Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth

Cover Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders by Gyles Brandreth

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis: Oscar Wilde as Sherlock Holmes.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cozy/historical mysteries, Oscar Wilde


My thoughts: 

I like Oscar Wilde and I like historical mysteries, so “Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders” was an obvious choice for me. I was not disappointed.

The story is told from Robert Sherard’s first person point of view. He was a close friend of Oscar Wilde’s and his first biographer, but a rather dull Watson to Wilde’s Sherlock Holmes. The comparison to the Sherlock Holmes suggests itself naturally because Wilde displays extraordinary powers of deduction, a bit too extraordinary for my taste, he might give Holmes a run for his money. On top of that Arthur Conan Doyle is a key figure as a friend of Oscar Wilde and – according to this book – based the character of Mycroft Holmes on him. Be that as it may, Wilde and Sherard are the typical sleuth/sidekick pair with Wilde being quite in the know while Sherard has no clue as to what is going on.

Oscar Wilde is shown as a character with a lot of facets, amiable, the perfect gentleman with impeccable manners, a bit of sloth like, but at the same time extremely moody and unpredictable. His homosexuality is only hinted at by making him "worship" pretty young boys a bit too much to be just a lover of aesthetics. Sherard seems oblivious to this or chooses to ignore it. Strange, because towards the end he becomes outraged when he witnesses some "musical" activities ("musical" being the euphemism used at the time).

The mystery is quite puzzling, even though the reader gets an inkling rather early of who might be involved. It develops very slowly, the investigations are taking place over a long period of time and are not really the main focus of the book. The book lives from the atmosphere and the characters, most of all Oscar Wilde himself. You will find a lot of very familiar quotes interspersed throughout the book and and some that COULD be by Wilde but are Gyles Brandreth’s own.

The end is in the nice and cozy Poirot manner. Everybody is gathered in a room and the sleuth presents the solution, gives his reasoning to a stunned audience and presents the murderer.

This is a lovely, super quick and entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next books in the series already. If you are not familiar with Oscar Wilde at all it might be helpful if you read a little about and/or by him first, but even without this knowledge, cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book a lot.


Product info and buy link :

Title Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
Author Gyles Brandreth
Publisher John Murray Publishers
ISBN 9780719569302
I got this book from a friend
Buy link Buy Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
More info The Oscar Wilde murder mysteries

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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