A Wilde Mystery May 16, 2013 – Posted in: Of Interest: Featured Books / Reviews

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future – Oscar Wilde

I remember when I was first introduced to Oscar Wilde. It was the late 1980’s and I was spending a semester studying in London. My roommate was a serious fan of The Smiths, especially the lead singer Morrissey. There is this famous lyric in their song Cemetery Gates where Morrissey croons :

A dreaded sunny day
so I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
while Wilde is on mine
So naturally, my roommate, a young twenty-something from a little town in Wisconsin, had a copy of Oscar Wilde’s Collected Works by his side. I remember the thick red paperback and it wasn’t soon after he finished with that it was by my side.
I’ve been a fan ever since. Clever, witty, smart and a deep understanding of the human condition, it didn’t matter what the form, poetry, fiction, drama -Wilde was tuned in. He was one of the cultural superstars of his era.
That all came crashing down when he was found guilty of indecency and sent to prison for two years.
It is this dark time where Oscar Wilde and the Murders of Reading Gaol begins.
It is the sixth and perhaps last volume in an entertaining series of mysteries emanating from the life of Wilde by Gyles Brandreth.
It starts at Wilde’s sentencing and takes us through Wilde’s grueling two years of confinement – most of it solitary, and for none of it could he write! Along the dreary way two prison employees are murdered and the Governor turns to Wilde to help sort it out.
Brandreth has got Wilde down pretty good, his knowledge of him and the Victorian times he lived in is evident throughout and keeps the spirit of Wilde alive for one more journey.
The other volumes in the series are:
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders: A Mystery
  • Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
  • Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder
  • Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders
  • Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man’s Smile
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