The Strings Of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

strings-of-murderLondon 1888 is gripped with fear as Jack the Ripper stalks the streets. With the changing of the guard at the top of the investigation, Inspector Ian Frey finds himself off the case and sent to Edinburgh where a similar crime has taken place. A violinist has been found murdered in his home, locked inside his practice room. And his body has been ripped open and his organs removed.

Forced to join a department specialising in the occult, the extremely English-and-posh Frey finds himself working for the extremely Scottish-and-not-at-all-posh Inspector “Nine-Nails” McGray. But these two mismatched need to work together to stop the terror stalking the streets – well, the music-rooms – of Edinburgh before the body-count outdoes Jolly Jack himself…

Ah, I really thought I was going to love this one. The opening, pre-Edinburgh, section is very well-written, drawing the reader into the life of Frey, and with the promise of a locked room murder, things looked very promising.

Unfortunately, once we get to Scotland, things begin to go downhill a bit. Frey’s anti-Scottish attitude and the stereotypical och-aye-the-noo McGray (and the conflict between them) begins to get tiresome very quickly and while there are a bunch more murders happening, the middle section does feel padded as our heroes go round in circles until working out what is going on.

There are some clever ideas here – don’t get me wrong – and things pick up in the finale, although things do go a bit Phantom Of The Opera at the end. But at the end of the day, while I can see why people would enjoy it, it didn’t click as an effective mystery for me – and whatever you do, don’t read it hoping for an exciting locked room murder – that bit is exceptionally disappointing. So, it’s probably Worth A Look, but it wasn’t really for me.

Announcement Time -this is post 998 – post 999 will be a collaboration with my fellow bloggers on “The Author That You’re Never Going To Read” – and then post 1000 will be my second attempt at a competition. Two competitions, in fact, and the post will go up at 17:00 British Summer Time (i.e. GMT+1) on Saturday. Hopefully that should mean that the majority of my readers will be able to have a go at the same time. Don’t worry if you can’t be there at the kick-off though, as I don’t think this one will be quite as quick as the other…

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3 comments

  1. Yeah, I read this a little while ago with the same hopes you went in with and came away with pretty much the same response: it starts well, the atmosphere is great, and the idea behind the deaths and the curse, etc, is interesting and — at times — explored well. But on the whole the tiresome “You’re an oaf, man!”/”Och, well, yur a massiff ninny, boy!” bickering gets boring and the ideas don’t stretch across the lenght of the book.

    And don’t even get me started on that locked room murder. Anyone thinking of coming to this for the impossibilitiy should steer well clear…

    Liked by 1 person

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