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review 2017-05-22 15:01
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders (Brandreth)
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders: A Mystery (Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries) - Gyles Brandreth

I'm very sorry to discover that this is the last unread Brandreth "Oscar Wilde" mystery left for me. This one takes advantage of the fact that Wilde and Bram Stoker overlapped not just in place (both were Irish and went to university there together; Stoker was actor-manager Henry Irving's factotum at the Lyceum Theatre) but in personal lives (Wilde was an early suitor of Florence Bascombe, Stoker's wife).  Furthermore, Stoker was distantly related to Arthur Conan Doyle, a major figure in these Wilde novels. It was inevitable that he would make an appearance in this series, even though the novel Dracula was published in 1897, too late for it to be directly referenced in any story of Wilde at large and at his best in London. Instead, Stoker's connections are used to take us into an underground (and not very serious) secret society playing with supernatural and vampiric rituals - no doubt thoroughly researched, as usual.

Other threads of the '90s that Brandreth manages to weave in here are the early investigations and experiments into "hysteria" - female mental illness - in London and Paris; and the notoriety of the Prince of Wales' son, Prince Eddy, who was the subject of (discredited) rumour that he was Jack the Ripper. He is planted here as a character partly to provide a red herring; his royal father also plays a fairly crucial part in the plot, in that he and the dignity of the royal house are the reason why Wilde & Conan Doyle's investigations are both commissioned and then suppressed secretly. The Duchess whose murder precipitates the whole thing is, of course, fictional, but the name and the situation are realistic enough that you have to confirm that with a little external Sherlocking on your own.

I really liked the multi-layered narrative here; since the not-so-underlying theme was female sexuality (and violence against it), the story being told through a sequence of letters, telegrams and diaries, mostly addressed to or directly referencing Mrs. Wilde, Mrs. Conan Doyle, and Mrs. Stoker, gave the narrative a welcome context and complexity.

And Wilde's relationship with the young man who at least put himself forward as a genuine vampire was, to say the least, interesting...

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review 2017-03-17 22:36
Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol (Brandreth)
Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol - Gyles Brandreth

The sixth of the Brandreth Oscar Wilde murder mysteries, this is in many ways my favourite. That is, I suppose, because for me these books have been more about Brandreth's re-creation of Wilde's voice and milieu, and the murder mystery in each has been secondary. So this novel, which takes place during and just after Wilde's brutal incarceration for homosexuality, is enormously satisfying in its evocation of time and place, even though, by necessity, we lose Conan Doyle as a character, and also by necessity, the whole tone is quite a bit darker than in the rest of the series.


Brandreth is not nearly as sorry for Wilde as he was for himself - unsurprisingly - in De Profundis, his essay-letter from jail. His painful separation from the unworthy Douglas, which of course obsessed the real Wilde, barely gets a mention here. Instead, we get a gallery of minor characters, including some gay and/or cross-dressing, and on every step of the villainy ladder. The delight, of course, is in Wilde's acute observations of them.


While I'm in hopes this won't be the last "Oscar Wilde and...", it comes chronologically very close to the end of Wilde's life, so if we are to have another, it will either have to be absolutely on the Paris deathbed, or dip back into earlier (and more light-hearted) times. I'm up for either, Mr. Brandreth.


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review 2015-02-26 01:58
A fun, fast paced read in the Oscar Wilde Murder Mystery Series Written By Gyles Brandreth
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders: A Mystery (Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries) - Gyles Brandreth

The Premise: Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Sherard team up with Bram Stoker to solve a mystery regarding the murder of a dutchess at her own party, when she's found dead with two tiny puncture marks on her throat.


My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the historic atmosphere Gyles Brandreth creates in his writing, in which the mystery unfolds through diary entries, newspaper clippings, telegrams and letters. This mystery also deals with "hysteria" and is highly entertaining because of all the strong personalities involved. All in all, a fun, fast paced read in which I, the reader, felt as if I were part of this motley literary mystery crew.

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video 2014-01-09 17:51
The 7 Secrets of Happiness: A Reluctant Optimist's Journey (Kindle Single) - Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth's 7 Secrets of Happiness


Something has been happening in the UK: People have been getting happier. Could it be the ever-pleasant UK weather? Possibly. More likely, it is the sound advice and infectious charm of comedian Gyles Brandreth’s smash bestseller, The 7 Secrets of Happiness.



Source: www.openroadmedia.com/the-7-secrets-of-happiness
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review 2013-10-16 21:34
Oscar Wilde And The Dead Man's Smile
Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile - Gyles Brandreth

bookshelves: published-2009, summer-2010, fraudio, historical-fiction, mystery-thriller, victoriana, families

Read on July 13, 2010


 work mp3

Unabridged and read by Bill Wallis. 11 hours 57 mins duration. 10 CD's.

[ Book #3 :]
The latest in Gyles Brandreth’s acclaimed series of Victorian murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Paris, 1883. Oscar Wilde, aged twenty-seven, has come to the city of decadence to discover its charms, to rekindle his friendship with the divine Sarah Bernhardt and to collaborate with France’s most celebrated actor-manager, Edmond La Grange.
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