Saturday 27 December 2014

Review ~ The Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel

Expected publication
February 2015

Inspector Ian Frey is sent from London to investigate, what could potentially be an imitator Ripper murder. Under the cover of a fake department specialising in the occult, Frey arrives in Edinburgh, ostensibly to meet up with his superior officer, Detective‘Nine-Nails’ McGray, who heads up a department dealing with, in Frey’s eyes, supernatural nonsense. From the outset, the derisive banter between Frey and McGray is set to hamper the criminal investigation as neither character has much time for the other. And yet, the series of vile murders which seem to be targeting the musicians of the Conservatoire of Music will test both men’s investigative skills to limit of patience.

As with any new series there is an element of getting to know the major characters, their petty idiosyncrasies and minor peculiarities are explained with just enough detail to sharpen the appetite, and as the story deepens, we start to learn more about Frey and McGray; discovering what makes them act and react the way they do, forms an exciting part of the story.

Combining the best of crime noir with well researched and atmospheric historical fiction, this debut novel captures the very essence of ill fated fortune. The story abounds with gothic gloom and brings the workings of Victorian Edinburgh to life in decadent detail. Both the place and its people  leap off the page with great energy and vigour, which helps to sustain, what is in effect, a very cleverly contrived murder mystery.

I really enjoyed discovering the darker side of Victorian Edinburgh in the company of Frey and McGray, and hope to be able to make their acquaintance again as the series continues.

My thanks to Real Readers and Penguin Books for my advance reading copy of this book.

*This book is only due for publication in February 2015*


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