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Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder: A Mystery (Oscar Wilde Mysteries) Paperback – September 9, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In British author Brandreth's impressive second Oscar Wilde mystery (after 2007's Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance), the aesthete and playwright proves himself a brilliant and insightful sleuth. At a May 1892 meeting of the Socrates Club, a group founded by Wilde and including such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, the members play murder, a game that involves writing the name of a victim on a piece of paper and trying to guess who chose whom and why. The amusement sours in the face of certain selections in poor taste, like Mrs. Oscar Wilde. Real murders follow, starting with the horrific death by fire of the ex-fiancée of one of the participants, a disgraced minister. As in Nicholas Meyer's second Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The West End Horror, such real-life figures as Doyle or Stoker can be easily eliminated as the killer, but there are enough other suspects to keep the reader guessing at the solution of this intricate whodunit. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

Wilde expert, BBC broadcaster, and former MP Brandreth continues his mystery series starring the world’s most epigrammatic detective in this, the second installment, after last year’s well-received Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance. Wilde, a keen observer of human nature, seems ideally (if surprisingly) suited to the role of sleuth. Brandreth heightens the effect by having one of Wilde’s friends, Arthur Conan Doyle, play the role of dumbfounded Watson to Wilde’s brilliant Sherlock. Sharing the Watson role is narrator-poet Robert Sherard, who writes of Wilde’s exploits. The current case is set in motion by Wilde himself. Presiding over the Socrates Club, Wilde suggests that every member write down the names of people they would murder if they could get away with it. The first mention, a woman recently jilted at the altar, is burned to death the next day. Terrific period atmosphere, crisp writing style, and the flamboyant Wilde make this series pitch-perfect. Great entertainment. --Connie Fletcher

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Product Details

  • Series: Oscar Wilde Mysteries
  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Later Printing edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781416534846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416534846
  • ASIN: 1416534849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By W. Carter VINE VOICE on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second in Mr. Brandreth's Oscar Wilde mystery series and it proves to be a most impressive follow-up. Having read OSCAR WILDE AND A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE, I must admit to having high expectations. I was not disappointed.

It takes place in 1892 London. Oscar Wilde, bon vivant extraordinaire, is at the top of his game professionally as LADY WINDEMERE'S FAN has opened and a huge hit. In his personal life, he spends time with other literary luminaries such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. The three of them, along with others, are members of the Socrates Club--basically a supper club which meets on Sunday evenings. As the book begins, Mr. Wilde throws out the question to the other 13 men present at the meeting: "what person or persons would each of you most like to murder?"

Bizarre? Definitely. But it is intended to be only a game....until the next day when one of the named victims indeed meets a tragic end. Oscar Wilde (as Sherlock Holmes), is not only brilliant and cunning in his deductive reasoning but "wildely" entertaining. Oscar's dear friend, Robert Sherard, is again along for the ride and plays his role as Dr. Watson (as well as narrator of the book) very admirably.

One comes away from these forays into Victorian England feeling as though time has been spent with the inimitable Mr. Wilde. Tres amusant! More importantly, however, the author's ability to construct a tightly woven mystery is exquisite. The reading is fast and furious. Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Apparently casting Oscar Wilde as a protagonist served well in the introductory volume of what seems to be a burgeoning series. And the technique serves well in this second in the mystery series. Set in 1892, Wilde is surrounded by friends such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and the flavor of London of the era is delicious.

Wilde chairs what he calls the Socrates Club, where his friends and their guests enjoy dinner and a game. This time, Wilde invents one called "murder," in which each participant is asked to write down the name of someone they would most desire to kill if there was no danger of being caught. When each slip of paper is read, the names vary from the supercilious (a parrot, Sherlock Holmes, Eros and Father Time) to the much more serious: Wilde and his wife, Constance, among others. The very next day, the first victim falls, followed on three succeeding days by more victims on a daily basis. Are Wilde and his wife next? Read on and find out.

Step by step, we learn more about Oscar Wilde, his erudition and analytical ability. It becomes his task to solve the mystery of the four deaths and who has perpetrated the acts. Written in the style of a 19th Century novel, some readers may be put off in the reading. But rest assured, it is well worth the effort. For the most part, it's a lot of fun and some of the observations quite charming. Recommendned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Oscar Wilde Mysteries continues with this second installment and it is as much fun as the original (Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance: A Mystery). Oscar and his fellow chums Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and other notables gather together for their annual Socrates Club dinner in which Wilde proposes that they play a game in which they write down a person they would like to see dead. The "game" turns deadly when the people on the list begin to turn up dead. Time is running out and Oscar himself as well as his wife Constance is on the list! The book, like the first, is told from the viewpoint of Robert Sherard, Oscar's good friend and confidante. Author Brandreth writes in an engaging style that flows smoothly and keeps you turning the pages. In addition to the sprinkling of notable names, the book is filled with fascinating tidbits about events of the day (such as the invention of chewing gum!). The series is witty, clever, and totally entertaining. Fortunately for us, the author says that there are more books on the way!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By evil evie on August 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Often I read customer reviews before reading a book in order to help decide whether to invest my time and money. If you are reading this review for that reason, I recommend this book enthusiastically. My purpose is to make a suggestion: if you have any difficulty keeping up with names, just jot down each name with a note as the character is introduced, since many British noblemen have at least two names and frequently a nickname as well.
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Format: Paperback
I recently discovered Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde murder mystery series, and I'm hooked. I enjoyed the first, Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance: A Mystery, and I equally enjoyed this second in the series.

If you're looking for a fast-paced thriller, this series is not for you. But if you love intelligent writing, character-driven, with great historical detail and a more leisurely unfolding of the story, then I can highly recommend Oscar Wilde's escapades.

The story is narrated by Robert Sherard, a poet, who, in real life, was not only Oscar Wilde's friend but his first biographer. He explains why Wilde's outward-appearing indolence could hide a sharp mind: "Oscar made a fine detective because, though he was a poet, he was, also, a classicist. His way with words was elaborate and ornate, flowery and full of fanciful flourishes, but his way of thinking was precise. He was not just a spinner of fine phrases: his understanding of grammar and syntax were profound. He had a poet's imagination, a painter's eye, an actor's ear, and a scholar's nose for detail and capacity for close analysis."

Tuesday, May 10, 1892, Oscar hosts a dinner party for 13 friends at the Cadogan Hotel, London. After feasting, and drinking, they play "Murder". On a slip of paper, each person writes the name of someone, real or fictional, whom they'd like to murder. The anonymous slips are put in a hat, drawn out one by one, and the participants try to guess who authored each note.

For example, one of the dinner guests is Arthur Conan Doyle (in real life, he was a friend of Wilde's).
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