilled and perceptive author.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

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 ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Gyles Brandreth

If you liked Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winemaker's Wife
    The Winemaker's Wife
    by Kristin Harmel
    Liv Kent's world is falling apart. After 12 years of marriage, her husband has decided he's done, ...
  • Book Jacket: On the Clock
    On the Clock
    by Emily Guendelsberger
    In her excellent debut, On The Clock, journalist Emily Guendelsberger thoughtfully examines the ...
  • Book Jacket
    America for Beginners
    by Leah Franqui
    Leah Franqui's first novel America for Beginners was well-reviewed by our First Impression readers; ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins


    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

A story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Red Address Book

The Red Address Book
by Sofia Lundberg

"Wise and captivating, Lundberg's novel offers clear-eyed insights into old age and the solace of memory."--People

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Place F E A E I I P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.