Gyles Brandreth murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde have been a favorite of mine ever since I discovered the very first one. Oscar Wilde, as a personality, comes across larger than life, with his zest for life, witty bon mots, and his ability to know anyone who’s worth knowing and even some who aren’t. While the previous books have alluded to his downfall after his trial for “perverse practices” Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol deal directly with his time spent in prison. This dark and cruel time in Wilde’s life threatened to break his soul while it destroyed his life, but he managed to come out with a passion for life, that while subdued, still demanded to be fed. These books have a treasured spot in my collection, and I eagerly await each new one from this wonderful author who has a true gift for bringing alive one of the literary world’s most interesting characters.
Oscar Wilde has gone to France after his release from prison, but needing money for the pleasure of life, he tells his story of his incarceration with a journalist/writer. Even in prison, with solitary confinement and no conversation, Wilde manages to find himself involved in not just one murder, but multiples. Who else should the prison officials turn to than the man who served as the basis for Sherlock Holmes’ brother? Yet after months of a cruel imprisonment deprived of companionship, conversation, books and writing material, can he find the internal reserves to rise above the hardship and solve these crimes?
In this new installment in the engaging mystery series Booklist called “pitch-perfect” and “enthralling”—currently in development as a BBC television series—the incomparable playwright, novelist, raconteur, and now ex-convict Oscar Wilde faces his most fiendishly puzzling case yet.
It is 1897, France. Oscar Wilde has fled the country after his release from Reading Gaol. Tonight he is sharing a drink and the story of his cruel imprisonment with a mysterious stranger. Oscar has endured a harsh regime: the treadmill, solitary confinement, censored letters, no writing materials. Yet even in the midst of such deprivation, his astonishing detective powers remain undiminished—and when first a brutal warder and then the prison chaplain are found murdered, who else should the Governor turn to for help other than Reading Gaol’s most celebrated inmate?