Summary and book reviews of The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

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
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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 412 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

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Book Summary

The brutal slaying of a violinist in his home in 1888 sparks a locked room murder mystery investigated by two diametrically opposed Edinburgh detectives.

1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray's tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief...

There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man's maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself.

Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason?but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping...

Excerpt
The Strings of Murder

London on a November morning smelled of cesspools and stale alcohol from the pubs. I wrinkled my nose at the odours as I walked hastily towards Scotland Yard, dodging the half-frozen horse dung that peppered the streets.

Stench and turds were not the only foul thoughts in my head. While having breakfast I'd received a note from Wiggins, my assistant, urging me to go to headquarters. James Monro, the new commissioner, had demanded my immediate presence. I instantly knew that my career in the London police was over.

I made haste and found the hearing room gloomy as a grave. The place had wide windows but was dimly lit by a half-hidden sun so that, despite the hour, it seemed as though it was late in the evening.

I sat down and interlaced my fingers on the long table, waiting, but Monro kept his nose on the disarray of documents in front of him. I spoke only after the lapse of time that courtesy demanded: 'Excuse me, sir. You implied ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The relationship between the two detectives and Oscar de Muriel's sparkling dialogue 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. 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).

Full Review (555 words).

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Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Hugely Entertaining.

Booklist
Detailed historical context, spine-tingling occult overtones, and witty characterization create a gripping story. Fans of Alec Grecian's and Will Thomas' gritty Victorian tales will want to see more of Frey.

Kirkus Reviews
De Muriel's debut offers nonviolinists ghostly, ghastly apparitions, unappealing accounts of unspeakable pub meals, and a steady drip of Had-I-But-Known foreshadowing and backshadowing. A series seems inevitable.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. De Muriel matches the intricate mystery with a clever solution.

Lovereading.co.uk
A great Victorian gothic romp. This should build into a lovely series.

Reader Reviews

Michael Haughton

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel
To the main character Mr. Frey he had received a note from Wiggins, his assistant, urging me to go to headquarters. James Monro, the new commissioner, had demanded my immediate presence. I deliberately started with this line cause it suited the ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

In The Strings of Murder, Oscar de Muriel's historical crime novel set in Victorian times, detectives, Frey and McGray crisscross a city that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. As someone who knows Edinburgh well - I was born and grew up there - I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Abbeyhill, opposite the famous Palace of Holyrood, was the street where I lived until I was six years old. In the book, Frey and McGray lodge in the Georgian neoclassical splendor of the Edinburgh New Town, but their suspects and crime scenes carry them up and down the High Street of the Old Town that link the famous sites of Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace and Abbey.

Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh has been the capital city of Scotland since the ...

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