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Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile: A Mystery (Oscar Wilde Mysteries (Paperback)) Paperback – September 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Clever and unusual murders and the solution to the mystery aside, the historical aspects of the novel are engaging as are the salacious peeks into the dark underbelly of late nineteenth century Paris. Known to one and all for his pithy witticisms as well as his ability to regurgitate the equally amusing social observations of others, Oscar comes across as a varitable warehouse of pronouncements arrived at following intelligent scrutiny of the human animal, i.e., "The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions", or "In the ocean of baseness, the deeper we get, the easier the sinking", or "Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read".
While the story does address Wilde's flamboyant style of dress and his preference for large amounts of absinthe and laudanum (opium/morphine) it neatly skirts his questionable sexual orientation and presents him as a man completely enamored of Constance Lloyd (the woman whom he later married).Read more ›
The book has a fairly slow start. It seemed like the author was simply plugging the narrative with every Oscar Wilde quote I ever heard, but setting it in a scenario appropriate to the context of the quote. La Grange's description is very crudely done: a lot of blunt sentences starting with "He was" or "He looked" or "He had." Very awkward to read.
However, once we get to the point where Wilde is in Paris, things start to even out, and the book is quite good from that point on. I did stay up late to finish it. There is one big glaring thing that confuses me, though. During Wilde & Sherard's recap with Conan Doyle at the end of the book, they discuss the murders that took place. One of these took place on the boat coming back from America. Wilde emphasizes that a set of four murders had been planned, after which point all the killing would be finished. (We had learned about this "set of four murders" much earlier in the book, but here he recapitulates for the benefit of Conan Doyle.Read more ›
Let's go back to the beginning. Mr. Brandwreth is a very good writer and has demonstrated the ability to spin an admirable yarn. That being said, I found Dead Man's Smile to be disappointingly long and tedious. Even the storyline grew hazy at times. There are a multitude of characters and although many are well depicted, too many characters can easily slow a book's pace.
I will concede that sometimes I am not in the mood for a specific type of book and/or writing style and this may have been the case; however, I found Oscar and Robert Sheridan's slow moving investigation somewhat irksome. Perhaps I missed the uniqueness of Mr. Wilde's campy sense of humor and unparalleled wit. To me, this installment presented him as being somewhat pedestrian, if not downright pedantic. Where was the "fun" that the first two books captured and presented so easily?
Oscar takes a trip to the United States circa 1882 and we are treated to life in Leadville, Colorado. Oscar meets varied interesting persons and the 'games a foot' as Oscar was fond of quoting his friend, Arthur Conan Doyle's character, Sherlock Holmes.
Crossing back to the Continent, Oscar lives through a shocking murder which turns out to have long reaching ramifications.
Again, this novel is also a social commentary on the times living in France and London. We see the glitz and the dirty underbelly. We meet personages such as Sarah Bernhardt and John Tussaud.
This was an excellent read. Not a cozy and not recommended,by myself, for youth to read. At times I was shocked with the details of the French Revolution.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved it. I'm in the process of reading all the Oscar Wilde mysteries, and although this one is the first in the series, I read it as No. 4. Great Book. Read morePublished on September 4, 2013 by kntent
My wife is has been a fan of Oscar Wilde for some time. When I saw this book, I thought the premise was interesting, and figured it was something we could both enjoy. Read morePublished on October 19, 2012 by R. Pickman
Combining the wit and interesting life of Oscar Wilde with a murder mystery seems like can't miss entertainment. This book doesn't entirely miss but it does disappoint. Read morePublished on September 14, 2012 by MJS
The story opens on Christmas Day, 1890. Oscar Wilde and his good friend Robert Sherard (real life friend and future biographer) are touring Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum on Baker... Read morePublished on July 14, 2012 by Happy Reader
Poor Oscar Wilde, so abused in life and now this in death. I, too, find this book unreadable. Love the concept, but turning Wilde into a mystery-solving detective would require... Read morePublished on October 23, 2010 by Flipper Campbell
I am sorry. I thought that I would greatly enjoy this book, it being a fictional novel about Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle's collaboration on solving a mystery but, for some... Read morePublished on October 2, 2010 by Susan W. Swartz
It was a pleasure to read a book that is not a carbon copy of what an author has already written. Being a Wilde fan, it made it even more pleasurable.Published on August 8, 2010 by Lillie
If you love literary characters, you'll love this series. This book is the third in the series and I just loved Oscar Wilde as the "detective. Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by M.Jacobsen
Third in a series of mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde as sleuth (I have not read the previous ones), this book starts with a visit to Madame Tussaud's in London in 1890, where Wilde... Read morePublished on January 16, 2010 by April