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Will reason or the occult prevail in this thrilling historical mystery
May 12, 2016
The Strings of Murder By Oscar de Muriel
Pegasus Books Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date: May 2, 2016
Sometimes the best combos are unexpected ones - peanut butter and banana, salt and caramel, etc... Thus it comes as no surprise that making a team of a detail oriented, gentleman detective from London and an occult-obsessed, brusque Scotsman leads to spectacular results. The Strings of Murder is a thrilling novel which I hope is the beginning to a new historical mystery series featuring unusual cases of possibly paranormal origin.
Inspector Ian Frey is a detective and a gentleman, but when the police administration changes over the handling of the Ripper affair, he is out of a job. A chance run-in with the Prime Minister leads to him being offered an assignment in Edinburgh, with its successful conclusion leading to a possible reinstatement in London. The case itself is interesting - a famous violinist has been murdered in a manner similar to the Ripper's latest victim. The room was locked from the inside with all keys present within and the only window tightly sealed. The only catch is that he has to work with Detective Nine-nails McCray who investigates cases of possible occult nature.
The brusque, rough and tumble McCray, with his pragmatic manner is in diametric opposition to Frey with his London manners and fastidious ways. Regardless of their differences, the two work well together, trading ideas as well as insults. As more are murdered, it swiftly becomes clear it is not the work of an imitator, but an individual obsessed with a cursed violin and recreating a legend.
Oscar de Muriel's novel presents an engrossing mystery with more than a hint of the unexplained. The "fish out of water" aspect of Frey's assignment gives The Strings of Murder a bit of light comic relief. Frey doesn't find it easy adapting to Scottish ways, or food for that matter. The colorful supporting characters bring life to the dark mystery, adding humanity. McCray and Frey are an incredible team of investigators. Their vastly different philosophies and approaches make this chalk and cheese duo dynamic and unforgettable. Whether their future cases root in the human or the paranormal, I am anxious to read Oscar de Muriel's next novel featuring Detective Nine-Nails McCray and Inspector Frey.
I received a copy of The Strings of Murder from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
The brutal slaying of a violinist in his home in 1888 sparks a locked room murder mystery investigated by two diametrically opposed Edinburgh detectives.
1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective "Nine-Nails" McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief... There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man’s maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself. Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason—but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping...